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Fukuwarai - the Make a Face Game!


Try the New "Make a Face" Song

Target Grade:1-6
Target English: Directions + Face parts!
Preparation: A blank paper face, cut out nose, eyes, mouth etc. A blindfold

Along with the increase in International Understanding Education in Japan, there is also a strong desire to preserve traditional Japanese activities. It's for this reason that in the New Year you'll probably find Japanese schools teaching lots of traditional games. And it just so happens that one of these is a great way to practice some English. There's a new song to practise the language they'll need, the "Make a Face" Song, then you can try the game...



1. Attach the featureless face to the blackboard (magnets are best!)

2. Put on the blindfold!

3. Choose one body part at random (have them spread out on a desk)

4. Hold it up and ask the kids "What's this?" They answer in English!

5. You face the blackboard, attempting to stick the part onto the face.

6. The kids guide you by shouting out "Left, right, up, down" etc. Ignore any Japanese comments they make, only listen to the English!!

7. Stick the face part onto the face.

8. Repeat from 3

9. Admire the work of art you have created!!


Most schools will have a set of "Fukuwarai" pieces, usually including 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 eyebrows, a nose, a mouth and some hair! Of course you could always make your own.

Practice the vocab beforehand (it's best if they learn the vocab in a previous lesson!). For the face parts, the classic way to learn is the "Heads and Shoulders" song. For the directions, the best way is to use the "Left and Right Song" from the Genki English CD, which you can buy here.

Your Japanese teacher may not have confidence in the kids English ability (this happens very often), and may insist that you do the game in Japanese. Whilst this does have a meaning (it teaches them about Japanese customs), it's has much more educational value if it is done in English!! The kids can do it and love it!!

And of course, you don't have to be in Japan to enjoy this game - kids everywhere will enjoy it!!



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