This year the festivities of the Chinese New Year started on the 25 January and I decided to talk about it with the girls through some crafts. Originally, I was planning to make some printables… More
E.’s school takes part in a volunteer programme, which means from time to time a volunteer arrives at the school to reinforce the students’ English communication skills. At the end of this year a 19-year old young lady, P., from Sri Lanka visited the school. We hosted her in our home for a week (altogether she stayed for 6 weeks and was hosted by other families too).
Although E. doesn’t learn English in school (and never will), I signed up to host the future volunteer in the middle of November.
The girls were excited and very curious about our visitor. They kept asking when P. was coming.
P. arrived on a Sunday afternoon and with her wide smile and cute presents she stole my kids’ heart.
P.’s English was absolutely great (as it turned out, her Mum is an English teacher 🙂 ) and she could communicate and connect with E and L very easily.
During the day she was in school giving lessons about Sri Lanka and practising English with students in the higher grades. (She also taught the kids how to dance a Sri Lankan folkdance, what’s more she performed a gorgeous dance in school when the 3rd advent candle was lit).
After school either she walked home or we took her home from school and spent the afternoons with playing together. She was painting with the girls, or they danced together, sometimes they played with cars or a board game.
Towards the end of the week we had more time to explore Budapest, to show her the sights and to do a little shopping. We saw the parliament and the night lights, Christmas fairs, where we had some lángos,
visited the Buda Castle, where we had some treats,
also took a ride on the funicular railway and saw the beautiful view of Budapest in sparkling sunshine. (After that week of sunshine she could experience snow for the first time in her life)
We had lots of fun; we really enjoyed our time with this sweet, warm-hearted, full of joy young lady.
It was great practice for the girls, moreover a pleasure to have her in our home and she will surely stay in our hearts.
Our garden is full of colourful leaves. We are raking them, jumping into them, make leaf angels, throwing them up in the air. Plus, we made some autumn pictures with the help of them. Here they are:
I collected and dried some leaves beforehand. When they were dry, I shredded them into small pieces by hand. You can do it with the kids. As Little L.’s attention span is still very short (she’s just 3.5) I knew shredding would have been all she could have been involved and the creative part of the activity would have been lost, so I did the shredding myself. It’s a nice sensory activity and the shreds can also serve as a great basis for a sensory box.
Later on 2 trays I prepared for them 3 motives drawn by pencil, liquid glue and a bowl of shredded leaves.
First, they traced the outline of the image with the glue then sprinkled it with the shreds.
To finish with, we let the exceed shreds fall of the picture. And there you can see a beautiful autumn picture.
Surprisingly, Little L. was great at tracing the outlines. I wasn’t surprised at E.’s fantastic tracing. Applying the right amount of glue needed a lot of concentration.
When they’d finished with my pictures, they started to make their own.
E. made a tree with falling leaves, a flower and fruit.
L. was working on a plum and a car (I guess).
I myself joined in and made our cat.
This was the time when they lost interest, but I could encourage them to make a last one with their hands. The girls really liked the idea and the final outcome.
This activity involved a lot of English interactions: autumn vocabulary (leaves, colours, autumn fruits), fine motor skill development (tracing with glue and sprinkling shredded leaves), giving and following instructions and artistic creativity. Not to mention fun, fun, fun.
October is all about Halloween. It is the time to do Halloween activities , listen to Halloween songs and decorate our house with scary things. This year we’ve been playing with the old games but I wanted something new. As Little L. wanted to dress up as a witch, I thought a cauldron sensory bin would be great.
What you need:
- a cauldron (I bought ours in the Flying Tiger Shop)
- corn kernels (I used 2 and a haft tubs of popcorn kernels)
- “scary” manipulatives (plastic eyes, spiders, skeletons, pumpkins, snakes, black cats, ghosts etc. you can see my choice of manipulatives in the video below)
- cards with numbers on (I used cards from 1-6)
How to prepare it:
I poured one tub of corn kernels into the cauldron and added some of the manipulatives then added another tub of kernels and placed in some more scary figurines. It wasn’t enough to cover them all, so I added another half tub.
I presented the sensory cauldron to E. first, because I wasn’t sure how many creatures I put in and actually she tested the game.
She (at the age of 7 and a half) enjoyed finding surprises in the corn.
To be on the safe side, to save some time of cleaning up the kernels I put a tray under the cauldron.
She did the counting. That was when we realised I’d put in 6 different kinds of manipulatives. Originally, I’d made 5 cards only, but at this point I added another card, no. 6, instead of taking away something from the cauldron.
One of the manipulatives were pumpkin-shaped tea lights. E. turned them on and put them back into the cauldron. Spooky.
After playing with the cauldron we put everything back and it was waiting for Little L. to explore.
She also took great pleasure in dipping her little hands into the full cauldron and find the creatures inside. And it goes without saying that you can do this activity only in your Halloween (witch) costume.
Our new nanny was around at that time so the girls were searching for the scary creatures with N.
It was real funny when Little L. called the eyeballs “bally eyes” 😀 Check the video on this link.
I wish you all a Happy Halloween with this fun activity.
I have less and less time to write new posts on the blog, but one morning I had a sudden idea of recollecting our summer memories in some ways and I really need to share it. E. is going to a new school in a week. I’m 100% sure the first question will be: What did you do in the summer?
I can see my shy, 7-year old black out as if nothing had happened all summer.
I came up with this poster idea, where Little L. can use a gluestick she loves so much. I had printed some holiday photos, cut them up (you can do it with your kids, but as Little L’s concentration span is still very short, I rather cut them up myself).
I also cut a piece of paper off our huge IKEA paper roll and provided the girls with markers and the gluesticks.
As it’s still warm and sunny we did the sicking project outside.
They were not very into it at the beginning but finally they got the hang of it.
First, they were looking at the photos and grouped them on the basis of different locations and programmes. They chatted about where we were, what we were doing there both in English and Hungarian (most of the holidays had taken place in Hungary.)
Then the sticking started.
I wrote Our summer 2019 on the top. E. traced some letter as my marker was getting to dry out.
They decorated the headline with a sun, clouds and I added a smiley. Little L. drew waves under it, plus added ice-cream at the bottom. E. drew some trees and wrote some headings.
Little L. had difficulty gluing the smaller pictures so I helped her a bit. And after a while she lost interest.
The final product turned out really well. Although they were not as interested in the summer poster project as I wished for, this was the first thing they showed Daddy when he got home.
Little L.’s first English summer camp has just started. In this blogpost I’m going to collect the happenings and activities.
First of all, I’m also at the camp as an English-speaking helper next to my university mate A, who organises the Jump&Fun camp for non-native English speaker kids. Apart from us, our British nanny C. is there too, together with a Hungarian, kindergarten nanny to help around the kids.
The age group in the camp was really varied ranging from 2,5 up to 13,5. We needed to concentrate on working with the kids in smaller groups according to their age. It was quite a challenge to integrate them, but we sorted it out smoothly. It was exciting to see how well kids interacted with their peers and with older/younger kids.
The location of the camp was pretty central in Budapest. A playhouse provided two rooms for us.
(All images in this post © 2019 GA, LE – please do not download or share)
The first day turned out great. We arrived at the playhouse location around 8.30. There was a getting-to-know each other game with parents and kids. L. was silent all through the ice-breaking game and didn’t want to speak to anyone, so I was her English voice.
We got a very practical red hat and Jump&Fun rubber bracelets as presents. L. chose the blue bracelet (her favourite colour), of course. After that A. started a Jump&Fun session with the whole group: 22 kids out of which 2 are her own. There were a lot of singing (Hello Everyone) and playing involved with balls (Roll the balls) and moving around (Green light Go!) that the kids loved. The session took about 35 minutes.
Around 10 we left for the playground with the kids and had real fun there too. The weather is very hot this summer but this playground was mostly in the shadow. The kids played in smaller groups at different parts of the playground (jungle gym, sand pit, swings, football pitch, see-saw etc). The teachers who were supervising them joined in the kids’ game and talked to them in English only. It was fantastic to see how these little children understood almost everything and quite a lot of them were able to interact in English as well thanks to taking part in A’s weekly Jump&Fun sessions and the English time they spend with their parents at home.
First, I was with a group of kids at the jungle gym and the slide where I helped them climb up and slide down etc. commenting on every detail of what they were doing. I also moved with some of them to the swings where I was singing them swing songs and other songs that came to my mind.
Last but not least they cooked me sand cakes and lunches and it was so sweet to see how much they were enjoying their playtime. Sometimes Little L was disappointed that I didn’t focus on her alone, but she also had lots of fun.
We had a short snack/singing break then the kids went back to playing.
Lunchtime was at about 12.30 where everything went in English too: bathroom time, serving the food, wishing them bon appetite, helping with the spills, etc. Lunch was ordered and delivered hot for the kids. The amount was too big for children and there was plenty of leftovers unfortunately. I brought our own food from home due to our special diet.
The little children went to take a nap in another room where A. read them a short story and sang them lullabies while the older kids who do not sleep anymore together with C., the native nanny, had some activities and play time in English.
After this we left the first camp day and went to Grandma to take a nap as E. has her first German school camp at her new school she’s starting in September and we needed to pick her up in time early afternoon. Little L wanted to stay at the camp for the nap time too, which is a clear sign she was enjoying herself.
But at the camp they were very active in the afternoon too.
After arrival the kids had breakfast and a Jump&Fun session with lots of English songs, games and moving around.
Everything went in English: everyday activities like offering food, washing hands, reading books, singing songs while getting ready for going out etc.
All the children understand nearly every instruction, but most of them answered in Hungarian. Gently I could direct some of them to say some sentences (requests, thank yous and other simple interactions) but they knew a lot of songs and whole books by heart in English. It was amazing to see other kids feeling comfortable in English not just mine.
Later we headed to the park to play and splash in the water. (It wasn’t my favourite part as it was a kind of public fountain and I’m a germaphobe) The kids looooooved it. Again, we were spending time with the kids talking to them in English, singing to/with them songs about splashing, the sun and the summer. (Oh Mr Sun for example)
Older kids played with C, the British nanny, games like What’s the time Mr Wolf, Duck, duck, goose, Colour shark and other playground games (Check out this book about playground games.)
The ones who got tired could rest on the blankets and play Dobble or other quiet games.
Lunch was at the same time as the previous day. Little L wanted to stay for the nap time, but I had to stay with her for a long time and finally she managed to fall asleep. During naptime I played with the older kids. The topic was All about me, so we played with body parts, clothes, feelings, the game called Simon Says. The kids drew around themselves and we made a Summer Suzy and Winter Willy picture, which they enjoyed a lot and added several details to the drawing, like jewellery, bags, a crown and other accessories.
Going home was a rush. After nap time it took quite a while to leave the camp with Little L and we were late for picking up E. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay for the afternoons at the camp.
Around breakfast some kids were working on the books that everyone got titled All about me. We were talking about the same topic as yesterday but from different perspective, plus the book offered fun sticker time for the younger kids.
Some other kids who didn’t feel like working in the activity book, painted a magic picture using only water. Still, the painting turned wonderfully colourful.
In the morning while A. was having her Jump&Fun session with the younger kids I was making faces with the older ones. Little L stayed with me of course 🙂 and made her own face as well. This activity comes from the Flying Tiger shop; a book of face templates of different kinds with tons of body parts and accessory stickers. We made some really funny faces. The kids were commenting what they added, finally they talked about the faces they’d made and had a good laugh.
We left after lunch to pick E. up from her school camp in time.
The afternoon was spent with a lot of arts and crafts, more Jump and Fun sessions and a lot of playtime in English until the parents came to pick up their children.
I can draw myself 🙂
Day 4-Day 5
To be honest, I was low on energy at this point by the end of the day so I stopped writing daily notes. Still here are some fun moments from the last two days of the camp (which had more or less the same schedule as the other days).
Relay races in the park
Pizza for lunch
Making prop for the show
End of camp show
(a Jump&Fun session with all the children, and an act with the bigger kids performing Sugarlump and the Unicorn by Julia Donaldson). Both the kids and the parents enjoyed it very much.
At the very end of the camp kids got 2 books best suited for their age out of these beautiful Usborne books:
Apart from the baseball cap, a rubber bracelet, they also received a balloon, and an eggshaker, a certificate and a group photo of the camp:
All in all, the camp was absolutely fantastic, active and full of English time for the kids. It’s very difficult to work together with so many children (I’m only used to my 2 girls and they ARE often rather tiring) but it was very rewarding and energising. It’s absolutely wonderful to see these little children being able to interact in English and having loads of fun on their way of acquiring the English language with ease. Thank you for the great experience and all the fun!