The children as makers: koinobori

The children have been making koinobori in preparation for Children’s Day, a Japanese festival to celbrate children, which takes place on the fifth day of the fifth month. Yuri read the children a book about Children’s day and then the children went to the ELC to observe the koinobori that were flying in the ELC playground. The children drew sketches of the koinobori to help them with their own designs.

When we got back, we had a discussion about what the koinobori was like (it’s form) and what kind of materials might work well for making a koinobori. The children came up with these ideas:


  • It has to float in the wind
  • It should be a little bit strong so the wind doesn’t tear it or rip it
  • It has to be a light material or the koinobori won’t fly
  • It should have some kind of handle so it doesn’t fly away


Then the children set to work on creating their koinobori. We set aside large chunks of time over several days for the children to work on their models. By now the children are experienced makers. Over the year they have had opportunities to explore many different kinds of construction and creation materials. They already have ideas about what might or might not work. Recently we have been thinking and talking a lot about where good ideas come from. As we meet back in a sharing circle at the end of each session, the children share their successes and frustrations and build on the ideas of each other to further refine their models. They have free access to the playground to test their models and most children have experimented with several different designs.

Koinobori inquiry from Yuri Air on Vimeo.

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