Home-made tools for language practice – matching colours

E. LOVES colours and all the games in connection with colours. One of her first words was a colour (red in English, kék -blue- in Hungarian). So I though I should make some fun activities with the colours. Here is one of them:

I drew circles and coloured them on two white sheets. Just to be on the safe side, I laminated them to make them more durable. On one sheet there are the basic colours: red, blue, green black and white. On the other one: brown, pink, orange, yellow and purple.

From the kitchen I picked some bottle caps, lids of different colours, but I didn’t have black and orange so I took off an orange and a black magnet from the fridge.

I put all the caps, magnet and lids into a box and put it in the living room. E. went there and took it off immediately. Without me showing her what to do, she started to match the colours. She can concentrate on it for few minutes only, but she always says out loud the name of the colours. Most of the time she uses one language, either English or Hungarian. Only very rarely does she mix them.
Sometimes I pick the caps from the box and she shows me where to put them.

We never get to the end of the matching, though. Either she gets tired of it, or runs away with the two favourites: yellow and purple. 🙂

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Home-made tools for language practice – Peek-a-boo house

This idea came from the “lift-the-flap” books, like Spot goes to the farm by Eric Hill. E. likes peeping to see what’s behind a door, a bush or a gate. Also, I saw this technique to be used at the Helen Doron lesson to practice new/old vocabulary. So why not make my own?

The basis is cardboard and I decorated it with orange and green paper, as well as red and yellow craft foam sheets (“dekorgumi”). The door and windows are laminated and glued on the surface. The sky is made from coloured paper and the green grass is painted.

(E. has already torn the clouds partly, so I strengthen them with Cellotape). I hide animals, people, babies, pieces of furniture etc. behind the flaps. Whatever works.

It’s a good idea to stick the house on the floor or on the wall as while the kids are fidgeting with it, it moves a lot and makes it more difficult to open the flaps and easier to tear off a window.

E.’s favourites are the sun and the butterfly. She picks them and walks around with them in her hands. When I changed the pictures she was surprised at the change. Now she’s found the box of pictures and not surpised any more. She tries to change the pictures herself.

Helen Doron Baby Days II.

August has arrived so we have taken part in another few days at our Helen Doron Language School. Here is the summary of our 3 sessions:
Day1: Fruits
I was really happy as this is one of E.’s favourite topics. Her eyes sparkled when she saw a picture of an apple and a straberry in the teacher’s hand. She looked at me and glowed with delight. I felt she knew the whole session will be about fruits. So I wasn’t surprised at all when in the middle of the lesson she was brave enough to say apple, pear and nana (for banana). She says strawberry in Hungarian (she always chooses the easier word of the two languages – very smart). The activities we had:

  • matching half fruit
  •  matching fruit with their shapes
  •  sticking fruit on a big tree
  •  taking plastic fruits out of a pelican’s beak then put them back
  •  turning flashcards facing down
  •  fruit song ( I like bananas…)
And of course the usual revisions, like the Uppety song or the Waving song.
E. is waving to Rosie, the doll (on the 3rd day)

The teacher in me would have included the colours a little bit.

I was taken aback when the picture of an avocado came up. Well, we live in a different eating culture here in Hungary.

However, the main point is E. enjoyed herself a lot. I haven’t seen her this active yet. And the number of mums and kids was better than at the beginning of July (6 mums with 6 kids – too many).

Day2: Animals

 E. wasn’t in a good mood today. We had a rough night and she was clinging to me all day. It was the same at the lesson. She was much less active, which was a pitty. As I could see the other kids were a little bit less patient than they usually are. But again E. said quite a few animal names and the sounds they make, too. (hippo, doggy, miaow, hee-haw)

 

I liked the ‘Abracadabra’ game. It was about showing 3 animal pictures and the same animals in soft toys. Then the teacher covered the toys with a blanket and made one of the animals disappear as she lifted the blanket up. Then she asked which animal was missing and made the kids match the soft toys and the animal pictures. It could draw and keep children’s attention.

We also listened to some real animal sounds and had to find the picture of the animal we could hear. It was also good fun, though there was some technical glitch, which also happened when we were listening to the animal sound song.

Another great activity was a bowl of water with plastic animals in it. I was scared to see the bowl full of water but nobody got wet, luckily, and the kids took great pleasure in splashing a bit in water. (Not to mention how refreshing it was in this heat). It is also a nice activity from sensory point of view. One of the reasons why I like the Helen Doron Early English is the wonderful combination of several kind of development involved at the lessons.

We also revised a little bit of the fruits (matching Velcro-ed fruit with their shape and matching one type of fruit with two of its kind with a marker on a white board – E. was interested in the latter as we started to do a little bit of drawing together).

Fruit activity – sorry, taken with a mobile

After that the kids chose a toy animal from a big bag (E. said: ‘choseone’ as if it were one word) they had to lift it up and put it down, then turn it round while we were listening to the Uppety song.

All in all, it was a good day with plenty of varied activities, nice hand puppets, real-life animal sounds, some sensory game and great deal of moving around. I just wish E.’d had a better mood.
We finished on time and we could get home to our weekly Mums’ English Club.

Day 3: Actions

This day was all about moving around. It was lovely, though towards the end the kids got a little carried away. But let’s start with the beginning.

The group shrank a little, there were only 4 mums with their kids. We were banging drums, the door, the chair (E. sometimes hit her head a bit) with the drumsticks.

E. is picking drumsticks for banging

The children were swinging in a blanket one by one, walking around slowly and quickly, turning around, clapping hands, touching face, stacking building blocks, pouring water, and most important of all, blowing bubbles among others. What else would a little explorer wish to do? All the activities were engaging and great fun for the kids. This time I managed to take some nicer photos. Have a look. The pics speak for themselves.

Pouring water from a cup to a bowl

 

“Stacking, stacking, stacking it up”

 

I’ll try it

The lesson fell apart a bit by the lesson. One child was eating, the other one was whining (wanted more bubbles), the third one was taking the pictures off the wall, instead of indulging themselves in the Waving song – Whatever! It was a great day. They all got really excited because there were a lot impulses.

Every time I am amazed how brave E. is to say English words, more and more every day. She likes taking part in these sessions. She said purple, bubble, water, more, try it and shouted in the middle of the lesson: ORANGE ORANGE ORANGE. This must be the sign of her being entertained and feeling relaxed 🙂 Well, I’ve already reached my main aim, then.