Paw Patrol Activity Pack for Toddlers

The girls are still crazy about Paw Patrol and I wanted to make some activities for my 2-and-a half-year old, because the earlier Paw Patrol activity that E. got for her 4th birthday is too challenging for her. So here (at the end of this post) you can download your free copy of the activities.

A Sunday morning when we were all free, I gave Little L.  (2,5) the activity pack and she got really excited. She wanted to open all the activities but I decided to hand them one by one instead to avoid mixing up and confusion.

Of course, Big Sister (6) joined in. She also finds these games fun although these tasks were too easy for her.

The first game Little L. picked was roll and count. I wasn’t sure what the counter should be as Little L. is often more fascinated by the counter than the activity itself. Finally, I picked some colourful buttons, but the counters can be anything, from beans to beads, or even little bone shaped manipulatives if you find them. (I couldn’t get them).

Then Little L. chose the puzzles. Her favourite character is Everest so she put her  together first.

Then came the others. She was commenting like: – This is Rubble. Rubble is on the double. etc. (Of course, when I wanted to record it she didn’t say a thing.)

The third activity was size sorting. What did she start with? Yes, with Everest. Her interest lasted up to 5 characters. Good job, Love!

DSC03907

She also wanted to try the pre-writing sheets. She was a pro at it. I was really amazed how well she could do it. Maybe I should have made more challenging pre-writing pages for her.

DSC03975DSC03977

She also enjoyed the card matching activity. She’s not really into memory games but the time will come and then I’ll cut up the board part too.

DSC03981
“Rocky”

Finally came the cutting practice. She LOVES cutting (I remember the time when E was in this phase and she was cutting all day. Somehow I have a deja vu feeling).

DSC04001

After all this she got tired and lost interest, so we stopped playing with the pack. At another time we’ll do the colouring sheets and the patterning task. I think she had lots of fun. It’s enough to have a look at her sweet face, not to mention how much she chattered during the activities.

What we left out is also fun: colouring the pups and the patterning activity. (The reason why she didn’t choose these ones at the beginning is that she doesn’t like them. Colouring is not her favourite activity (E. got to like colouring around the age of 4-4.5) and patterning is a little too difficult for her.

Here you can download your free copy of Paw Patrol Activity Pack for Toddlers. Have as much fun as we had.

Advertisements

Bye-bye N!

Again the time has come to say good-bye to our 5th, and one of the best nannies we’ve had so far. Our hearts sink but we are lucky to have met her and had her around for such a long time.

We met N, our British nanny, in October 2017 and she stayed with us until the end of June this year. With this length of stay she’s the silver medalist among our nannies (just kidding). However, to be honest, she is the first real nanny to Little L.

DSC03743

As usual the beginning went a bit difficult; it took more time for E to warm up with her, but after a few weeks she was playing happily with N. Little L was more open from the very beginning and wanted to play with N whenever she was around (even when it was E’s session.)

She came 3 times a week: a session with E only, a session with Little L, and a double session with both girls (theoretically it would have been 1 hour for L and 90 minutes for E but towards the end Little L. wanted to play with them too and it was hard for me to keep her away. Though E needed her time with N as they played more “big-girl” games together.)

We had lots of fun with N, who was always in, no matter how crazy ideas the girls had.

L loved playing cars, trains, play dough, football, catch and boom monster, a game the girls made up with N. But they also drew, painted, read books together. L also enjoyed when we went to the playground together with N.

E took N to the land of her imagination i.e. “Waterland”, or forever and ever talked about chemical elements or birds to her and she didn’t seem to get bored with it. What’s more, she came up with great activities within E.’s favourite topics.

The girls loved when N could stay for dinner, once she even had to watch a Paw Patrol episode with them and few time N supervised the girls during their bath-time.

On her last day we had dinner together again one last time, and handed her a memory book that E and L had prepared for her.

DSC03822_

I suppose she really liked it 🙂

We stuck pictures in, E. drew the three of them

DSC03752

DSC03775_

and of course, anglers; L drew fire engines, trees and cars.

DSC03754
Ice cream time and an angler fishing
DSC03776_
The red blob is the tree top, the blue lines is a police car by L

E. noted down all the fantastic memories we had together with N and we also wrote a little poem about the great times.

DSC03782_

DSC03778.JPG
No memory book without stickers!

N also gave lovely good-bye presents to the girls: their adventures in rhymes and with funny pictures, E. got a Harry Potter book, L. was gifted with a special jeep, and they also had many boom monsters 🙂 (that E. put on the end of her coloured pencils)

DSC03837

20180720_170858
boom monsters
20180720_170835
the jeep

Bye for now N! We were really glad to have you around and although you’ve left you’ll stay with us for good. Thanks for everything!

20180627_113759

 

Mix it up!

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 an interactive book about colours and colour mixing.

CHR190__58228.1415825049.450.800.jpg

There are several activities online based on the book. You can check them out on pinterest, but I decided to make our own. A simple but fun activity that my 2 and a half year old could do easily and with joy. (You can download your free copy at the end of this blog post.)

Before starting the worksheet, they were just painting for fun in their journals. (We put a piece of cardboard under the page so the paint doesn’t bleed through.)

DSC03730

Next, I gave them the Mix it up! copy for each of them. First, they painted the primary colours, blue, red and yellow.

DSC03733

Then came the mixing. Little L. needed help with washing the colours out of her paint brush, but she wanted to do it all by herself.

DSC03736

E. painted and mixed the colour like  a pro.

In the meantime our native nanny, N. arrived and joined in. They wanted to paint some more so everyone got a sheet of paper and free painting continued.

DSC03743

Little L. got tired of the limitation of paint brushes and she started to use her fingers. She used more water than paint. In the end she decided to throw her last work of art into the bin. (lucky I could save the others.)

The difficult part came: cleaning up. The girls could choose what to clean up at the end. E. chose to wash the paintbrushes out, L. helped me put away the paint and clean the table.

Now here you can download your free copy of our mixing activity.

I can highly recommend both the book and the painting activity. Have fun!

 

 

Books we read in May

The girls had their own favourites this month. E. fell in love with Dr. Seuss (again) and L. rediscovered Spot’s stories. Here comes this month’s list with short reviews.

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

E. (6)

My name is not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry

51pwAUqkYtL.jpg

This is a book about a little girl who turns herself into famous and great women throughout history, from Rosa Parks to Marie Curie. She is brave, great, clever and loveable.

Nine Ducks Nine by Sarah Hayes

9780763612849_H1

It’s a witty book about ducks teaching a fox a lesson, directing him to fall into the river in a tricky way.

The peace book by Todd Parr

71SxYxpjq9L

At first I though E. will love this book, but finally Little L. asked me to read it many times. The illustrations are really simple and very colourful. The idea of peace is really nicely explained in a simple way. There’s a lot to talk about on the basis of the book even with older children. Mommy,’s favourite too.

Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss

206962

Both kids enjoyed this book, like all Dr. Seuss’ books. Surprisingly, Little L. was patient enough to listen to it all the way through. E. likes reading it by herself. Again a lot of rhyming pairs, funny and eye-catching illustration. A great classic.

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

9780553513363

This month this book was E.’s favourite. She loves the funny sounds, the more and more complicated story and structures, word games, the rhymes plus the funny and unexpected ending. It’s more difficult to read for her because the spelling is challenging and the words sound similar to each other. Still, she read it out loud few times.

Little Red Riding Hood (Usborne Young Reader)

7f0cd7aded2f7126ee70161391f5735b174b1a23

My daughter is still not a big fan of classic fairy tales. We read it 2-3 times but she wasn’t much impressed.

Chicken Licken (First readers)

15950397621

Repeating all the names of the animals throughout the story many, many time makes even adult readers smile.

L. (2y 5m)

Tractors (DK)

51uZaN2Wa-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Surprisingly the tractor shaped book wasn’t a big hit with Little L although there are lots of big pictures of tractors and their parts and what they do on the farm.

The very noisy night by Diana Hendry

81IDV57g+AL

Little L was a little afraid of this book I guess. But E. enjoyed it, mainly the illustrations. Her favourite picture is whan Little Mouse goes into Big Mouse’s bed finally and Big Mouse has hardly any room left in bed. Again there are a lot of things to talk about in this book. The illustrations are really detailed and I can highly recommend this book if your little one is scared of the noises at night.

Little Mole’s adventure from Spring to Winter

7479693617c1db4bdf262c8546c19010_20l

This was E’. favourite book when she was about L.’s age. Both in English and in Hungarian (I have to emphasize here for my Hungarian fellow moms that Varró Dániel’s translation is absolutely fantastic). However, Little L. was unimpressed. E. was still fascinated by it, not to mention the fact that Daddy still knows some parts by heart.

Spot’s garden by Eric Hill

8417196

Though it isn’t a lift-the-flap book, Little L. really enjoyed accompanying Spot through planting his own garden. Probably our planting sessions had a great effect on her, what’s more she loves all the spring and planting songs.

Spot says goodnight by Eric Hill

3327441

A must-have bedtime story. Simple pictures, simple story, a lot of repetition. What else do we need to help the language sink in.

What can you see Spot? by Eric Hill

13542716

Spot goes and explores his surroundings. The illustrations serve a great basis to talk about animals, plants, parks and what we can see in different places. When we go out for a walk we imitate that we are Spot and look for thins that he also sees in this book.

Show me your Smile! A visit to the dentist by Christine Ricci

51bvtT78wDL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

As far as I could judge this book is NOT for a 2-and-a-half-year old, but L. fell in love with it and she’s been asking me to read it 3-4 time a week. My guess why she likes it so much is that it’s interactive. Dora asks her questions and she answers them, She needs to find the X-ray photo of her teeth and the crayons she wants to colour with. So she feels she is part of the story. Though I’m not sure how much she understands it.

FAQ

In the last couple of weeks I have bumped into a lot of mums who asked me similar questions about raising our daughter bilingual in a totally monolingual environment. So I collected a bunch of questions and my answers to them with some links from earlier blog posts:

  1. Do you speak to her English only?

No, I don’t. I can’t do that. My mother tongue is my mother tongue, no matter how high my level of English is. (High level of language command is relative. I always feel my English is deteriorating.)

I assigned certain times to speak English. When E. was a baby we had a timetable which meant that we used a little bit more English than Hungarian as she spent loads of time with me. Then we needed to change our schedule, still we had 50-50 % balanced language usage. (When she was around 2). Nowadays, (she’s almost 3) we are in trouble with the balance between the two languages as we do not spend so much time together therefore there is less English in her life. BUT! Her English basis is so strong that she asks for changing languages when she feels she misses one of them (it’s usually English)

Even today, whenever there are just the two of us she says: – Uh-uh, Mommy. We need to change into English. We are just two.
or
– I’ve already changed into English, because there is only Mommy and I.

 

  • When do you speak English to her and when Hungarian?

    There are many methods you can follow. What I use is a special one: I call it the timetable method. By now we don’t have a timetable any more. Whenever we can, we speak English, as the Hungarian input of the environment is too influencing.

  • When did you start talking to her in English?

    When we took her home from the hospital. At first, I was just singing songs and chanting rhymes to her in English. I wasn’t sure about what I was doing and it felt strange. Then I got some inspirations after having read some books and contacted some other moms in the same shoes. From the age of 6 months I’ve been talking to her in English just like in Hungarian.

  • Wasn’t she late with speech development?

    Not at all, although it would have been perfectly normal. She was about 1 year old when she could say 6-8 English words (and Hungarian ones too). Actually, her first word (bib) was in English. Of course, these words were fuzzy and not distinct for the untrained ears. But by the time she turned 18 months these words had become clear and a LOT more had been added to them. Not to mention, she started to build up 2-3 word sentences at that time too.

    I have to admit that the period between the age of 12 and 18 months was filled with more English sessions than Hungarian.

  • Doesn’t she mix the languages?

    She does! At first she didn’t, however, nowadays more and more. I’m not worried about it… okay… I am a little bit concerned, but I know if we keep up the balance between the languages she’ll have all the language tools in both languages to express herself. Most of the time she mixes Hungarian into her English because she doesn’t know a word or she can’t express something due to lacking a structure.

    Though it happens the other way round, too. She makes her grandparents puzzled when she asks for some stories with the telescope in it (mind you, pronounced it with a perfect British accent) or when she says she wants to play on the see-saw at the playground. Sometimes she names some bugs (bumblebees, wasps, ants) or plants (pansies, daffodils, shepherd’s-purse etc) she sees in the park in English. They can sort out this teeny-weeny language problem… for the time being.

  • What do you do when she mixes the languages?

    I keep on talking in the given language. I don’t change. And I do NOT advise you to let your child take the lead (although it is also an option.) I go on talking, let’s say, in English when she says some Hungarian words or sentences here and there. If I know she could say it in English I ask back: – What did you say? or – What’s that in English?

    If I am aware of the fact that she can’t express herself, I simply repeat in English what she said in Hungarian. Some sources suggest not to make your child repeat a word or sentence, yet sometimes I ask her to repeat just to reinforce we use English and help her fix a structure she cannot use (at all, or properly). Nonetheless, I’m not forcing it. Normally, she repeats expressions after me by herself. If she doesn’t want to, we move on.

    Also, you can pretend you do not understand what your child says, but in our case (we do not follow the One Parent One Language -OPOL-strategy; she can hear me talk both Hungarian and English) it wouldn’t work as my daughter knows that I understand and speak both. The other problem with this could be that your child can get frustrated if he or she can’t put an idea or a wish across.

  • What English activities/programmes can you take part in?

    We used to have a native British nanny for almost 2 years. I’m really grateful for her as she meant that I could have some free time (cooking, washing, ironing, shopping, cleaning etc.) while I knew English was still in focus in my daughter’s life. Now we are looking for a new nanny. If you happen to know someone in Budapest who would be interested I would appreciate it.

    I’ve organised a Mums’ English Club (MEC) in the library nearby, where mums gather with their little ones and chat in English while the kids play away. At the end of our sessions we sing some English songs for the kids. An afternoon session of MEC is badly needed but I haven’t had time to find a place where we could go free of charge.

    We’ve been taking part in the well-known Helen Doron School’s programme since E. was 10 months old. We are planning to leave it, but I’ll write about that in a later post.

    For almost a year we took part in a swimming course which was instructed both in English and Hungarian. We met there some non-Hungarian families who communicated mainly in English, so E. could hear during the swimming sessions that English is not just Mommy’s crazy language.

    We also visited Rhyme Time sessions (singing and playing in English) for a few times, but we do not go regularly.

  • Does Daddy speak English to her?

    He does. Daddy speaks a lot of languages, it’s no problem for him at all. What’s more, practising English regularly helps him improve his spoken skills as well. I suppose he also enjoys our English session;

    Again, at the beginning we did it differently. When Daddy arrived home from work we changed into Hungarian, but the whole day was in English. Nowadays, as I’m starting to work, E. is spending more time with the grandparents or she is in the nursery (not to mention that our native nanny, A. has left) we have been trying to fit in as many English sessions as we can.

    We have plenty of dinners, weekend programmes, playground visits, craft activities and bath times in English with Daddy. I’m very lucky, because my husband is very supportive concerning our bilingual project.

  • Can she say sentences?

    Haha. This has been the funniest question so far I’ve received. Sure she can. 🙂 Sometimes very complicated ones. I was really amazed when she said a passive sentence in the playground (– Look, Mommy, the other swing is taken) or when she talks to her soft toy using present perfect (– What have I told you?). One day she was replaying a Berry and Dolly episode (Gingerbread) that we watch in English.

    The following left her mouth: – I’m making gingerbread with the cookie cutter and then I’ll put it out in the winter (sic) to cold (sic). Magpie, (that is me) come and take it away.
    Later in the story: – Don’t take away that belongs to somebody else.

    Here is the episode.

    Not only her sentences but her vocabulary is also outstanding. I’m often surprised at how eloquent words she knows. The other day she called a pan saucepan. I don’t think I have ever used this word with herOr she can name different kinds of onions: leek, garlic, spring onion as well as varied expressions for the eating process: munch, chew, stuff your face, digest, feed, bite

     

  • How do you “teach” her (sic)?

    This is exactly how this question is asked most of the time.

    And the answer is : I do not teach her.

    What I do is to play with her in English just like in Hungarian. We do the daily routines in both languages. I try to prepare everyday and special activities for her which give us a chance to meet a lot of new situations:

    – experimenting,
    – prepping for holidays of the English-speaking world,
    – doing fun craft activities,
    cooking and baking
    doing housework together
    exploring nature
    reading books and singing a lot as well as watching videos

    These are just a few examples. In short, we LIVE our lives in 2 languages.

    +1. How shall WE start?

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started” – Mark Twain

So just start it.

If you want to get some ideas read through the blog… HAHA. Believe me, it’ll be much easier to find your own ways. But you can get some ideas here. (Feel free to search for keywords if you’re looking for something exact)

Start with some songs that you sing to your child while changing nappies or waking him/her up.

Search some videos online around a topic (cars, shapes, animals, numbers, planets etc.) that your child is interested in and watch them together. You can also explain what you see in the videos.

Learn some rhymes/songs with sign language and play with your munchkin.

Flashcards are almost always fascinating for children, but rather time-consuming to prepare your own home-made ones. On the other hand, our own flashcards are much more attractive to my daughter. You can find really good flashcards online, which you only need to print (and perhaps laminate).
If you don’t mind spending some money, you can buy some beautiful ones.

And I haven’t mentioned the endless opportunities that books offer to speak and practise a foreign language.

Again, these are some very basic ideas to start with your little one from an early age.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me either in the comments or via email. You can come and visit  my facebook page as well.

Enjoy!