Autumn tree with a dropper

Thanks to our Helen Doron teacher we have 2 really easy-to-use droppers we put in use as soon as we got them.

I took out some cotton pads, coloured some water with food colouring in little cups and the dropping could start.

To be honest, I tried the droppers with Little L. while E. was in kindergarten so the initial excitement fades a little away when E. starts working o the colouring project.

On a tray I put 2 pieces of kitchen roll in front of her, plus the autumn colours: brown, orange, yellow, red and green. (Mind you, not at once. She got 3 colours at a time and I changed one colour from time to time)

And she was mesmerised:

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We went to pick E. up from the kindergarten and when we arrived home this had been waiting for them:

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E. got really excited and L. was also happy to see the droppers again.

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E. noticed that all the colours are connected to autumn. She chose the colour combinations very accurately and used the dropper very gently.

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Not like Little L.

She was pushing, stirring, squeezing the dropper. She had lots of fun too.

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After having finished with 2 sets of cotton pads, we let them dry. Then on another day we took them out and painted a tree for them. E. stuck up all the “leaves”.

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We still had some more painted cotton pads.

– But Mommy I don’t want to make another tree.

– Make a bush, then.

Her eyes started to glow with excitement. I got her a new sheet and she did make a bush.

During the making of the autumn tree and bush Little L. were playing with our new nanny. Yes, yes, we’ve got a new native nanny. But I’ll write about her in another post.

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Sticky board notes

To increase E.’s reading practice in English I put on a sticky board on the bathroom wall at the end of July. Why? Read on and you’ll see this very simple and motivating reading fun for kids.

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E. loves books and reading. Whatever. Her thirst for reading is endless, still needs practice, needs materials that keeps her interest. This is the reason why I put on the sticky board. And what does a sticky board have to do with reading. Well, I print all kinds of short passages for her to read when she brushes her teeth or taking a bath or on the toilet. (Who doesn’t read on the toilet?)

Among others here are the passage types I’ve stuck up on the board:

  • funny poems for pre-schoolers
  • funny poems about (water) animals
  • Did you know…? – fascinating facts about E.’s current interest
  • poems by famous poets
  • jokes
  • riddles
  • quiz/general knowledge questions
  • quotes from books we’ve read together
  • sayings and proverbs
  • sight words
  • spelling fun (like the magic E – at – ate, mad- made, pan – pane etc.)
  • location of hidden treats20170720_162704

She enjoyes reading them, she gets excited whenever she finds something new on the sticky board. The sticky board makes it possible to take the passage/questions/jokes off easily and stick on a new one.

What’s more she made her own writing to the board:

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I change the content within 2-3 days. I work ahead, so I have a stash of reading material to stick on quickly after she’s gone to bed or before she comes home from kindergarten.

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You can listen to E.’s reading out loud from the sticky board on the link.

How do you practice reading with your pre-schooler or school-aged kids? Let me know in the comment section.

The idea is not mine. I stole it from the fantastic book, Maximize your child blingual ability by Adam Beck. Check out the book to get even mre fantastic hands-on advice how to juggle with the languages in your home.

September books 2017

It would be so nice if I could connect all the books to the season, a topic we talk about a lot, to the month or some special days. Well, I can’t really. So the books are mostly random, though I really try my best to select them according to the girls’ interests. Not always with success.
What’s more, our reading time has decreased as kindergarten has started for E. and the mornings are really busy and in a rush most of the times. In the evenings we have little time together so I don’t read that much after dinner, we rather play a little more.

E. is getting bored with L.’s “baby books” so I read her books separately in bed as her bedtime story or in the  mornings when she cannot be woken up by anything else but a story. When I read for her little sister, E. brushes her teeth or watches Alphablocks on youtube.

So here are the books for a 21-month old toddler (1st list) and a 5 year old kindergartener (2nd list). (E.’s favouriteL.’s favouriteboth loved it)

List 1

  1. Kittens and Puppies (Touch-Feel-Hear)
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    Well, this touchy-feely noisy book is boring. The girls looked at it 2-3 times but weren’t interested at all, although they usually enjoy noisy books. I’ve put it in the “for sale” box.
  2. Wait and See by Sue Heap
    417HVCP6SEL
    A nice autumn board book with animals who wait with the bear under a tree. What are they waiting for? I don’t want to spoil the surprise. E. liked this book and joined us whenever I read it for L.
  3. Happy Birthday, Pookie by Sandra Boynton
    41crfNGdbHL
    A cute but a little lame board book about a birthday piggy. L. loved it so much she asked the book by the piggy’s name, Pookie, which sounds like passing wind in Hungarian and we always thought she needed to go to the potty to poo.
  4. Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton
    9780761119753_3d_500_589_70_int
    A really nice bedtime book about pajamas, brushing teeth, and having fun throughout the bedtime routine.
  5. Hug by Jez Alborough
    51bF-k9INOLBoth of my girls liked this short classic about a little monkey who badly needs his Mommy’s hug. Mind you, there are no other words in the book but “hug” and you need to put the story into words. I really like these kind of books as you can say as much as you want; either going into small details or just run through it.
  6. Does the kangaroo have a mother, too by Eric Carl
    514z6tLQx6L
    A beautifully illustrated book by the famous Eric Carl about animals, young ones and adults. Look into it in this video. E. really loved what mother, father and baby animals are called (there’s a list at the end of the book). There were some surprises.
  7. Jungle Tales by Kay Widdowson
    9781743464335A brightly illustrated book about jungle animals. As for me I found it too bright. The kids did not enjoy it as much as the other books on this list. The fascinating thing is that the book pages are not rectangular but rather irregular in shapes. Each page has a hole so kids can peep through to the next page. I bought this book as L. find flamingos funny but not in this book.

List 2

  1. Zog by Julia Donaldson
    91mIHNOELQLWell I don’t think I need to popularise this book as it IS very popular and well-known both with children and adults. E. liked it although she’s not into dragons, but the storyline of Julia Donaldson’s books always fascinates her (just like me). Surprisingly, we read it only once.
  2. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
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    One of my all time favourite children books is E.’s favouite. I feel over the moon. As it is a chapterbook we didn’t read it at one sitting. I saw her “secretly” reading it at quiet time at the weekends. One evening when we had 3-4 more chapters to read she told me the story until the end. She had the idea to role play the story with plush toys and other props like in case of Room on the broom. The story in short: Three farmes decided to kill the fox that is killing their poultry. But Mr Fox is smarter than them.
  3. Great Day for Up by Dr. Seuss
    9780001720268-us-300
    This wasn’t the first time we’d read this book by Dr. Seus but I wanted L. to have a look as E. was about 2 when she got Great Day for Up and she loved it. Well, L. wasn’t that interested so I’ll save it for later. E. started basic reading with this book.
  4. Whales and Dolphins (Usborne Discovery)
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    This is a gorgeous book about whales and dolphins with real-life photos, all kinds of topics concerning cetaceans like echolocation, swimming long distances, birth-giving, connections with people, being endangered etc. The book includes some internet links where you can listen to whales’ singing for instance.
  5. The Magic Stone (Read it for yourself)
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    Originally I wanted E. to read this book on her own but she wanted me to read it. So be it. There’s a lot of repetition in the book that makes it easy for a beginner reader to read it and enjoy it at the same time. At the end we needed to talk about why the woman felt frustrated, why the tramp tricked the woman  and so on. E. was evidently puzzled by the story.

    Whoops… I left one really important book out. Harold and the purple crayon by Crockett Johnson. E. loooooved it and read it a lot all by herself.

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    If you’ve read something with you little one(s) recently that you think we would enjoy, please share it in the comment section. Check out the earlier posts about books we’ve been reading:
    2017June Book list
    2017July Book list
    2017August Book list

New book routine – July

Another month has passed and we’ve been reading on. Here are the books that we’ve covered in July. I’m trying to take age groups into consideration when organising these book posts.
Most of the time we read 3-5 books at an occasion. Both kids listen to the stories, though E. spends the after-dinner reading sessions playing 30 mins on the tablet instead.

If you want to read more about our new book reading routine click on the link.

(Colour codes: E.’s favourite and L.’s favourite and the books they both LOVE)

So here come books for my 18 months old:

  1. Spot bakes a cake by Eric Hill
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    Last months Spot goes to the circus was a great hit so I chose more Spot books from our secret stash. Still, L. tries to tear off the flaps, although less frequently.
  2. Where’s Spot by Eric Hill
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    A library book. Yes, in a Hungarian children library we found quite a few English books for kids. I’m convinced it’s due to the Mums’ English Club that takes place there.
  3. Spot goes to the farm by Eric Hill
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  4. Zoe and Beans – We’re not scared by Chloe and Mick Inkpen
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    Both Zoe and Beans  books are from the library.
  5. Zoe and Beans – Hello, ladybird by Chloe and Mick Inkpen
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    There’s a squeaky ball in the story. Whenever L. touches the squeaky ball with her finger E. squeaks a squeaky toy behind her back. We buzz when we find the ladybird on every page. It’s fuuuuun!
  6. My Granny (Peppa pig)
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    The least favourite. Neither of my children is a great fun. E. had a period around the age of 2 when she liked it. Mainly she asked for the Bubbles video.
  7. Baby does by Elenor Taylor
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    Very simple board book with a few words. Still, we can talk a lot about the pictures, like identifying toys, or describing action in more details.
  8. Caterpilar’s wish by Mary Murphy
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    A very simple and cute story about the metamorphosis of a butterfly.

For my 5-year-old:

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  1. Doctor Duck (Songbirds – Phonics) by Julia Donaldson
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    Both of my kids enjoy this first reader book. E. can follow the easy text while I’m reading it. Tough I think it’s way too easy for her. L. likes when we sign “hot” and “sick”.
  2. This is the bear and the bad little girl by Sarah Heyes
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    I can’t say that this book has become E.’s favourite. We’d read This is the bear and E. seemed to remember but when we started to talk about how the bear feels when the bad little girl steals him, she wasn’t that happy about it.
  3. Our Baby by Tony Bradman and Lynn Breeze
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    We don’t normally compare our kids but E. really enjoyed to see the loads of things described in the book that her baby sister can’t do but she can. Baby L. was fascinated by the crying baby at the end, and when the big brother/sister makes the baby laugh.
  4. The fish who could wish by John Bush and Korky Paul
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    A strange story about a fish who wished for strange things. Illustrations are funny too, but the kids seem to find it funny.
  5.  Fidgety Fish by Ruth Galloway
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    E. got this book for her birthda. The vocabulary used in the book is quite varied and fun.
  6. Ten Shiny Snails by Ruth Galloway
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    A really nice board book for smaller children (age 3+ I would say) but E. likes counting and L. loves snails so I thought it’s a nice combination. While counting backwards through the story the snails disappear, then at the end there’s a big pop-up page where all the 10 snails gather around a flowerpot.
  7. Wriggle and roar (poems) by Julia Donaldson
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    Lovely short poems with funny illustrations. E. liked some of the poems but  they’re not her favourites. I read it to her when L. wasn’t around because she would be interested at all. I loved this book.
  8. Life Cycles: Ocean by Sean Callery
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    The list wouldn’t be OUR book list with a special interest, ocean book. E. was amazed by the food web/chain depicted on the last page. A very informative book with beautiful pictures. I’ve already ordered another book of this series: Grassland.

One extra: Noisy peekaboo Splash Splash! (DK)

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Once we had an especially wonderful day (among the many horrible, whiny days when nothing seems to work out) I presented them this noisy book as a special gift for behaving like little angels all day. They both LOVE it. It’s noisy, there are flaps to peep behind, it’s about bath-time. There are quite a lot in this series too.

I hope you’ve found some good books on the list above that can entertain your little one(s).
What are you reading now? Let me know in the comment section.

A new routine with books

Books have always been a central part of our language quest, since the girls’ birth. As they grow their thirst for books are thriving (Good for me). I “just” need to get the right books for their age and interest. English books are rather pricey and hard to get second-hand English books in Hungary at a reasonable price, though. (Bad for me). In this post I’d like to write about when and how we spend time with books.

The book titled Maximize your child bilingual ability by Adam Beck has confirmed my belief in reading books as No. 1 importance in acquiring a minority language (in our case English).

My husband has a love for books just like me. Some people might feel as if they were in a library on stepping into our living-room: bookcases with many many rows of shelves filled with books all along the wall.

We’ve been reading a lot of books at bedtime, or after lunch as the beginning of quiet time. Or any time E. asked for it and we had time for it.)

Last year I found a great source of cheap (well, affordable to be more precise) second-hand books on facebook. (It’s a closed group called Kadosarok. The language of discussion is Hungarian, mind you.)

I missed a system of taking books into our hands so I’ve built up the following routine:

Whenever we sit down to eat with the kids (about 4-5 times a day counting snack times too) we read at least one baby book for little L. and one big girl book for E. Sometimes we just read 2 books but at other times when we have more time and the kids are in the mood 4-6 books. Every week I add 2 new books to the after-eating book sessions and the girls choose whichever they want me to read them out.

In the first month (May 2017) the following books have been read several times:

(Colour codes: E.’s favourite and L.’s favourite and the books they both LOVE)

  • One mole digging a hole by Julia Donaldson61r+ObpoEeL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_
  • The not so perfect baby by Nicola Baxterthe-not-so-perfect-baby.jpg
  • Tickle, Tickle by Helen Oxenbury1296603
  • Is this your nose?6197TnIV9sL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
  • Little Bo-Peep (a peep-through nursery rhyme – Ladybird)9781844225620-uk.jpg
  • Today is Monday by Eric Carl514P2SZf+hL.jpg
  • Sometimes I feel sunny by Gillian Shields and Georgie Birkett61uSdXio1cL.jpg
  • Toddler touch Bedtime (Ladybird)9781409312864_18

 

I’ve been a little lazier in June (L. always wants to read her 2-3 favourite books, E. wants to read longer stories that we’ve had no time for at the table, plus we were on holiday and at a chess camp so time was scarce).

I’ve added only 3 new books to the pile:

  • Spot Goes to the Circus by Eric Hill9780140552973-us-300.jpg
  • Round and Round the Garden (Amazing baby touch-and-feel board book9781904513926
  • Incy Wincy Spider (Igloo books)9781784401733_a

None of these books has become a favourite. Little L. likes pushing the button on the Incy Wincy book, though. As the song starts she begins to dance.

I’ll try to come back monthly or bimonthly on our book updates.