My husband has been introducing the girls to anime since they were small. At first, they were not impressed. Then he showed them Ponyo, their first Miyazaki film. They sat still for 101 minutes, mesmerized. Not an easy feat for what was probably a 4 year old and a 2 year old. He was so proud of himself. Ponyo is basically a Japanese spin on The Little Mermaid. (Only, much better, in my opinion.) Other Miyazaki films followed. Met with the same awe by both children. My Neighbor Totoro is one of their favorites.
Unfortunately, these great films take time and energy to make and there are a limited number. Husband had to move on to different anime. He introduced them to Avatar: the Last Airbender with good success. He seeks out interesting things to expose to them. For the most part he does a good job. During one showing of some new anime, I did stop short and ask him, "What the heck is this?" It was not inappropriate, it was just very strange.
Most recently, he starting showing them Hikaru No Go. It is about middle school Go clubs in Japan and nationwide championships for adults and kids. Go is a game I feel is on the same skill level as chess. (I never enjoyed chess, btw.) After watching a few episodes, Ginger really wanted to learn to play Go. Husband nearly jumped up and down at the interest. He wants to eventually teach her chess so that he will have someone to play with. (I, of course, am not a fan, so I won't play with him.)
Anyway, after pricing Go boards on Amazon, I took a step back and thought about things I had around the house that I could make a practice board. After a little research and some thoughtfulness, I had it.
The traditional competitive go boards at 19x19 (18 squares, by 18 squares, the game is played on the lines that cross.) I found that beginners sometimes start with 5x5 (4 squares, by 4 squares.) I printed one and laminated it. I then went to my craft supplies, and found plenty of flat bottom glass stones thanks to an abandoned art project from my sister.
Thus, my oldest, 7 now, will try her hand at a strategic stone game she saw in a cartoon style setting. If I found my soapbox about the lack of educational material in American cartoons, I would pass out from standing on it for too long.
I am very glad we live in an age where I can find all manner of educational material from many cultures around the world. It's almost like the entire world is involved in teaching my girls that they can be smart and have fun at the same time. I really wish more kids had that.