Treetop painting with corks

After playing outside and observing the autumn leaves I prepared an easy, colourful painting activity for E.

 

While doing it with our Canadian nanny, V., we were revising the autumn colours and talked about why leaves change colours in the autumn.

So after snack time when our nanny, V. arrived they sat down together to start painting.
(I didn’t prepare much for this activity. I just put out the paint – orange, yellow, red, and brown -. a palette and two sheets of paper with a bare tree drawn on them. I forgot to take a “before” photo. 😒)

The painting could start. E. squirted the paints on the palette, which is a great activity to strengthen the muscles in her hands).

Each colour had its own cork.

They made dots on the branches.

Autumn leaves are falling down.

Using both sides of the cork is rather messy…

 

End results…

Can you guess which one is E.’s  painting? Just after having finished, E. said something about the wind and tons of leaves and was smudging brown paint all over her tree top. Well… no comment 😜

Popsicle tree

Since autumn arrived we have been collecting leaves, talking about why leaves change colours and why they fall down. We’ve been hugging trees, examining their bark, trying to climb up on them, just to mention a few tree related activities. Outside.

When the weather got really rainy I thought I would bring the tree activities inside. That was when I introduced the popsicle tree activity to E.

What you need:

  • 20-30-40 popsicle sticks (wooden spatulas can be bought at the chemists for 500 HUF – less than 2 euros – but in hobby stores they can be found too)
  • collected leaves (or felt leaves)
  • conkers, acorns or any other nuts
  • felt animals like hedgehog, any kind of bird, squirrel etc.
How we played:
I gave E. the bag which I collected all the goodies in and I showed her how to build a tree. I just started and she took the lead.
While doing it we were talking about the different parts of the tree (tree top, branches, leaves, trunk, bark, roots). Also we mentioned what we can see in the tree top in different seasons. (green leaves in the spring, fruits in the summer, bare branches and yellow leaves in the autumn, nothing in the winter).
She placed the leaves very accurately.
Then some conkers and a squirrel…

After a while I couldn’t hold Baby Sis back and she came to “destroy” E.’s tree. There was some screaming and “don’t touch it” but not much playing together. E. gave L. a conker to play with but I had take it away from L. as it was too small (and I wanted to avoid ER at all cost) E. tried to give Baby Sis a laminated leaf but she wasn’t interested. Baby Sis wanted the popsicle sticks, which meant the end of the tree.

“Noooooooo”
After a while E. gave up  (got a little offended) and turned away from us to build a house instead out of the popsicle sticks.

 

E. was so uninterested at the end that only Baby Sis helped me pack away. At least we practised “put it in” with her.

As you can see life and activities with 2 kids are quite a challenge. I keep trying but success is still far away…

Anyways, I’m thinking of adding some brown yarn or thin ribbons to create the roots. We’ll try again next year when Baby Sis might not want to “destroy” but rather want to build.

Stomp on the grapes

Harvest season is here and E. was very disappointed that she couldn’t take part in the grapes pressing/wine making fun at the kindergarten. Challenge accepted. We’ll press grapes juice here at home in the traditional way.

In the morning we went to the market and bought, among other foodstuff, 2 kilos of grapes (Szaszla).

We washed them together and put them in a big plastic basin.

I also prepared for her a smaller bowl of water for rinsing her feet and a towel too and waited for V., our new nanny, to arrive.

At first, she was hesitant and  didn’t want to step in. Then she did and started to cry a little. She had ambivalent feelings concerning the experience, the feeling on her feet. She got out of the basin.

So Baby Sis gave it a try too.

After some pressure and reassurance, she tried it again and this was the time when she started to enjoy it. And she stomped and stomped and stomped like a dinosaur. She clawed some of the grapes from the sides and stomped some more.

 

 

She got the hang of it and she was even willing to sing the grapes song she’d learnt in the kindergarten.

E. tried the freshly pressed grape juice but it won’t be her favourite refreshment.

We need to do this again with more preparation from my side and some more harvest activities to follow. Maybe next year when Baby Sis can join in more actively.

Bug counting – with free printable counting mats

It took me more than a month to prepare this activity. In a normal case it would have been 2 days. However, since Baby Sis was born there hasn’t been such a thing as “normal case” in our house any more. But now it’s finished.

You need bottle tops, minimum 11, for dots from 0 to 10. I made 2 sets as it is more comfortable to make additions later on. (The caps are from Nestea and Cappy bottles)

The truth is I had a little helper who picked and tested all the bottle tops. This is optional, of course.

I used a black permanent marker to make the body of the bugs plus the dots. On the black tops I used white paint to make the dots visible. If you don’t use black bottle tops you can skip this step.
To make them more bug-like and more fun-looking I glued googly eyes on them:

The first time I presented it to E. she wasn’t very interested. She opened the envelope quite reluctantly. (This should have been the time to put it away and come back to it at another time. But we gave it a try.)

She was looking at the bugs and started to put them in order but when she reached the six-dotted bug she began to imitate a fight with the bugs.

Then she knuckled them from the table claiming the ladybirds wanted to fly away. I asked her if she wanted to have a look at the mats. She didn’t so I packed a month of work away and tried to swallow my frustration.

Then we gave it another try. I didn’t even mention ordering the bugs, I rather showed her the mats. She showed more interest than before. As she is perfectly familiar with the numbers, counting the dots made her uneasy a little bit.

But we managed to do 4 of the mats, …

 

 

…then she made a task for me:

The second addition was really tricky as we don’t have a bug with 14 don’t on them. I asked E. what we should do. And she helped me out in a really smart way:

 

I thought this activity would be much more fun, and E. would be fascinated by the bugs and counting… well… I was a little wrong. Nevertheless, we did have some fun and I’m sure someone might enjoy it even more than we did.

Download your FREE counting mats from here:

If you try it with your children let me know how it went.

 

English camp for the first time – long post, loads of pics

E. took part in her very first day-time camp in the first week of August. Of course, it was an English camp. What else?

Zs. from our old Helen Doron school founded her own HD school and summer camps were organised for kids throughout the summer. On the first week of August E. took part in  fantastic adventures in English.

Every day started at 9 (with breakfast) and ended at 15:30 when kids needed to be picked up (one could arrived later and the kids were taken care of. They watched some animations until parents arrived). The age group was quite appropriate for E.: from age 4 to 8.

Here comes the detailed overview of the week:

Day 1 – Introductory day

This was a getting to know each other day. They stayed in and did a lot of arts and crafts and played games so the kids could get familiar with each other and the teachers (Zs. and Z.). E. was rather quiet on her first day, but I expected that. She always needs time to get used to a new situation.

They painted a mask

E.’s mask
There was English circle time in the morning

…and in the afternoon
They went to a playground nearby and “found” some dinos frozen in eggs

For a while E. was watching the frozen dino and waiting for it to melt… but it was BORING so she went climbing a bit…
Then returned and waited and waited patiently…

The dino is free!!!

As the topic of the day was dinosaurs, dino fossils were also made by the kids.
Day 2 – Tarzan Park

After breakfast there was some English circle time again

They always had some free playtime with lots of fun toys, books and games, too.

They visited Tarzan Park  (an outdoor fun park) after lunch. (By the way lunch was ordered for the kids from Egészségkonyha and arrived every day in the morning. As for food, kids got food 4 times a day – breakfast, snack in the morning, lunch and snack in the afternoon too – got bakery products, cereals, vegetables and fruit. E. liked them all and didn’t complain at all. On the first day their chicken nuggets were dino-shaped)
The group in Tarzan Park with Zs.:

E. got really tired after this day full of climbing and moving around a lot. She didn’t nap in the afternoon. (After lunch on most days they had some quiet time. Whoever wanted (needed) could sleep but a Disney film was usually shown and E. was more interested in watching it than taking a nap)
She was a little bit braver this time as for talking in English but I needed to motivate her with something. As Baby Sis didn’t let me do anything creative I offered her some treats when I pick her up if she spoke more than the day before. And she did. I took her some M&Ms. A rare treat so she did appreciate it.
Day 3 – Rex Animal Farm – E.’s favourite day

They visited Rex Animal Farm where they fed the goats (as well as some rabbits)


…saw some special animals

…listened to a lady talking about how to be a responsible pet owner. 
Your dog has to be vaccinated – just pretend in this pic
They also had a dog agility training session. E. was brave enough to take the dog (called Gesztenye) through the course.

They also had their lunch at the Farm

They had time to enjoy the small playground at the farm

The whole group with their teachers Zs. and Z.
There was no English session at the farm only the HD teachers talked to the group in English but the other days were full of English from morning till the afternoon. The teachers know it well that E. is bilingual and they didn’t use any Hungarian to her throughout the whole week.
Day 4 – Picnic

After the usual morning session in English (when they painted some stones and their dino fossils from day 1 with glow-in-the-dark paint) the kids went to Margit sziget (Margaret Island) to have a picnic.

They were watching the big fountain show, 
went to a playground, 
walked on dino feet 
and had their picnic (yummy lángos, E.’s favourite street food). 
The kids were really tired after the long and action-packed week so when they got back they had some nap time. At last E. slept a bit and felt more relaxed in the evening.
Day 5 – Mini show for parents

On the last day a mini show was prepared for the parents to finish the camp with.
There were some arts and crafts: kids prepared their presents for their parents by themselves (and with a little help from the teachers.

The parents received a paper basket decorated by the kids with some hand-made artwork, like an origami frog or the painted dino fossils, plus a greeting card with the best photo of the child taken during the week, stuck in it. The show was great and touching all the kids could show themselves a bit in English.
All in all, the whole camp was a great experience for E. (trying herself in an unfamiliar English environment and meeting new people), packed with a lot of fun activities and programmes in English. It was value for money indeed. We’re surely signing up for the next year’s camp too.