Baby Days for L.

While E. was having fun in her summer camp at our Helen Doron School, Baby L. took part in her very first Baby Days. There are 6 days this year (3 + 2 day within 2 weeks) but we could go to only 5. The days are organised around topics and the teaching materials are made up of HD (Helen Doron) course material and the teacher’s own ideas.

Day 1 – Vehicles
There were a great variety of vehicles during our 45 min lesson:

car, bus, plane, helicopter, police car, sailing boat, paddle boat, bicycle, train, submarine (!) backhoe (wow), ambulance, canoe and some I forgot…

I found it a little too many for such small kids, but they didn’t mind at all, what’s more ever since the lesson L. is pointing at every vehicle and says: “auto” (car) or shows the sign of the train. On the way home she wanted to get on the bus. So I can say she was captivated with vehicles.

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There were plenty of fun activities:
-what’s missing
-match the vehicle to the place it belongs (bus-road, train-tracks, ambulance-hospital, backhoe-building site etc.)
-drive a car yourself
-drive your car on the road (road carpet and many matchboxes)
-what’s in my bag? (pulling out a lot of toy vehicles)
-ship in the water
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-make the frog sit in the vehicle
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-fit in the vehicle in the wooden puzzle
-place your vehicle in the city
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And of course, bubble blowing and dancing couldn’t have been left out.

Day 2 – Fruits, colours (painting)

Again an action packed day with fruits and colours.

Pulling things out of a bag or a hat is always fun for little hands.

Putting the the fruit on the right colours was a challenge for everyone.
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A big tray of fruit to tastes. An array of colours. L. was attracted to the banana slices only. What a pity!
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Painting is a messy business with such tiny kids. But our teacher took the risk and it was real entertainment for the little ones.
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Day 3 – Animals

There was quite a lot of revision at the beginning of the lesson: colours, fruits and vehicles. The best revision game was when different fruits were stuck on the IKEA peg and hammer toy. Kids needed to choose a fruit and hammer it, naturally with the help of an adult. But the main focus for today was animals, mainly forest animals.
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We started with some well-known animal flashcards (dog, frog, kangaroo, cat etc.) then Z., our teacher, introduced the new ones (owl, raccoon, bear, fox, deer) together with some plants (mushroom, flower, tree). The bingo card was acute way to practice them but L. was more interested in the bead manipulatives.

Next, we had a little colour revisions with mushrooms, then we got some really colourful, fluffy and thick pipe cleaners to tickle different body parts.

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Some more matching of rabbits and foxes and the Goodbye song started… too soon.

Day 4 – Family
There was a change in the teacher (our teacher was taking a break) so the lesson was little different but still fun. The focus was on revision rather than the main topic: family members.
The following activities took place:

  • puzzles with colours and fruit/veggies
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  • pulling and identifying soft fruit and veggies from a hat
  • sorting vehicles according to their colours
  • stamping on coloured paper
  • swinging with family members
  • adding the missing family members to the right family
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Of course, there were a lot of singing and dancing as usual. Our little group mates changed a bit but L. didn’t mind it the least bit. It’s true that she was a little more interested in other things, like pillows and cars she’d found than some of the activities.

Day 5 – Feelings (and body parts on the face)
On our last day we had plenty of funny, smiley and sad faces to L.’s great delight. There was very little revision, which we did not mind at all.
We started with the element of surprise 🙂

Our teacher, Sz., pulled out some surprising objects from a bag. A ball that could be extended, a plush hammer that said “bang” when kids hit with it, a cat that said miaow, a singing monkey, a very bouncy ball, 2 surprise eggs and a jack-in the box kinda cow. All the children’s jaws dropped open.

Next, we got some paper plate faces the mouth of which could be turned round showing either a happy or a sad face. Our teacher used glad and unhappy instead of saying happy or sad.

A mirror appeared and the kids could look at themselves, which they really enjoyed. They could place kissy lips or a moustache in front of their mouths. They didn’t really want to, though. Two eyebrows could be drawn on kids’ forehead, whoever wanted. L. got some heat rash on her face so we rather stayed away from the face-paint.

The following game was a puzzle made out of paper plate. Everybody got a different emotion.
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Then came the funniest part. Sticking eyes, nose, lips, moustache, ears, hair, on a head shaped image. We really had fun making funny faces. I made one sleeping face as L. is fascinated by a sleeping face.
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After that a little counting. Counters (beads) needed to be places on the jumping monkeys.

Some revision of family members. Kids placed the missing animal from the given family sheet.

We finished the session with some grapes tasting and black pepper smelling (these two are connected to a HD song that we, of course, sang afterwards). I wasn’t very happy with this activity. The grapes were not cut in half and after sniffing into black pepper L. kept on sneezing. Just for your information, no kids were harmed during our session 😉

We’ve had lots of fun nicely spread throughout 2 weeks. If you have a chance to try baby days at a HD school I encourage you to give it a try.

New book routine – July

Another month has passed and we’ve been reading on. Here are the books that we’ve covered in July. I’m trying to take age groups into consideration when organising these book posts.
Most of the time we read 3-5 books at an occasion. Both kids listen to the stories, though E. spends the after-dinner reading sessions playing 30 mins on the tablet instead.

If you want to read more about our new book reading routine click on the link.

(Colour codes: E.’s favourite and L.’s favourite and the books they both LOVE)

So here come books for my 18 months old:

  1. Spot bakes a cake by Eric Hill
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    Last months Spot goes to the circus was a great hit so I chose more Spot books from our secret stash. Still, L. tries to tear off the flaps, although less frequently.
  2. Where’s Spot by Eric Hill
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    A library book. Yes, in a Hungarian children library we found quite a few English books for kids. I’m convinced it’s due to the Mums’ English Club that takes place there.
  3. Spot goes to the farm by Eric Hill
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  4. Zoe and Beans – We’re not scared by Chloe and Mick Inkpen
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    Both Zoe and Beans  books are from the library.
  5. Zoe and Beans – Hello, ladybird by Chloe and Mick Inkpen
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    There’s a squeaky ball in the story. Whenever L. touches the squeaky ball with her finger E. squeaks a squeaky toy behind her back. We buzz when we find the ladybird on every page. It’s fuuuuun!
  6. My Granny (Peppa pig)
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    The least favourite. Neither of my children is a great fun. E. had a period around the age of 2 when she liked it. Mainly she asked for the Bubbles video.
  7. Baby does by Elenor Taylor
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    Very simple board book with a few words. Still, we can talk a lot about the pictures, like identifying toys, or describing action in more details.
  8. Caterpilar’s wish by Mary Murphy
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    A very simple and cute story about the metamorphosis of a butterfly.

For my 5-year-old:

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  1. Doctor Duck (Songbirds – Phonics) by Julia Donaldson
    9780198388159
    Both of my kids enjoy this first reader book. E. can follow the easy text while I’m reading it. Tough I think it’s way too easy for her. L. likes when we sign “hot” and “sick”.
  2. This is the bear and the bad little girl by Sarah Heyes
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    I can’t say that this book has become E.’s favourite. We’d read This is the bear and E. seemed to remember but when we started to talk about how the bear feels when the bad little girl steals him, she wasn’t that happy about it.
  3. Our Baby by Tony Bradman and Lynn Breeze
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    We don’t normally compare our kids but E. really enjoyed to see the loads of things described in the book that her baby sister can’t do but she can. Baby L. was fascinated by the crying baby at the end, and when the big brother/sister makes the baby laugh.
  4. The fish who could wish by John Bush and Korky Paul
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    A strange story about a fish who wished for strange things. Illustrations are funny too, but the kids seem to find it funny.
  5.  Fidgety Fish by Ruth Galloway
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    E. got this book for her birthda. The vocabulary used in the book is quite varied and fun.
  6. Ten Shiny Snails by Ruth Galloway
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    A really nice board book for smaller children (age 3+ I would say) but E. likes counting and L. loves snails so I thought it’s a nice combination. While counting backwards through the story the snails disappear, then at the end there’s a big pop-up page where all the 10 snails gather around a flowerpot.
  7. Wriggle and roar (poems) by Julia Donaldson
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    Lovely short poems with funny illustrations. E. liked some of the poems but  they’re not her favourites. I read it to her when L. wasn’t around because she would be interested at all. I loved this book.
  8. Life Cycles: Ocean by Sean Callery
    9780753468944
    The list wouldn’t be OUR book list with a special interest, ocean book. E. was amazed by the food web/chain depicted on the last page. A very informative book with beautiful pictures. I’ve already ordered another book of this series: Grassland.

One extra: Noisy peekaboo Splash Splash! (DK)

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Once we had an especially wonderful day (among the many horrible, whiny days when nothing seems to work out) I presented them this noisy book as a special gift for behaving like little angels all day. They both LOVE it. It’s noisy, there are flaps to peep behind, it’s about bath-time. There are quite a lot in this series too.

I hope you’ve found some good books on the list above that can entertain your little one(s).
What are you reading now? Let me know in the comment section.

A new routine with books

Books have always been a central part of our language quest, since the girls’ birth. As they grow their thirst for books are thriving (Good for me). I “just” need to get the right books for their age and interest. English books are rather pricey and hard to get second-hand English books in Hungary at a reasonable price, though. (Bad for me). In this post I’d like to write about when and how we spend time with books.

The book titled Maximize your child bilingual ability by Adam Beck has confirmed my belief in reading books as No. 1 importance in acquiring a minority language (in our case English).

My husband has a love for books just like me. Some people might feel as if they were in a library on stepping into our living-room: bookcases with many many rows of shelves filled with books all along the wall.

We’ve been reading a lot of books at bedtime, or after lunch as the beginning of quiet time. Or any time E. asked for it and we had time for it.)

Last year I found a great source of cheap (well, affordable to be more precise) second-hand books on facebook. (It’s a closed group called Kadosarok. The language of discussion is Hungarian, mind you.)

I missed a system of taking books into our hands so I’ve built up the following routine:

Whenever we sit down to eat with the kids (about 4-5 times a day counting snack times too) we read at least one baby book for little L. and one big girl book for E. Sometimes we just read 2 books but at other times when we have more time and the kids are in the mood 4-6 books. Every week I add 2 new books to the after-eating book sessions and the girls choose whichever they want me to read them out.

In the first month (May 2017) the following books have been read several times:

(Colour codes: E.’s favourite and L.’s favourite and the books they both LOVE)

  • One mole digging a hole by Julia Donaldson61r+ObpoEeL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_
  • The not so perfect baby by Nicola Baxterthe-not-so-perfect-baby.jpg
  • Tickle, Tickle by Helen Oxenbury1296603
  • Is this your nose?6197TnIV9sL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
  • Little Bo-Peep (a peep-through nursery rhyme – Ladybird)9781844225620-uk.jpg
  • Today is Monday by Eric Carl514P2SZf+hL.jpg
  • Sometimes I feel sunny by Gillian Shields and Georgie Birkett61uSdXio1cL.jpg
  • Toddler touch Bedtime (Ladybird)9781409312864_18

 

I’ve been a little lazier in June (L. always wants to read her 2-3 favourite books, E. wants to read longer stories that we’ve had no time for at the table, plus we were on holiday and at a chess camp so time was scarce).

I’ve added only 3 new books to the pile:

  • Spot Goes to the Circus by Eric Hill9780140552973-us-300.jpg
  • Round and Round the Garden (Amazing baby touch-and-feel board book9781904513926
  • Incy Wincy Spider (Igloo books)9781784401733_a

None of these books has become a favourite. Little L. likes pushing the button on the Incy Wincy book, though. As the song starts she begins to dance.

I’ll try to come back monthly or bimonthly on our book updates.

Baby L. is 18 months old

Oh, time is flying… my second baby is 1 and a half years old. In the morning she climbs down (legs first!) our double bed and in her sleeping bag carefully tiptoes  to her big sister’s room. She dashes to her bed and calls her name while patting her head. The sweetest little soul…

The description above tells you everything about Baby L.’s character. She’s loving, caring, getting more and more independent and full of energy. At the same time she is overemotional, she’s already showed some signs of her terrible 2 getting closer and closer.
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The best 10 things she can do:
1. eat with a spoon
2. drink from a cup, or with a straw
3. climb up on almost anything
4. put on a hat
5. wipe her mouth with a napkin
6. wave goodbye
7. blow a kiss
8. hug
9. pour water from one cup to the other
10. flip through a book

Favourite food: pasta, soups, sesame fish, fruity yogurt

Favourite drink: breast milk, almond drink, fruit tea

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Favourite activities:
1. walking around the flat and unpacking everything
2. carrying around my hand bags and pack ANYTHING in them
3. dancing
4. taking the coins, notes and cards out of my purse (or Daddy’s wallet)
5. rearranging her and her sister’s shoes
6. pushing the timer’s buttons on the oven
7. starting the dishwasher or the washing machine

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Favourite toys:
1. things with noisy buttons on
2. markers
3. swing

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Favourite books:
1. One mole digging a hole by Julia Donaldson
2. Tickle, tickle by Helen Oxenbury
3. Sometimes I feel sunny by Gillian Shields

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In the last 2 months she’s started to say a lot of new words both in English and Hungarian. She does babble a lot in her own baby language, but she says words that are REALLY important for her:

Hungarian words

hinta-palinta (swing)
Apa (Daddy)
tészta (pasta)
inni (drink)
pok (sic) (spider)
temtud (nem tudom= I don’t know)
ezt (this)
egy (one)
ketto (two)
hám (három=three)
mog (a mixture or the Hungarian “még” and the English “more”)
baba (baby or doll)
auto (car)
sakk (chess)

English words:

Mommy
pasta
out
more
book
wet (first it sounded more like “what”)
water
up
down
star
aer(o)plane
moon
eye
chin-chin (chin)
no-no (nose)
baby
keys
white
tickle-tickle

And more is to come…

More Jump for (Jo)E(y)

Unfortunately, our native nanny’s disappeared completely so I decided to look for another. In vain. I haven’t been able to find anyone. This is the reason why I decided to go back to a Helen Doron course. E. needs a regular input and, although it’s not a native input, at the moment this is the best option we have.

In April 2017, she started the More Jump with Joey course, which she enjoys to a great extent.

Here are the details of the course:
(Here I have to emphasise that I’m NOT in any business relations with the school so this blog post is not an ad. This is only my personal experience.)

Timing:

Once a week (though Cds have to be listened to twice a day, which, honestly, we don’t do. We watch the videos once or twice a week)

School:
(Nyugati téri Helen Doron English Language School – the link takes you their facebook page)

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entrance

 

The Shcool looks of high standard. There’s a little playroom right by the entrance where children or siblings can play while waiting for the lesson to start. They can also cool off here after the lesson.

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playroom
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waiting area

There are 2 rooms (a bigger and a smaller) for the lessons. They’re really well-equipped with teaching materials, games and toys that help playful learning. There’s always some kind of refreshment (lemonade, tea etc.) for anybody who visits the school. The walls are nicely decorated with colourful English stuff, like motivational quotes, kids’ drawings, course materials and posters. It’s colourful and engaging (a little TOO engaging for my E. who could study these posters for hours if I let her :D)

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I have to mention here that the school created a nest with all the “chicks” (i.e. children) in it and on the surrounding branches. With this project the school won NatGeo subscription. I can’t wait to read it in the waiting area.

Teacher:

Well, we’ve known Zs. since the start of our Helen Doron Early English adventure. She was the one who we started with and after a little break we start again with. She loves kids, she’s cheerful and dedicated to teaching kids, gives motivating and versatile lessons during which all senses of the kids are involved. Kids have fun in English and strictly in English with her. What else could I ask for? (Perhaps a native nanny, pleeeeease)

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Zs. with Ella Doron

 

We’re very lucky with our HD teachers. Z., Baby Sis’s teacher, is very similar to Zs. (not just their initials 😉 ) Z. teaches with the same techniques, devotion and love for little children just as Zs. The “WOW” factor is always present at their lessons.

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Z & Zs

Group:

The maximum size of the group is 8, but they are just 7. Five girls and two boys. This proportion is absolutely great for E. as she is the phase of not fancying boys. (Oh, my… it’ll change too soon…) All the kids are around her age (5+). The kids in E.’s group have been going to HD lesson for quite a while. Scarcely do they speak Hungarian among themselves.

Teaching material:

First reaction: finally a useful backpack. Seriously, backpacks in the earlier packages were totally useless.

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The teaching material targets children aged 7-9. The More Jump with Joey package contains 4 workbooks (sorry! MAGICAL workbooks). During this very course they are covering 1 workbook within 3 months’ time. Animated videos are available on the DVD. 4 Cds are also included in the package (not seen in the pic above) with the stories and conversations. I wish there would be a Cd with the songs only so we could listen to them in the car.

Above I’ve highlighted the magical workbooks. There’s a special app that can be downloaded via Google Play Store to your android phone or tablet (via iTunes for Apple devices). If you place your device over the workbook pages signed with the magic wand the characters come to life.
Watch a video about this so-called augmented reality that makes real fun for the kids to (re)do the activities.

As for the content, there’s a lot of revision of the earlier materials, which are expanded during the course (songs like Hey diddle, diddle, or vocabulary of food and furniture etc). The stories have a lot of references of traditional English rhymes, songs and stories. Kangi, the kangaroo mother is a trouble-shooter, who comes whenever the kids are in trouble or need a mediator in conflicts. Just like the previous courses, More Jump with Joey includes plenty of other real life skills apart from learning the English language, such as co-operation and team work, expressing and handling feelings, problem solving etc.

The only thing I miss is that I myself cannot be there at the lessons. I play quite a lot with the magic wand and watch the videos with E.  whenever I have the time but the lessons are full of enjoyable games and activities. Fortunately, Baby L. still needs me at her lessons where I can have some fun, too 😀