Autumn is here and the girls are always asking for painting activities. At this time of the year apples are in focus so
apples+autumn=… see the craft result below.
What we used:
small paper plates
paint (red, green, yellow)
real dried apple seeds (or a black/brown marker to draw some)
Before the girls started to make the core of their apples I prepared one for them to see what to do. I drew on the paper plates an American football shapes that they needed to cut off.
They put on their aprons after having taken off their T-shirts plus L even took off her socks. I didn’t really get why.
E. (6) was great with the cutting. Little L (2.5) had difficulty in cutting along the curved line so she just simply cut the paper plate half. Well done Sweetie! 🙂 Cutting is a new skill she’s been practising a lot recently. Although cutting straight went really well, she was quite disappointed.
I took out a new paper plate and did the cutting for her.
Then came the painting. We discussed what colour an apple could be. They come up with colours red, green and yellow. L. chose red: – This is red (she was pointing at her apron) so I choose red.
E. chose green: – I choose green because my favourite apple is green apple.
Hence we didn’t use any yellow.
After having painted the skin, I showed them the real apple seeds that I’d saved from the many apples they’d eaten. Little L eats only a few fruit, her favourite is the apple.
I showed them how to glue the seeds on. Next it was their turn to add the apple seeds in the middle of the core.
After this activity we went on to eat some apple snacks. While I was peeling and cutting the apple half Little L. had a chance to have a look at a real apple core with the seeds inside. E. wasn’t interested as she knows it too well. She wanted to grow an apple tree which we did not try this time. But we never know what the future might bring.
E.’s new Helen Doron course started in September 2017. I’ve been planning to write an in-depth post about our experiences, but I was struggling with. I’m not at the lessons, E. is not very chatty about what’s going on the lessons, only if she’s crazy about it, which happens every now and then but not on a regular basis.
So I had an idea. I asked E.’s teacher, Zs., to write a guest post about the present course, and the group. So here comes the very first guest post on nonnativemommy.com.
E.’s been visiting the Helen Doron course called More Jump with Joey. This is a continuation of the course Jump with Joey, where the basic knowledge had been learnt. In these courses we get to know the alphabet a bit better, by following the adventures of Kangi, Joey, Milli and Paul in Storyville. Each adventure is connected to a letter of the alphabet. This is also where students start to read and write, the course has a workbook as well beside the activity books. Starting here, the activity books have all the pages filled with written words, getting more and more complicated according to the age group, not only the usual stickers and coloring pages.
We also use the augmented reality apps, which can be downloaded to smartphones or tablets, and function as magic wands – putting the device above certain pages of the book, the characters start speaking, moving, singing, dancing. Usually we use it every second lesson or so for a few minutes, and all the students are mesmerized and just love it. If they do well during the lesson, it is a little gift for them.
The Jump with Joey material supports the school system’s usual vocab, learning about school items, colors, animals, numbers, household items, lots of adjectives and grammar, but of course many-many more. In More Jump with Joey there is a large variety of vocab.
E. enjoys it a lot – learning about different types of insects, arachnids, naming 6-8 different spiders, also apes, marsupials, pets, flowers, birds, also using grammar a bit more deliberately (e.g. past forms) and so on. This is a perfect course for her, as it is not only about learning the basics in English, which she knows already pretty well, but experiencing the diversity of life, and using our knowledge in different real-life situations. Also using the language with others properly is a great skill for her to improve – asking politely, working in a team, improving our social skills, sharing our ideas with others, speaking up. If it was up to her, she would probably just observe everything with great interest. But, of course, the aim of the course is to get that knowledge out and to use the language, to speak as much as we can. As the students already have a certain level of English by now, we can put the focus on the details, and have more fun by challenging ourselves with new, more complicated games and activities.
There are seven students in the group, three boys and four girls – quite luckily equal. This group is totally an advanced group, most of them have been learning English for 4-5-6 years (and they are only first graders!), and there are two other students who are basically bilingual, too. Spontaneous speaking and discussions are usual with them, they are very motivated and enthusiastic about English. E. is the youngest, still perfectly keeps up with the others. Not every member of the group started writing so far, but every one of them can already read or at least is trying to read the written lines all the time.
E. is brilliant in reading and writing, her speed of working improved a lot in the past year, and she barely makes mistakes. Usually she does not even need help with the spelling, she just knows it by heart. However, asking for help if she is stuck is still something we are practising, but we still have half of the course ahead, and every member of the group has improved amazingly so far. Can’t wait to go on!
More about the school we attend and the course material, click on the link.
This Easter I wanted something different, something that we had never done before. We’d done Easter crafts, Easter cooking, Easter egg hunt… but I was really glad to accidentally come across some Easter scavenger hunt on the net. I thought I could tailor it to the girls. So I did.
As they are still young and found Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection too frightening (we read some simple books about it), I stayed with the bunny theme this year.
Some presents (very few sweets and no chocolate treats at all) were hidden by the Easter bunny around the flat and the rabbit also made sure that the girls have some challenge. He left rhyming notes everywhere to give directions to the girls where they could find the next gift location.
Early in the morning we heard some bunny sounds (thanks Daddy and youtube). The kids jumped out of bed and started searching for the goodies.
E. read out the little poems and helped her little sister to find the places of presents.
They both enjoyed it a lot and were excited about the findings and the whole game. It was more fun that I’d thought.
A few months after the periodic table and chemistry craze E. is into birds and nature. I’m really glad that this new topic gives us the opportunity to spend great amount of time outside in nature.
Everything started with this Usborne book of Nature Trail.
This is an old edition and I bought it second-hand so I’m not sure if this one is still available but I’m positive you can find many beautiful nature books published by Usborne if your kids are little biologists.
Another trigger could have been E.’s Helen Doron course (More jump with Joey) as there was an episode with all kinds of birds and E. was fascinated by them.
One day (when our native nanny came to her) she came home from kindergarten and asked for Daddy’s binoculars, her journal, nature book and markers. We packed them all in her backpack and we dashed to the park to watch the birds.
Naively I thought she wanted to watch then draw the birds.
Instead she took note of what kind of birds they saw with N, our nanny, and the bird’s flight patterns!
The next time we went birdwatching (again with our nanny) I asked her to draw the birds instead. And so she did.
While N and E were watching birds, we went to the playground with Little L to make some sand ice-cream. Yummy!
Every morning when E. wakes up, or to be more precise we wake her up with youtube videos of bird calls. Who wouldn’t want to wake up with birds singing.
You can check out her favourite on the link above.
I used to make basic bird flashcards that I needed to freshen up with some new ones, of course, with E.’s favourite ones like crossbill, eagle owl and nuthatch, to mention few examples.
And it’s not finished yet, well, it’s just the beginning. I’m certain there’s more to come.
Every year we plant flowers on our balcony with E. who loves spring and the revival of nature (and her coming birthday too).
Usually I buy some plants at the flower market and we plant them together, like last year or the year before. Last year we also tried to plant carrots, tomatoes, and ruccola. Well, apart from the tomato it wasn’t a successful year (we had 8-10 cherry tomatoes in September), but we’d started plating really late, at the beginning of May.
To attune the girls to the revival of nature and planting I collected some youtube videos for them, mainly songs. Here are their favourite ones (that they learnt by heart within 2 days):
However, this year I was all prepared. I bought these cute plant nurseries at the Flying Tiger Shop and some seeds in one of the big supermarkets. (We collected some seeds from our balcony flowers, too, 2 years ago and I accidentally found the envelopes.) One of the ladies at the market who I get on really well with gave some spring onion bulbs to E. to plant.
I put down and old wax table cloth on the floor and fixed it with painter’s tape. Then prepared all the necessary ingredients:
dirt (in another word soil)
seeds (this year we planted radishes, gurkins*, carrots, basil, tomato, poppies, and snapdragons.)
spoons (next year a really need to purchase some kid-size gardening tools)
Before starting the planting procedure I showed them the parts of a flower cards and they put them in the right order: root, stem, leaves and flower. E. placed the word cards next to them. (The link above will take you to the site where you can download your own copy if you wish.)
The girls scooped the dirt in the little holes. L. was making the sound of a digger while doing it. And for her that was it all. She lost interest in planting very quickly. She went to her little kitchen and cooked some food for Daddy.
But E. was really enthusiastic about it. She told me which seed to plant first , she opened the packets and envelopes that hid the seeds. She observed the seeds carefully noticing their different shapes, sizes and colours. (It was quite fascinating to see that the tomato seeds were blue and the poppy seeds were really tiny.)
She also wrote the name of the plants on a wooden stick so we’ll know later on which sprout is which plant.
E. made holes in the dirt with her index finger and dropped the seeds, next covered them with some more dirt. When we finished with all of them she watered them lightly.
E. enjoyed it some much and was so excited about the planting that she was staring at the plant nursery nearly all afternoon. She was talking to them and wanted to water them more. This gave us an opportunity to talk about that giving the plant too much water or sunshine does no good.
The next day our radish and gurkin sprouted and E. saw a gurkin loop in the dirt. She started to call them Loopy and ran to find her Ikea plush gurkin/cucumber.
After a few days I offered her to draw what happens to the plant in a plant diary. She wanted to draw only the radish and the gurkin although every seed had started to sprout by this time. She measured them and drew how they changed size and colour, how they grew.
The next phase was to put them into bigger pots. Unfortunately we waited too long and planted the seeds too close to each other so we had a hard time to separate them. It might happen that they won’t survive as both the roots and the stems were rather weak. The radishes went to the balcony in a long pot, the gurkins were planted into bigger round pots with 2 wooden sticks and a string between them to provide support for the future vines.
Still E. is talking to them kindly and taking care of them with great care. Whoever comes to us has to have a look at the plants. Her plant diary is coming along really nicely. Soon we need to replace the other plants into bigger pots (we ran out of soil).
Stay tuned, there’s more to come, hopefully you can see beautiful flowers and tasty veggies.
*I found 2 ways of writing gurkin/gherkin. The latter is more common but I used the first version in this post. When I asked E. if she could spell it, she spellt it gurkin 🙂