Our first week of the quarantine

Due to the corona virus’ aggressive spread we’re all home to stay safe and decrease the possibility of infections in our community. Schools and kindergartens have closed down, most of my students have cancelled the lessons and my husband has been in home office.

In this post I’ll collect what we’ve been doing this week. Some activities will have a separate post, you’ll find a link attached. I hope this, and the following posts will give you ideas how to kill time if you’re also staying at home with your kids.

School stuff:

E. got her school material early, at the beginning of the week. We’ve been doing the tasks in Hungarian. We spent about 2 hours on tha tasks in the morning and another 1 hour in the afternoon.

Most of the tasks are paper based, supported with online videos, study apps like learning apps (e.g. German word cards), quizizz (e.g. Maths or reading) from the teachers. She does these game-like studying in the breaks of the paper-based tasks. I caught her doing English quizzes too. 🙂

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Little L. also wanted to do some “homework” so I took out some of the old activities I’d made for E. when she was little. Thank God, I have lots of stuff, L. was really busy and quick to solve the tasks. (counting, letter tracing, number recognition, sight words.)

E. and I also made her some new activities in her journal.

E. was more than happy to correct the otherwise perfect solutions. Little L. was very proud of herself.

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While E. was working on her Roman numbers (put out with matches),

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Little L. did some number activities (you can find them by clicking on the link)

E. had quite a lot of writing practice (they learnt 2 new letters this week), maths (additions and take always up to 12), plus reading tasks. As she is more advanced in her studies I gave her some copying of her choice, reading comprehension tasks (a fairy tale) and I also dictated a “short” letter addressed to her teacher. English writing and reading were scarce, much to my disappointment. We simply didn’t have time for it.

L.’s favourite game was the number puzzle game that I hadn’t written about unfortunately. You can find this activity at this reading mamma ( If you click on the link, you can get your own free printable), we did this activity with E. at about the same age as L. is now.

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Free time activities:

E.’s got a new hobby i.e. playing the piano. We checked some English children songs online and she learned them to play. She wrote C D E F G A B C all over the keys and practiced a lot. (Old Mac Donald, Rain, rain go away, Twinkle, twinkle little star, Row, row, row your boat, ABC song, This is the way) and some Hungarian folk songs too (Boci, boci tarka, A part alatt)

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A part of E.’s crafts studies we prepared our dreamcatchers and put them in our bedroom. You can find a separate post about it on the link above.

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As the weather has been beautifully sunny and warm, we spent most of our time outside gardening, playing games, patting the cat or jumping in the trampoline.

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Our old Tray Nature Hunt activity was reloaded. I made new pictures of the collectibles that the girls could find in our garden and the hunt could begin. E. didn’t seem to remember this activity, but who can blame her, she was just 2,5 years old when we did it first. (I’m writing a seperate post about it)

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They were very excited and were running around the garden.

At the moment the 2 girls are enthusiastically preparing for their Sunday show. We’re looking forward to it. Mainly because it’s in English.

Stay tuned! I’ll come back with some more next week. Until then you can check my earlier posts. Happy reading and stay at home!

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Muffin tray nature hunt reloaded

Our garden has come to life again. The birdfeeder is full of songbirds, our golden chain bush stated to bloom. Our daffodils’ buds are starting to open. The sun is shining bright. The best time to be amazed by the awakening of nature. So I printed and cut and set our muffin tray in motion.

This is not a new activity as we did it with E. and our British nanny, A. 5 (!!! OMG) years ago. You can find the Tray Nature Hunt among the posts (or by clicking on the link)

I grabbed our 12-hole muffin tray and looked around the garden. I put together a 12-image sheet with things the kids can find in our garden. I cut the pictures out and placed them in the holes of the muffin tray.

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We had a look at the pictures together with the kids and identified what they needed to collect. E. could read the words under the pics and she helped Little L. (we do not own a colour printer unfortunately, so I tried to make the pictures more understandable with a little colouring).

At the beginning we discussed what to collect. (watch a video of it on the link) You can hear that I warned them not to pick the daffodils, but 2 or 3 of the golden chain’s tiny flowers.

Then they ran away. They were collecting soil from the front garden, stones from behind the shed. Little L. found some fluffy dove feathers and E. was crawling on all her fours to find a bug.

Finally, she managed to get an ant, which I accepted as a “bug”.

L. slid under the bush and pine tree to get the cone; E. took a rake from the shed to pull it out.

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They were running around for 20 minutes or so to gather everything.

Afterwards we came together again and checked the treasures of nature.

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To finish with, they joined the cat in his legless pose. 🙂

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Dreamcatcher

The girls have a bad dream every now and then, but lately more often. So I looked up easy dreamcatcher ideas on pinterest and we made them to chase nightmares away. Not to mention, it serves as a great craft activity for the crafts class for school (schools have been closed due to the corona virus pandemic, so we’re all at home)

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(Warning! It’s not so easy, there are easier ideas on the pinterest link above)

What you need:

  • popsicle sticks (coloured or plain)
  • hot glue gun
  • thread of different colours
  • feathers
  • beads
  • scissors

How we made it:

First, I prepared my own dreamcatcher to show it to the girls. As soon as they saw it they got excited, though E was a little hesitant to make it at the beginning.

We needed a circle to begin with, but I didn’t want to use a paper plate. I can’t cut a neat hole out of the middle, that’s why I decided on the popsicle sticks.

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Both chose a colour and put together the frame, which is in real a pentagon. To make it easier for them to create the frame I pre-drew a pentagon (When I made the sample dreamcatcher after having glued the sticks together, I drew around it.)

While we were waiting for the hot glue gun to work, I was talking about the dreamcatcher.

They immediately realised the web, and the bead spider. I told them that the nightmares are stuck on the web and the imaginary spider eats it. They really enjoyed this idea.

But of course, the question is: What happens to the good dreams? I showed the hanging feathers and beads. The light feathers direct the good dreams to reach the sleepers.

I was a little worried about the hot glue gun because of my curious 4-year old, but she and her elder sister too, handled it with care.

So, we glued the sticks together (they needed help) and started the webbing.

I advised the to choose a thread colour that contrasts well with their frame. So they did. And of course, the spider bead was crucial.

E. tied her own thread at one corner of the frame, I did this for Little L. and we fixed it with the glue.

While threading you need to make sure that the thread is tight. Poor L. was a little light handed and had to start it again, but she didn’t give it up.

Towards the end of the webbing we thread the bead on and also fixed it with the glue (you can simple put a knot before and after the thread, but gluing was easier and the kids really enjoyed that I let them use the hot glue gun.

The next step was choosing the feathers and beads for the hanging decorations. The bead I’d chosen had too little holes, so we picked pony beads.

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They threaded the beads of their choice and I helped them both tie up the feathers and beads on the frame.

Little L. was close to give it up towards the end when the thread was falling into many thin threads (plus she didn’t sleep in the afternoon) but finally, she hung in there and finished it with my help.

The results are beautiful. The girls showed them to the camera real proudly. We’ll put them into practice tonight.

 

 

Chinese New Year

This year the festivities of the Chinese New Year started on the 25 January and I decided to talk about it with the girls through some crafts.

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Originally, I was planning to make some printables concerning Chinese New Year (which is also called Lunar New Year) but I had no time so I picked 2 crafts that seemed fun.

Whirling Dragon

The whirling dragon is very decorative and fun to make although my kids didn’t seem to last until the end of the project as it takes quite a while.

What you need:

  • paper plate
  • red paint and paintbrushes
  • coloured markers/pencils
  • scissors
  • glue
  • string
  • stapler
  • dragon template from the Red Ted Art blog (it’s free)

You can follow instructions from the link above.

We painted the paper plates in two goes as one side needed to dry first, then we could go on with the other one. Well, the kids lost interest after the painting and a lot of waiting. (We dried them on the radiator)

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I printed the templates and the got excited again so we coloured them together. At this point we checked the lucky colours of the Chinese New Year Festival to bring good luck to our home with the dragons. These were red, yellow, green, blue and white.

Again, they had enough of colouring, so I needed to cut out the pieces. This took even me a lot of time.

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They returned for the stapling and a little bit of sticking. Little L. glued on the tail and legs then ran away. E. helped with the stapling but wasn’t in the mood to glue so I finished them off.

After having hung them in our hallway they admired the dragons, but all in all they were not as fascinated by it as I thought they would be.

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Still, we talked a lot about the traditions, the animal zodiacs and the festivities in Asian countries.

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Chinese Lanterns

I was searching for some Chinese New Year crafts for the kids while our English speaking nanny, N, was here and playing with E and L. I made a prototype of this lantern, which raised the kids’ attention and wanted to make the lanterns immediately.

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We took out some coloured paper and followed the simple instructions:

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We drew lines along which the kids could cut a staight line. Little L cut like a pro. E needed to be reminded of the correct position of her arm.

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We used a stapler to fix the lanterns insted of sticky tape.

Both E. and L. enjoyed cutting and stapling, what’s more, they loved how wobbly the lanterns became.

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We displayed out creations in the hallway.

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A very easy craft that you do not have to prepare beforehand.

While working on the lanterns, the kids started to sing a German song that E. had learnt in school for the St Martin’s Day lantern celebration and, of course, Little L knows perfectly well.

By the way, Chinese New Year celebrations are ended with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the firs lunar month.

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We also metioned the Chinese zodiacs and identified who is which animal in our family:

  • E. is a dragon just like her father
  • Little L is a sheep
  • myself is a horse

2020 is the Rat’s year.

We might do some zodiac crafts so stay tuned.

Happy Chinese New Year