The fish kites that we made were based off of this lesson from the Smithsonian institution. For our purposes, we weren't getting into the history of Japanese internment [way over their heads], but that's a lesson I'll be keeping in my back pocket for the future. The koinobori were a project that were INCREDIBLY easy to adapt for the 3 and 4's. We talked about how kites that they are familiar with are were similar and different to this type of kite. We talked about fish and what fish need to survive. We could very easily have talked about symmetry.
The project calls for glue - we stapled the sides together on the longest, straightest side - three to four did the trick and kept a tube shape without us needing to worry about drying time - we only see some of the kids for three and a half hours and by the time we get to the activity, we're down to an hour and a half, two hours. Glue doesn't dry that fast. We also used construction paper. While the children were coloring their fish,
I read another book, "The Rainbow Fish". It gave the children another point, however inaccurate, or reference about fish and what sorts of things fish have. It made me wish I had a real koinobori to bring in - I have child size yukatas. I'll just have to visit Japan.
Regrets -I didn't think of having fin templates. Some of the children were very concerned about having something "exactly right", and I do a lot of "Eh, it'll be fine, do your best." While I realize that for this project this is a minimal concern, for other projects and tutorials that I attempt in the future, I will need to be aware of having templates and clearer guidelines.
Also, I went home to my parent's house over the holiday weekend - they have an overgrown patch of bamboo in their yard. While I'm not 100% certain that bamboo grows in Japan, or that it would have been accurate for display, I do know that bamboo is used as fishing rods, and that the kids would have loved having a rod for their fish rather than just string to carry it from. I wish I would have gathered some small bamboo rods.