Cherry Blossom Family Zone
Celebrate spring and the return of cherry blossom season online with the Smithsonian American Art Museum. For the eighth year in a row, SAAM has partnered with the National Cherry Blossom Festival to bring you fun family activities and public programs. This year, our activities are all available online for you to enjoy with loved ones both near and far. Get creative with your favorite seasonal crafts and coloring pages based on artworks from our collection. Then, watch a musical performance by the Masayo Ishigure and Miyabi Koto Shamisen Ensemble. There is fun for the whole family!
Register now for a special virtual celebration Saturday, March 20, at 10 a.m. ET. Enjoy traditional Japanese taiko drumming performances with the group Nen Daiko and learn more about the traditions and techniques of their famous drums and other Japanese percussion instruments, including the shekere (a gourd shaker), chappa (hand-held cymbals), and atarigane (a small bowl-shaped brass instrument played with a hammer-like item called a shumoku). Discover how Nen Daiko members have created homemade variations of their large instruments that they have been using to practice at home during the global pandemic to stay socially distant.
After Nen Daiko's presentation, explore art, nature, and color with SAAM‘s docents in the new virtual edition of our popular Art Cart series. Begin by taking a closer look at some of the spring-related artworks in SAAM’s collection. Then enjoy a step-by-step craft activity that you can do at home using materials you likely have on hand.
This series of activities is presented in partnership with the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Family Zone Activities
Cherry Blossom Tree
- Paper lunch bag
- Pink tissue paper
- Leaving the paper bag folded, cut 1/4 inch strips halfway down the bag from the opening.
- Open the bag so it can stand on the bottom and twist the cut pieces together to form branches.
- Cut the tissue paper into small squares, approximately 1/2 inch.
- Layer two pieces of tissue paper squares and glue them together. Fold to create a point at one end.
- Glue the points to the ends of the twisted paper bag branches.
Koinobori (Japanese Fish Kite)
- Toilet paper roll
- Tissue or construction paper
- Hole punch
- Cut paper into scale shapes, like a capital "D."
- Layer and glue scales onto the toilet paper roll, all facing in the same direction.
- Create kite tails with strips of paper or by gluing extra scales together. Glue the tails to the end of the kite.
- Draw two eyes on the opposite end from the tails, one on each side of the roll.
- Punch holes in the roll, opposite the eyes.
- Run the string through the hole and tie it off.
- Fly your kite on a windy day.
Knitted Cherry Blossom ( For Adults or Advanced Children)
This makes 5 inch x 5 inch blossom when completed. Each petal is 2 inches long and 2.5 inches at the widest point. It can be made smaller with a smaller needle and lighter weight yarn.
- Worsted weight yarn, pink, approximately 10 yards
- Size 7-9 knitting needles
- Tapestry needle
- K – Knit
- P – Purl
- YO – Yarn Over
- K2TOG – Knit Two Together
- SSK – Slip Slip Knit
- BO – Bind Off
Cast on 4 stitches using the long-tail method (you’ll need the extra yarn later)
- Row 1: Knit 4
- Row 2 and all even rows: Purl all stitches
- Row 3: K1, *YO, K1* to end (7 stitches)
- Row 5: K1, *YO, K1* to end (13 stitches)
- Row 7: K1, SSK, YO, SSK, *YO, K2TOG* to end of row (12 stitches)
- Row 9: K1, SSK, YO, SSK *YO, K2TOG* to last stitch, K1 (11 stitches)
- Row 11: SSK, K to last 2, K2TOG (9 stitches)
- Row 13: SSK, K to last 2, K2TOG (7 stitches)
- Row 14: BO purlwise
- Repeat above pattern 5 times to create flower petals.
- Align petals with knit side facing up and edges touching.
- Thread the tapestry needle with the extra yarn from your cast-on end.
- Align the petals with the cast on end toward the center.
- Sew the petal edges together up to Row 9, or where the petal starts to curve back in.
- Weave in ends from top of bound off edges.
- Gently block in cold water.
- Attach a brooch back or use as a wall decoration to celebrate spring and the cherry blossoms year round!
Go on a springtime scavenger hunt outside and take in the beauty of the changing season.
Enjoy coloring pages featuring beautiful springtime artworks from SAAM’s collection. Since we can not admire your creativity in person, please share a picture of your completed creations by using #SAAMFamilyZone on social media.
Enjoy beautiful musical performances by Masayo Ishigure and the Miyabi Koto Shamisen Ensemble.
Tori no Yoni (Fly Like a Bird)
Composed by Tadao Sawai; Performance by Masayo Ishigure
Yume no Wa (Ring of Dream)
Composed by Hikaru Sawai; Performance by Miyabi Koto Shamisen Ensemble.