Conker games

Whenever we go somewhere we MUST collect something. My pockets are full of stones, acorns, berries and conkers, just to mention a few. One day we visited Margaret-island (a small island on the River Danube, Budapest) and managed to collect tons of different fruit of various trees and bushes.

Rose hips, conkers, sycamore “rotors”, pine cones, acorns, London plane seed balls, wild pear, seed pods of China tree

 

So during E.’s nap time I put together this tray of all kinds of fruits and a magnifying glass. As soon as she discovered the tray she eagerly examined their texture, the surface and the inside of the fruit.

We collected a full bag of conkers and pine cones, half of which we took to E.’s kindergarten. The other half of cones we’ll use for decoration and Christmas ornaments (see a later post) and the conkers we’ve used to play games with.

Counting conkers
 
 

I put the conkers in a woven basket and placed the number cards on the table. E. needed to put the right number of conkers below the cards.

When we played this game we’d just returned home from the nursery and changed languages. You can hear in this video how she is mixing English and Hungarian, and also, me asking back “Sorry?” all the time in a silly way 😉

I’ve found a super-cute squirrel grid game on prekinders.com and although we didn’t have enough acorns or walnuts that squirrels love eating, we used our conkers as manipulatives for this game.

How does the game go?

E., Daddy and myself played so I printed 3 copies of the squirrel grid (of 20 squirrel) and put LOADS of conkers in a bowl. You’ll need a game die. Of course, the youngest starts the game, throws the game die and identifies the number on it. The player then needs to place the same number of conkers on the grid. We take turns and the winner is who finishes the grid first. (You can play it as an addition game with 2 dice if your child is older. If he/she is younger, you can use a special die with only 1-2-3 on it)

I’ll be the winner, not you Daddy.
Mind you! Conkers are slightly toxic, so it’s better to know that just a very few animals can eat it (like deer), but people and squirrels never.

 Name written in conkers

I prepared my daughter’s name, each letter on a different piece of paper. First, she put the letters in the right order, then following the lines of the letters, she placed the conkers along the lines.

 Krokotak conker mushrooms

What you need:

  • conkers
  • acorns
  • play dough

Not as good-looking as the original idea, but they represent our family: E. mushroom, Daddy mushroom and Mommy mushroom. (from right to left)

Last year we did some conker threading after making a whole on the conkers with the help of a screwdriver. If you haven’t had enough of conkers, check it out.

What do you play with at autumn time? Share with me in the comments.

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Laminated leaves

I need to share another autumn fun. As soon as I saw it on pinterest I fell in love with it. Laminated leaves. I found the laminated leaves idea there; just click on the link to get to the original idea.

First, I pressed the leaves a little. They were not totally dry when I laminated them so they kept some of their flexibility during lamination. I didn’t add magnets as it was suggested, maybe next year we’ll do this activity again and display them on the fridge.

Then we did some of the activities the Teaching Mama recommended. (On her site you can find tons of great ideas to entertain and educate you kids of all ages. I can highly recommend following it.)

  1. Colour sorting

We only had yellow, brown and green leaves, unfortunately I couldn’t find red or orange ones at that time. Later on I added some more to the collection. (there is on orangey leaf you can find totally separated on the left side)

  • Arranging leaves by size

  • Matching similar leaves

  • Making leaf faces with googly eyes and pop-pom noses (I drew the mouths E. did the rest)

  • Making leaf people (revising major body parts like arms, legs, upper body and feet)

    You can see here the nice new orange and red leaves we found in the park. The big middle figure is Daddy, because “He’s soooo big”.

  • Using the laminated leaves as rubbing plates (unfortunately the site has been removed)

I didn’t manage to take photos of this activity, but you can use the laminated leaves under a sheet of paper and use a pencil or crayon to rub on the sheet. The veins and edges of leaves will come through really nicely. Or you can check it out on the link above where the idea comes from.

If you liked this activity you can find more autumn leaves projects: More leaf activities

Or you can check out my Autumn pinterest board for more ideas.

Painting leaves – four autumn activities with leaves

 

As autumn has arrived we started to collect leaves every time we went somewhere. We were talking about the gorgeous colours of autumn leaves like orange, yellow, brown or red. We also observe the different shapes like circular, heart-shaped, hand-shaped as well as their edges (smooth, wavy, toothed).

I checked this image from the net to make sure I do not say anything silly.

Leaf rubbing gave us the chance to have a look at the veins:

 

 

Leaf prints

Then we had painting fun. E. chose the colours (I tried to direct her to the autumn colours with little success) and we painted the backside of the leaves and made prints. At first, we used too much paint, but then we could observe the beautiful prints the veins and the edges gave out.

First try

 

Second try with less paint

Another painting activity: outline of leaves:

I pressed some leaves and stuck them on a white sheet of paper with the help of small pieces of Cello-tape. Then we painted the leaves over creating an outline. This was a hit with E.

 

And finally a counting game with leaves:

I drew these bare trees for E. It can serve as a simple counting activity. Your child needs to stick as many leaves on the tree as the number shows.

I’ve prepared printable trees you can download at the end of this post.

As simple counting is not a challenge for E. any more I thought skip counting would raise her interest much more. And I was right.

 

Although it was a little too long an activity, she managed to finish it after my encouragement and help with the gluing.

Gluing

 

Adding the leaves

 

creating a leaf face with the glue

 

Mommy, this leaf is ill

 

There are not enough branches for 8 leaves, Mommy

 

Placing the magnetic numbers – finished!

First, I pressed all the leaves. It’s easier to work with them. Then I presented, showed and explained what to do with instructions like these:

  • Hold your paper down with one hand and rub with the other hand.
  • Let’s mix 2 colours.
  • Paint the backside of the leaf, like this.
  • You can add more glue this time because this leaf is big.

 

Finally, we displayed everything on our living room doors. E. shows her pieces of artwork to whoever comes to us.

 

And here on this link you can download the bare trees with numbers:

 

 

An apple a day…

… keeps the doctor away.

Although we had a week having fun with all kinds of apple games and activities (including the study of an apple) we couldn’t avoid being ill again. Anyway, here is a collection of apple fun we’ve done lately.

I’ve found a great number of apple activities online but I fell in love with the free printables by 3dinosaurs’ Apple Pack. This set contains 60 (!) pages of apple activities up to the age of 8-9. Wow! What a great collection! I’ve just selected a few games that would suit my 3-year old. Thank you, 3dinosaurs for this excellent Apple Pack.

Here is an insight what you could find in the pack:

  • What comes next? Patterning activity. I brushed it up a little with Velcro

 

“The spotty apple is coming now”
  •  Which one is different? Your child needs to find and circle (or put a manipulative on) the odd one out in the row

 

  • Pre-writing practice. We tried the easier sheet (laminated so we can reuse them).
Easy-peasy lemon squeezy

But the harder one seemed a little bit too challenging

  • Picture puzzles with numbers from 1-10 (We were talking about what she could see in the picture:  – How many apples can you see? etc.) well, she’s always been into numbers, even when she was little (click on the links for earlier posts)
And skip counting by 10s

 

  • Shape tracing and matching – a little bit of revision as we’ve already dealt with shapes a lot

 

After she’s placed all the shapes we practised the “there is…” structure. It didn’t appear to be a problem:
Mommy: – There is a red apple in the circle. And in the next?
E.: – In the square there’s a green apple. In the triangle there is a yellow one. In the rectangle there’s a checked apple and in the oval a spotty apple… or… what’s the other name, Mommy?
Mommy: – Do you remember?
E.: – No. You say it.
Mommy: – Polka dotted.
E.: – Haha, it’s funny. M., did you know polka dotted? (she turned to her favourite toy, the doggy you can see next to her on the table in the picture above)

Shape revision – tick.

  • Grouping. Apples and non-apples

 

She’s clearly enjoying it)
  • Roll and count apples. I guess she enjoyed this one the most. I couldn’t find red manipulatives, so we had “green apples” instead of red ones.
  • The Apple Pack has a die cut-out, but I used only the apples and after having laminated them I stuck them on the six sides of a big die I’d found ages before in a OneEuro shop. First, she guessed which apple will win (which apple will reach the top of the chart). Her guess was the spotty. Mine was the yellow and M., E.’s doggy’s guess was the stripy apple. Then we rolled the die. Everybody had a turn. Even the doggy 🙂
M., it’s your turn to throw the dice.

Of course, M. won.

  • Apple memory game

This game involved a lot of fun and useful tasks: matching, memorising, counting. And at the end E. tested her toy dog whether he can name what’s on the cards 🙂

E.: – What is it, M.?
Mommy (in M.’s voice): – Er… I think it’s a tree.
E.: – Good job, M.

– And this? Do you know?
Mommy (in M.’s voice): – I know, I know. It’s an apple pie. (and so on)

This was real cute.

We’ve played these games several times as she’s asked for them both in English and in Hungarian.

We also studied a real apple to see what parts it has. For this I printed the apple parts booklet by A Little Pinch of Perfect and I highlighted the parts on each card. I didn’t put them together like a book, we just had a look at the cards and also the real apple.

She examined all the parts and match them with the cards.

We practised earlier vocabulary like cut it in half, slice it, peel it, sharp knife etc.

 

She was fascinated by the word “flesh” so she was more than happy to consume it 🙂
I hope the weather and our health will let us go for an apple-picking adventure.

There are tons of apple games that you can check out on my Autumn ideas for kids pinterest board.

Our first dental project III. – 4 more activities

As a part of our dental project we did some more tooth crafts, experiments and had a fascinating insight into the structure of a tooth combined with some letter recognition. Here they come:

Stick the teeth

I enlarged and printed this mouth without teeth from the net, the cut out small pieces of rectangles for teeth. I also provided E. with some pink, red and claret coloured pencils and crayons to colour the inside of the mouth. Of course, there was glue for her to start the sticking of the teeth

Colouring:

Gluing:
Sticking:
A little bit of fooling around: – Look, Mommy, I’m a rabbit.

Eating oreo and apple

To show E. what happens to her teeth when she eats sweets I “made” her eat an Oreo biscuit. First, she thought I was kidding when I offered her a chocolate biscuit before dinner. She asked with hesitation: – Can I eat it?



After she’d eaten it I took a photo of her teeth and she could have a look in the mirror how they looked.
I guess she won’t forget the meaning of disgusting.
yuckie
Then I served her with a few slices of apple and told her to “clean” her teeth. She didn’t understand what I meant. Still, she enjoyed the experiment so much she ate up the apple slices without any questions. 
munch, munch
She was more than happy after looking into the mirror again.
They are white again.
We talked about healthy and unhealthy food (I have another activity in mind connected to this topic), how food is stuck on our teeth and the importance of eating food good for our teeth and, of course, why it is necessary to brush our teeth.
 

The inside of a tooth

I brought this huge tooth with flaps to open from Ireland. I thought I could use it teaching kids. Although I’ve been teaching quite a lot of children, none of them was at such a level that I could use this fantastic material with them. But the time came when I could have a great use of it.
On the back
The other side with the flaps

Opening the flaps you can examine the inside of the tooth

You can make your own lift-the-flap tooth

We were talking about it both in English and at another time in Hungarian. E. also examined her own tooth crowns and how they sit in her gum. A funny conversation:

M.: – You see how pink your gum is?
E.:- Yes, but why not… purple?
M.: – Because it would mean your gum is ill.
E.: – But mine is beautiful and healthy.
M.: – Sure it is. You take good care of your gum and teeth.

At another time when she wanted to look at the “big tooth” again, I flipped the side flaps back so she couldn’t see them names and I “tested” her a little. I asked her to show me the gum, the dentine, the enamel and the pulp with the blood vessels. She remembered them all. In the book (I’ve already written about in an earlier post), Izgő-mozgó fogaim, she saw funny-looking bacteria chewing themselves through the enamel to the dentine. She remembered this picture and said:

– Mommy, in the book the bad bacteria goed (sic!) into the dentine to eat it.


I think now she’s aware of the fact how important it is to clean our teeth. To be honest, she rarely refused to brush her teeth. Sometimes, when she is tired in the evening or in a bad mood, she asks me to do do it.
– Mommy, you do it, but gently, please.

Letter recognition

As she was really interested and amazed by the task above I thought a bit of letter recognition wouldn’t hurt. I made 4 cards and added some Scrabble letter cubes to them.

Busy buddy at work – concentration on maximum
I also drew a tooth on which she could identify the different parts after finishing a word.
pulp

She needed to recognise the letters and put them in order. I expected her to ask for help or first I thought we should do this activity together but she did it all on her own… 3-4 times, actually. Then I decided to do the same in Hungarian as well.

Much to my surprise, she noticed that dentine (in English) and dentin (in Hungarian) are the same except for the last letter E. She told me this comparison once at dinnertime. Then we had to list a few words that are similar or the same in English and Hungarian. Mind you, we never compare the two languages, it happened in her head totally by herself.

Our dental project hasn’t finished yet, though we’ll take a break (to spend more time with E.’s new craze/hobby/interest i.e. chess).

But I’ll come back with a compelling science experiment, which still belongs to our dental unit.