Fruit, veggies and colours

L. is always gets interested in whatever her big sister is crazy about. This time fruit and veggies.

Little L.’s attention span is still quite short so the long planting procedure was too much for her. Therefore I decided to make her busy with fruit and veggies in another way.

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I found this lovely free printable on food at Life over C’s which is a huge pack of several activites. I chose the one in which the child needs to decide the colour of the fruit and veggies on the card. The original activity recommends using clothes pegs to mark the right answer but L. has difficulties in using it all by herself so I decided to give her decor stones of the same colours as she needed to identify.

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She did this activity with me and with our native nanny too. She enjoyed it so much for quite a long time (8-10 minutes per occasion).

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After shopping at the market I gave her the real vegetables. She was fascinated to see, touch and even smell them.

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The pack contains a memory game set. I used it a little differently. I cut up only the half of the cards and L. needed to recognise and match the fruit and vegetables on the bigger sheet. This activity was a hit too, although she is not like her sister, who could do educational tasks forever.

If your kid is bigger you can select plenty of fun activities (number recognition, puzzles, memory game) within the topic, food on the link above.

Enjoy you fruit and veggies.

Books we read in March

This months the books came randomly. Neither girls has any special interest (except for bird in E’s case) so we just picked books from the big book box.

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Colour coding: E.’s favourite, L.’s favourite, Both loved it

E (5y 10m)

Travels of Dr. Dolittle

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Is there anyone who doesn’t like the vet who speaks the language of animals? We read it about 5 times. E loves animals in general, but sh always have a favourite group. In this book her favourite one was pushmi pullyu, the two-headed lama-like creature that was presented to Dr Dolittle for healing the monkeys. A fascinating classis.

The smartest giant in town by Julia Donaldson

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This book about kindness and selflessness. The giant on his way home gives away his smart new clothes to animals who need them more. Another message: be yourself, don’t try to be someone who you’re not.

George’s marvellous medicine by Raold Dahl

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This was E.’s very favourite book this months. The story is about a boy who makes new medication for his unbearably overbearing and pompous grandmother. The medicine has a funny result, which makes George’s father really excited. We started a wow words! notebook with E. Whenever we come across a word, which was unfamilar for her (and, to be honest, for me too sometimes) we jot it down in this notebook witha synonym or a drawing.

Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson

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Another book about what if you don’t fit in. I’m afraid the illustrations are not the best, still the story is great. A duckbill (vegeterian) dino was accidentally born into a t-rex family, where he is criticised a lot with great disappointment. But when he realises that he can swim, he runs away from them (kind of a strange and scary solution, not a very good message for kid as for problem-solving –  my opionion only) and joins a herd of duckbill dinos. What’s more, he becomes a hero, but you need to read it to know why. My kids enjoyed it but weren’t crazy about it. I guess it’s the illustrations.

Wash Scrub Brush by Mick Manning and Brita Granström

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Now this one was read out 20 times… minimum. Children are getting ready for a birthday party and need to clean themselves: cut finger nails, wash hair, clean ears, go to the toilet and wash hands. L. was fascinated by the baby with her “poopy nappy”. E liked the idea that animals clean themselves like bird preen (!new word!), special birds clean the wax out of zebras, or big fish let little fish clean their teeth without eating them. I could read it in 2 versions: a shorter version for L without the extra info about the animals, and a longer version for E. with the extras. At the end of the book there’s a glossary of useful words explained.

L. (2y 3 m)

Little Red Riding Hood by Tony Mitton

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A classic story in a new way. There are very few words in this story, you can decide how much more you say through the story-telling. At the end the wolf just closes up grandma and doesn’t eat her. When Little Red Riding Hood comes, she is not eaten up by the wolf either as the lumberjack stops him. They eat a pretty cakes at the very end. It’s kind of strange for me but for Little L. it was more soothing since she was scared of the wolf. E. knew the story doesn’t end like this. Anyway, in this way we had a chance to talk about it in more details.

Come on Everybody, time to play! By Nigel Gray

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A picture book for little children. A little girl is searching for others to play with on Sunday morning. She is looking everywhere (bathroom, kitchen, playroom etc) and finds dogs and cats and brothers. In the end they all end up in the parents’ bed. There are some flaps to flip but not on all pages. it’s a cute book but my kids weren’t so impressed.

Teddy hunt (Marks&Spencer)

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Again a book for the really young. A little boy wants to go for a picnic and is looking for his Teddy. The child can lift the flaps as the rhyming story goes on and on, as the boy is looking everywhere. Finally he finds his Teddy in the picnic basket. The touchy-feely last page adds an extra on the last page. (My kids started to fight over who should open the picnic basket and pat the teddy.)

Where’s my egg? by Tony Mitton

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A cute little story about Mother Hen who can’t find her egg. She is checking everywhere, at the farm animals. Finally she finds the egg, more presicely her hatched chick. Little L. loved the story, the animals and the feelings (mother Hen is really sad through the story, so much she starts to cry, but she cheers up when she meets her little chick)

Red Fire Engine

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I thought it would be a bigger hit, but Little L is not a baby any more. She still likes pushing buttons, but she is more interested in stories and clearly this book doesn’t have much of a story. This is more for kids under 2.

Look what I’ve found by Nick Sharrat

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We love this series of A Flip-flap book, by Walker Books. In this one a little girl is exploring the beach with her Dad and finds interesting things. My kids’ favourite part is when she finds the ice-cream place.

The girls also asked to read some older books like Noah’s Ark by Lucy Cousins, Pooh! Is that you Birtie? by David Roberts, or Chocolate Moose for greedy Goose by Julia Donaldson. (You can read a short review and my kids’ opinion about the books on the links)

We also read some Easter books but I’ll write about them in a seperate post.

Pompom run

I had to cook. Little L. wanted to play with me. Challenge accepted.

I took out some kitchen roll tubes and toilet paper tubes, which I’d been storing for a loooong time so we can play with them some day, and made a very quick, ugly but functional pompom run.

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I cooked and she played in the kitchen, sometimes I joined in too. Everybody was happy.

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I wasn’t considering how great it is from language point of view. While she was making the pompoms run she was identifying their colours.

-T his one is yellow. And this is red. Look, mommy the black one is spiky.

Then she compared their sizes:

– This is small. Look, Mommy a big pompom.

In the afternoon my big girl (almost 6) came home and started playing with it using a pair of tongs. She added some more pieces of tube to the pompom run to boot. (It was difficult for her to cut the hard cardboard.)

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DSC01548She was playing with it for half an hour.

It’s still on the fridge and I keep the pompom close by. They can play with it whenever they want to. And they often want to.

The best is it took 5 minutes to make it. Of course, you can spend more time on it, painting the tubes, decorating it with stickers together with the kids, making more interesting and more exciting ways, use it for addition, etc.

But simple is beautiful 😉

Which part of the plant do we eat?

As E. got pretty excited about planting not only flowers but veggies (carrots, radishes, tomatoes this year) I though I would challenge her with something interesting.

She’s been eating her veggies more willingly, and enjoying it actually, so I prepared an activity for her about which part of plants we could eat. She also made salad for the whole family out of home-grown spring onion, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. (Mind you, only the spring onion was home-grown 😉 )

You can download your free copy at the end of the post.

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She had no difficulty grouping the vegetables except for the ones we do not really consume like artichokes and celery stems. (In Hungary we make foods mainly out of the celery root – and E.’s familiar with it -, or at least in my family)

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At the end of the sorting activity she made up a card game you can play alone or with other players too:
You turn up 2 cards: one picture and one name card and place it the middle of the table. Then you shuffle the rest and share it evenly with the players. You place your cards face down and each player one by one  turn a card up. If you see either the picture or the name of the vegetable in the middle you have to say: …. and you can keep the pair, if not the next player turns up their next card. The winner is… well I would rather say the aim of the game is to collect as many matches as the players can. It’s not really a competition, but it can be if you’re child is competitive. Mine is not 🙂

Here you can download your copy of Which part of the plant we eat. Some more game ideas can be found on the link. Have fun!

The Mitten by Jan Brett – activities

Last year I bought this classic story The Mitten by Jan Brett but I realised in the spring that this winter book had sunk into oblivion. However, this year, when winter is really harsh with quite a lot of snowing, I managed to prepare some activities on the basis of the story.

At the very beginning, we were looking at flashcards of winter and summer clothes and put them into 2 groups: what we wear and don’t wear in cold winter.

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Before reading the story with the girls I prepared an extra-large mitten out of felt. As time was an issue I cut out 2 mitten-shaped pieces of  felt and used a hot glue gun to stick them together. (There’s a snow-white mitten in the story but unfortunately I didn’t have white felt at home so I used a light beige and a gray piece.)

 

I downloaded and shrank the animals’ pictures from Jan Brett’s site. I made two-sided stick animals out of them so the kids can put the animals in the felt mitten one by one as the story goes along. (Lucky there are 8 animals in the story and we could share the animals equally.)

After the story, they matched and compare mittens that I’d found around the house.

They told me which ones are too small or too big for them.

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Too big, Mommy

Then came the mitten craft. Out of white and light blue construction paper I cut out mitten shapes and provided the girls with all kinds of decorative elements: hearts, cotton balls, buttons, glittery star and flower shaped stickers etc.

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They decorated their mittens as they wished. E. decorated her 2-3 mittens heavily and accurately. Little L. used the stickers mostly as she found the glue too sticky.

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I also made two mitten-related, age-appropriate activities for them:

E. had the rhyming mittens. Each mitten has a picture on them and they rhyme like cat-hat or pig-wig. She matched them in no time.
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L. got a Which mitten is different? activity. As she wasn’t interested at all E. did this one too. She placed a button on the mitten that was the odd one out of the four.

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Mommy, this one was the most difficult. It’s not for a 2-year-old. 🙂 It’s for me.

We spent 2 and a half hours together reading, playing with the mittens, matching and comparing mittens, decorating mittens. I’m not saying that my 2-year old’s attention didn’t flag but apart from the odd-one out activity, with a little help she could keep pace with my 5-and-a-half year old big girl. Whenever she couldn’t focus anymore I gave her something new to redirect her with success. (The story time and the mitten matching were really fascinating for her, but the mitten decorating was too long, so when she wanted to finish it half way I gave her new stickers or she could try using the glue stick or could squeeze out some glue on her paper mitten.)

All the way through we were discussing  winter topics, like clothing, what animals do/eat in the winter, what patterns our mittens have , what colour the decoration on their mittens is or I was describing what we were doing.