New York is book lovers’ heaven. After our NYC trip, we returned with tons of children books we bough at a really low price. One of them was Mix it up! by Hervé Tullet. It’s… More
Every year we plant flowers on our balcony with E. who loves spring and the revival of nature (and her coming birthday too).
Usually I buy some plants at the flower market and we plant them together, like last year or the year before. Last year we also tried to plant carrots, tomatoes, and ruccola. Well, apart from the tomato it wasn’t a successful year (we had 8-10 cherry tomatoes in September), but we’d started plating really late, at the beginning of May.
To attune the girls to the revival of nature and planting I collected some youtube videos for them, mainly songs. Here are their favourite ones (that they learnt by heart within 2 days):
However, this year I was all prepared. I bought these cute plant nurseries at the Flying Tiger Shop and some seeds in one of the big supermarkets. (We collected some seeds from our balcony flowers, too, 2 years ago and I accidentally found the envelopes.) One of the ladies at the market who I get on really well with gave some spring onion bulbs to E. to plant.
We had a 4-day long weekend due to our national holiday, 15 March and we used one of the days to do the planting.
I put down and old wax table cloth on the floor and fixed it with painter’s tape. Then prepared all the necessary ingredients:
- dirt (in another word soil)
- seeds (this year we planted radishes, gurkins*, carrots, basil, tomato, poppies, and snapdragons.)
- spoons (next year a really need to purchase some kid-size gardening tools)
- plant nursery
Before starting the planting procedure I showed them the parts of a flower cards and they put them in the right order: root, stem, leaves and flower. E. placed the word cards next to them. (The link above will take you to the site where you can download your own copy if you wish.)
The girls scooped the dirt in the little holes. L. was making the sound of a digger while doing it. And for her that was it all. She lost interest in planting very quickly. She went to her little kitchen and cooked some food for Daddy.
But E. was really enthusiastic about it. She told me which seed to plant first , she opened the packets and envelopes that hid the seeds. She observed the seeds carefully noticing their different shapes, sizes and colours. (It was quite fascinating to see that the tomato seeds were blue and the poppy seeds were really tiny.)
She also wrote the name of the plants on a wooden stick so we’ll know later on which sprout is which plant.
E. made holes in the dirt with her index finger and dropped the seeds, next covered them with some more dirt. When we finished with all of them she watered them lightly.
E. enjoyed it some much and was so excited about the planting that she was staring at the plant nursery nearly all afternoon. She was talking to them and wanted to water them more. This gave us an opportunity to talk about that giving the plant too much water or sunshine does no good.
The next day our radish and gurkin sprouted and E. saw a gurkin loop in the dirt. She started to call them Loopy and ran to find her Ikea plush gurkin/cucumber.
After a few days I offered her to draw what happens to the plant in a plant diary. She wanted to draw only the radish and the gurkin although every seed had started to sprout by this time. She measured them and drew how they changed size and colour, how they grew.
The next phase was to put them into bigger pots. Unfortunately we waited too long and planted the seeds too close to each other so we had a hard time to separate them. It might happen that they won’t survive as both the roots and the stems were rather weak. The radishes went to the balcony in a long pot, the gurkins were planted into bigger round pots with 2 wooden sticks and a string between them to provide support for the future vines.
Still E. is talking to them kindly and taking care of them with great care. Whoever comes to us has to have a look at the plants. Her plant diary is coming along really nicely. Soon we need to replace the other plants into bigger pots (we ran out of soil).
Stay tuned, there’s more to come, hopefully you can see beautiful flowers and tasty veggies.
*I found 2 ways of writing gurkin/gherkin. The latter is more common but I used the first version in this post. When I asked E. if she could spell it, she spellt it gurkin 🙂
There hasn’t been much sunlight to catch this Easter but I’m hopeful that soon we can enjoy a little bit of sunshine after this long, gloomy and really cold winter.
What you need:
- contact paper (here in Hungary the best is the self-adhesive cover for school books)
- colour paper of your choice
- small items like paper strips, flower petals, paper cut-outs etc (I used tiny bunnies, flowers, hearts etc. having bought from Flying Tiger Shop)
- cut out an egg-shaped frame and make frames out of your coloured paper
- cut out a piece of contact paper and peel off its cover
- place it in front of you sticky side up and put the egg-shaped frame on it. Cut it along the frame
- place the tiny decorative elements on a tray or in little cups in front of your child together with the sticky egg
Your child will make patterns and decoration on the sticky egg.
When the artwork is finished you place another layer of contact paper on it (sticky side down) to seal it off.
Fix it in the window and wait for the sun to shine. Enjoy the beautiful colours and shapes.
We did this activity with E.&L.’s Godparents and their kids. They all loved it and made fantastically decorative eggs.
This activity can be done not only with egg shapes but flower shaped frame too. Even if you are not very talented at drawing the easiest way to make a flower frame is to draw it. Have fun and enjoy the sunshine.
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.
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.
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).
After shopping at the market I gave her the real vegetables. She was fascinated to see, touch and even smell them.
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.
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.
Colour coding: E.’s favourite, L.’s favourite, Both loved it
E (5y 10m)
Travels of Dr. Dolittle
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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.
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.
I cooked and she played in the kitchen, sometimes I joined in too. Everybody was happy.
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.)
She 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 😉