One of my favorite things about living in Japan is the fact that my children have learned so many beautiful crafts at school on a daily basis. Their Japanese kindergarten, which each of them attended until age 7, was completely play-based and all the children burst out of school every day with recycled shopping bags filled to the brim with playthings they made. Our job as parents was to regularly provide the school with clean, empty recyclables (milk cartons, plastic bottles, shopping bags, miscellaneous boxes and ribbons and papers), and to find a place for all these treasures once they came home. The best thing about making your own playthings is that your child learns to see treasure in trash and found materials, and gains confidence that he can always make something for himself to play with. Daily crafting gives fine motor skills a real boost, too.