Postcard Writing with the Amabie (the Japanese Yokai that can stave off epidemics) | #curatedquarantineideas

Day one of quarantine with the kids, and we’re (knock on wood) off to a good start. I recognize I have a huge advantage in that a) I am primarily a stay home parent, b) I homeschooled my oldest for a year, c) I am an early childhood teacher, and d) my backyard is pretty much a playground. But even with all this on my side, the reality of social isolating is daunting and a huge pressure on parents. Luckily there are amazing resources and ideas being shared all over the place for folks to do with their kids, and I thought I’d share some ideas too.

Atlas’s Amabie Postcards

Today’s activity is a simple one: postcard writing, but with a pandemic twist. ;) My dear friend Rebecca shared this amazing website which taught me about the legend of the Amabie in Japan.

“As legend has it, in the 1800s a mythical yokai appeared off the coast of Kumamoto, Japan. The Amabie, as it was called, was described as a mermaid-like creature with long hair, a beak and 3 legs. It made several predictions related to bountiful harvests and, before disappearing back into the sea, left the locals with some advice in case of an epidemic. According to records, “If an epidemic occurs, draw a picture of me and show it to everyone,” said the yokai.”

So we ran with the idea for our daily writing activity (one of the two more structured times we have scheduled). Using blank white postcards* (an easy purchase on Amazon), Atlas drew his version of an Amabie on the front of the cards (I encouraged him to reimagine it a little for every postcard). Then on the back he wrote asking his friend to send him a joke and signed his name off. We researched jokes online (which was a lot of fun) and I wrote down his favorite joke under his message, so his friend got to enjoy it too. We will find a new joke daily.

*The beauty of using postcards is that there is a nice space to draw, a small space to write (so there is no pressure to write a lot), and postcard stamps are less expansive than regular stamps.

We made a list of all the friends he would like to send a postcard to, and he chooses two a day to write to. Then he crosses them off the list once he is done. This way we can keep track of who he has already written to. :)