We made these fun (again with the messy!) Japanese Karesansui Mini-Gardens today.

The idea behind the creation of the sand garden was to symbolize nature using natural materials such as stones, sand and gravel. The gravel was raked in order to create the illusion of rippling water. The use of plants was kept to the bare minimum.

I searched for those cute little rakes, but didn’t find any that were cheap so I ended up making my own. I have wooden pieces in our craft closet so I glued some small wood sticks onto a wood square then topped it off with another wood square to make small little rakes. They worked quite well I thought and were a good size for small hands.


We practiced tracing around the rocks, then took them off and did designs then added them back on. (Just a tip from the trenches here, but even though I had these nice little containers for our gardens, sand did end up all over.)



My preschooler made a drawing of her with Jesus which I thought was cute, “no rocks” she said “Jesus is the rock!” Then I tried to make her write letters in the sand, but she didn’t want to mess up her Jesus so we’ll do that another day!


Here is my son’s he drew a fish, I think the rock is it’s eye.


Click here if you’d like to follow along with our Expedition Earth Geography Curriculum Journey!

Click here to see what else we did for Japan!


  1. So what is your plan for the craft now that the week about Japan is over? Did you combine into one big "sand table," did you put it in the outside sandbox? What have you done with them now? I'm not sure I'd want to keep them out in the house – especially with my kids!

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