Summer Poster

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.

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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.)

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Then the sticking started.

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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.

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Little L. had difficulty gluing the smaller pictures so I helped her a bit. And after a while she lost interest.

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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.

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Jump&Fun Camp with Little L

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)

Day 1

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Day 2

After arrival the kids had breakfast and a Jump&Fun session with lots of English songs, games and moving around.

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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.)

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The ones who got tired could rest on the blankets and play Dobble or other quiet games.

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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.

Day 3

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Trace-your-hand animals

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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).

Playground time

Relay races in the park

Pizza for lunch

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Fireworks painting

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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.

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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:

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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!

 

 

Pin the heart

E. found a small box of thumb pins before Valentine’s Day and went back to it time and time again. She was asking how we use them and what they are for. So I decided to put together an activity in which she can use thumb pins and also connected to the upcoming Valentine’s Day.

 

I printed a do-a dot heart from the net and picked one our IKEA cork trivet. I coloured the dots so it would be more fun to use the right colour thumb pins.

While doing the pinning you can revise the colours and learn the word “cork” itself.

When finished she put more pins in the middle. The next day she pulled them all out and packed them away.

This activity helped her muscles strengthen in her hands as well. We’ll do more of this kind of activity as E. loved it and it’s a great pre-writing task. (We can revise shapes or have a shamrock to pin for St. Patrick’s Day etc.)

Baking and reading (with recipe)

We’ve been cooking and baking with E. a lot ever since she could sit on the kitchen counter safely. (Check out my housework fun or Christmas gingerbread baking blog posts on our cokking adventures)

This week one day there was one of the rare occasions that L. (E.’s baby sister) was not sleeping in a sling on me so I managed to put her down and I could prepare a baking activity for E. while she was at the nursery.

As E. is familiar with the alphabet (check out this post on the alphabet activities and other ABC posts) and quite a lot of sight words (I haven’t written about it separately but I should) and E. has been handling picture and story books since she was born, it is no problem for her to recognise/read certain words.

I wanted to expand her knowledge of recognising words in a fun way.

Here is our oat and pumpkin cookie baking and reading fun:

I prepared everything beforehand (maybe next time it’ll be a measuring activity, when SHE can prepare all the ingredients).

Whoops… the R is missing from “butter” – sorry about the poor photo

Ingredients:

  • 150 g oat flakes
  • 100 g flour (I used oat and wholemeal flour mixed)
  • 100 g sugar (I use Xylitol)
  • 100 g butter or margarine
  • 120 g pumpkin purée (pre-baked)
  • 1 teaspoonful of baking powder
  • 1 egg

    optional: 

  • 5 g dried fruit of any kind (I use cranberries and raisins but you can add chocolate chips too)
  • vanilla extract
I made little cards for her to read and I placed them in front of each bowl. The twist was I mixed them up before she started the activity. 
First, she needed to swap the cards around to place them in front of the right bowl.

After that she cracked the egg.

Then the mixing could start. She added everything in a big bowl. I asked her to report me what she was doing as in a cooking show.
– I’m putting the flour in.
– Now comes the butter.

After all this, I made little balls out of the mixture (she doesn’t like to dirty her hands) and placed them on a tray covered with baking paper. Finally, I managed to convince her to flatten the balls with her fingers and palm.

It was a lovely treat after dinner time and we practised a lot of English. (Unfortunately the cookies were gone so quickly I couldn’t take a photo of them)

Do you cook or bake with your little one(s)? Let me know what in the comments.

Valentine’s Day sensory bin

Last year we didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day but used the opportunity to do a lot of fun crafts and activities with the symbols of Valentine’s day, like hearts, candies, chocolates etc.

This year I’ve come up with a sensory bin idea for this occasion.

What I used:

  • one big container (IKEA)
  • coloured rice – red, purple, and white (see how to make it below)
  • hearts, candies, feather, beads (whatever you have) to search for in the bin hidden in the rice
  • cups and bowls
  • tools like ladle, tongs, tweezers (I couldn’t find the tweezers 😦 )
How I coloured the rice:
You need:
  • a zip lock bag (IKEA)
  • 2 cups of rice (any kind of white rice will do)
  • food colouring (liquid type is better than the gel)
  • a bit of alcohol (optional)
How to do it:
Put 2 cups of rice in the zip lock bag, add 1 teaspoonful of red (or any other colour) food colouring and half a teaspoonful of alcohol. The latter is optional. It helps to get brighter colours plus your rice will last long if not forever…
Now give it a shake until the colour is everywhere on the rice. (I didn’t but you can do it with your child. It must be fun for them to see how the rice changes colour)
I did the same with the purple rice. As I didn’t have purple food colouring I mixed it out of red and blue beforehand.
I dried the rice on baking paper to make sure it won’t stain my hand and to get rid of the smell of alcohol.
I put the rice in the container (half red, half purple – my daughter did the mixing) and I also provided some white rice for extra fun.

What I put in the bin:

  1.  wooden muffin
  2. purple butterfly beads
  3. sparkly candies (cut out of a foam sheet but you can add real candy, too)
  4. red jingle bells
  5. wooden hearts
  6. pegs with hearts on
  7. purple pompoms
  8. pink flower-shaped beads
  9.  red feathers
  10. felt hearts
I hid them in the rice as much as I could.
Extras: I cut out 6 hearts and wrote the letters of my daughter’s name on them. I also put them in the bin so she can make her name when she finds them. (The easiest way to make the foam hearts is to use a heart-shaped cookie cutter. I pressed it on the foam sheet and cut along the print it made.)

E. was pretty excited about the bin as soon as she saw it.

She poured in the extra white rice.

She happily used the ladle and the tongs.

She used the bowls to put in whatever she found. (It was interesting to see that she separated them like hearts, round things like pompoms, bells, and beads all by herself)

She also enjoyed mixing the coloured rice with her hands.

After she’d found and taken out everything she asked Daddy to find what she’d hidden. Then they took turns and did the same again and again.

The next day I gave her 2 sheets with the objects she can find in the bin on the top and she selected them in each column. We did a little counting as well.

On the second day I also added the letter of “I LOVE YOU”
With a little help she could put it together.

She’s been playing with it ever since.
-Mommy, we can play with it on the floor, too – she said and continued down there.

TWO other activities to do with the rice:

  1. write with fingers
  2. I spy bottle

What are these? Come back later to check them out. I’ll show them to you in another post.