As a father raising my son in Japan, I must say that the quality of the KIDS program at the official second channel, ETele （Eテレ） is very high. There are lots of shows with nice songs for children, a show to learn traditional Japanese language (Nihongo de asobou 日本語で遊ぼう！） a couple of English learning programs for all ages (like 英語であそぼう！） and many science programs.
The most fascinating for my son is a program called 作って作ってわくわく(very badly translated as Build Build Exciting Exciting) and the longer version 作って作って遊ぼう (Let`s build and play). In the program the hosts show how to build fast and simple exciting toys from things one can find in any household. My son could watch it endlessly, and many things from 作って作ってわくわく we have already build.
On the first picture are the Sumosaurus (すも恐竜）, easily made of an old paper plate and some coloured paper. Every player gets one Sumosaurus and you put them in the middle of a table. (The table on the picture we made from milk packs, newspaper and some coloured paper.) Then both players tap on the table wildly, and the Sumosaurus will start moving because of the vibration. The Sumosaurus which falls first looses. It`s an easy and fascinating game for little kids.
In the same show, わくわくさん（Wakuwaku san) and ごろりん(Gororin） also prepared some nice dinosaur 恐竜 pictures made of advert leaflets and some glue. My son had so much fun first cutting out the different pictures from the advert and than arranging them on a paper to the new dinosaur of his imagination. This one is a Braciosaurus I like to call “AppleKaniKaniSaurus”.
Like with all things made in the Let`s build and play作って作って遊ぼう ETele （Eテレ） program, great toys can be made of things most households would just throw away (a Japanese saying is もったいない） and a lot of imagination. Once we started building these toys, my son (and me, too) started to love it. We build something nearly every day. As a father, I believe it is a great way for my son improve his imagination, his motor skills and also his self esteem. When we go to a toy store, he stopped saying “I want this.” Instead, he says “let`s make a picture and build it at home!”