A quick, before-Christmas activity I put together was a hit with the girls. The best thing about it is that you can make the activity, so it suits all ages.
What you need:
12 or more green bottle tops
hot glue gun/ or some type of glue
a board (I used cardboard of a box)
pom-poms of different colours
white circles cut out of paper
snowflakes of different colours (optional)
How to make it:
arrange the bottle tops in a Christmas tree shape
glue them on the board
mark the colours in the bottle tops (I used punched-out snowflakes)
I presented the game to the girls on the 23rd December. They had been very excited about the coming Christmas and they had been asking about when the Christmas tree was coming. So here it comes.
It can be a simple colour matching activity…
But I wanted to bring in some more challenge. For Little L I drew dots on paper circles (3 and 4). She put a red pompom if there were 3 dots and a green one if it there were 4.
As in school E learnt addition and take-away up to number 8, I wrote additions on paper circles. The additions equalled either 5 or 8. She needed to put a green pompom if the sum was 5 and a red pompom if it was 8.
When she was done, she made me an activity… khm… a little bit more complex than mine.
This task can be done with numbers, addition and takeaway, division and multiplication, letters (lower and uppercase), sight words and so much more.
… at our Helen Doron school. We were invited to creat some Christmas-related decorations. It came really handy as at home it is really difficult to do any arts or crafts lately, as Baby Sis has been doing nothing else but destroying whatever she puts her hands on. Of course, for her it’s the exploration phase, for us, an “Oh, noooo!” phase.
It was lovely to get out of the house a little just E. and me. As we arrived at the school the Christmas decorations created the vibe just as the Christmas music and the big screen showing a fireplace.
E. was really happy to find some treats she could eat (dairy and milk free gingerbread, popcorn, apples, tangerines and peanuts). She decoratively packed a plate for herself with all the goodies and this was the closest she could get to being creative.
She was lying on the floor eating, and sometimes helping me out.
We made a pine cone Christmas tree with tiny pom-poms and an elf.
When E. finished eating (well, she was munching something all the time) she started to play with the glue coming out of the hot glue gun.
Our new angel socks were admired by everyone.
All in all, it was fun to be together without high expectations and had a great time in our Helen Doron school, which is always welcoming and offers fantastic programmes.
First, E. didn’t like the elf so much (she called him poopy and blaaah) but on the way home we chatted with Mr Elf and it turned out he’s got magic power and can grant wishes.
We placed our (khm… MY) beautiful creations next to our advent candles, so our table decoration is full now.
Last year I started a hopefully long tradition: taking note of daily memories of December, the advent period, our Christmas itself, the days between holidays and New Years Eve too. Here is the last year’s post.
Now come all the memories of December 2017 day by day in one long post. (This year we’ll be making a paper-based memory booklet as well.)
The kids were at their grandparents and the Angels have brought us the advent calendar.
This year the main theme is decorating a Christmas tree with stickers. It’s great as both girls can do it and enjoy it.
Our advent “wreath” is ready. It’s evident we didn’t have much time for it this year either. Perhaps next year.
In the morning we had a family photo shoot in our home. See the photo collage a little further down.
Our annual Gingerbread Party was in full swing by the afternoon. Friends came over and we made and decorated more than a kilo of gingerbread (this time it was dairy- and egg-free. If you’re interested in the recipe, just drop me a line. It’s really tasty and soft.)
When all our guests were gone E. did the washing of the cookie cutters all by herself.
And we had some more fun at the dinner table. E. made sure L. can’t take out her hair clip(s).
In the morning we went to buy winter boots for E. as this week it’s started to snow.
We lit the first candle on our Advent wreath today.
E. has been singing 12 Days of Christmas all day in birdy voice. (Check out this short video if you want to hear how a bird sings 12 Days of Christmas)
We’ve been playing with the choo-choo train nearly all afternoon.
E. read The Gingerbread Man for L.
I read How the Grinch stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss to E. as a bedtime story.
This was a quiet day. E. was in kindergarten and I was running errands. Little L. spent the whole day at her Grandma. We picked E. up from kindergarten together and we immediately changed into English.
At home E. found an old English writing practice book and started to work on it.
L. was walking around in her pretty red shoes the heels of which light up.
Of course, more stickers got on our Christmas tree.
In the morning Little L. and I went to the Helen Doron English session (Toddler’s Best Start is the name of our new course) which she enjoyed a lot because our new topic was vehicles (trucks, cars, trains, planes) L.’s been crazy about them lately.
But the highlight of the day was the play performed by E.’s kindergarten teachers – St Nick’s glove. It was a cute and loveable show.
My Mum was taking care of Little L while we were watching the play in the kindergarten. After having arrived home the kids opened some presents that St. Nicolas had brought to their grandma’s house.
In the evening the girls cleaned their boots and put them out into the window waiting for St. Nick to fill them with goodies. E. was really excited. She wanted to stay up to have a look at Santa.
I didn’t have to say twice to the kids to get out of bed in the morning. Within a blink of an eye they were in the living-room checking their boots.
They opened their gifts with great excitement. Although we were in Hungarian, they got books, and activities in English, some toys and sweets.
Our native nanny, N. was here in the morning and they tried to paint a magic booklet L. just got from Santa.
E. met “the real Santa” (as she put it) in her kindergarten.
In the afternoon Little L. met St. Nick in our main square. At first she was a little scared but then she got a candy (szaloncukor) and she kept saying she wanted to go back. We were in English but Santa and his helpers, of course, spoke Hungarian, still Little L. talked to me in English.
We didn’t stay out much as it was very cold and windy. All the way home L. buried her little face in my shoulder. At home we made Santa’s beard out of cotton wool balls.
We had some healthy snacks, like raw broccoli in the market and dried cranberries at home.
Our native nanny was here and E. showed her what she got from Santa.
In the advent calendar we found an instruction to put some Christmas lights on the windows. (If I can take a photo of it I’ll attach later on)
I was brave enough to give E. our paper-based Days of December album. She was cutting out some photos and I glued them in, but what she enjoyed the most was putting stickers all over the album.
In the morning we went shopping with E. as she’d grown so much that all her leggings are short, her socks are too small.
We were invited to our Helen Doron school to make some advent crafts. I’ve written a separate blog post on it.
We lit the second candle on our advent wreath.
The girls improvised dot-market painting. The end result looked like Christmas lights.
The girls had been eating so much sweets all day that I made them an obstacle race field in our living room where they could burn their energies.
We’ve started to prepare some Christmas presents and cards with E.
We received our Christmas photos. They turned out pretty well.
Our Advent Christmas tree is getting nicer and nicer with all kinds of stickers.
We finished some greeting cards for Christmas with the girls. (I’ll be writing a separate blog post on the cards and the baubles.)
Gingerbread party in the kindergarten. L. is a little snotty so she didn’t come but enjoyed the company of her grandma and grandpa. We could spend the day together with E. in her kindergarten.
What she enjoyed the most was she could show me her favourite toys and we could play together both inside and outside, in the playground. After lunch we came home and took a nap. Next we prepared some Christmas baubles we’ll give to her teachers and friends.
Last Helen Doron lessons of this year for the girls.
Little L. surprised her teacher, Z., with Christmas presents (a Christmassy pen and a Christmas card that we’d made with her hand-and fingerprint) and she said Merry Christmas in the morning.
E. gave her Christmas present to Zs. (her Helen Doron teacher) in the afternoon after her lesson. It was a Christmassy pen, the green-yellow bauble we’d made the day before and her hand Christmas tree card. She wrote Merry Christmas inside.
Zs. sent me how her bauble looks on her Christmas tree.
In the afternoon we went on to make some more Christmas presents.
With Little L. we made Christmas tree decorations out of air-dry clay and sequins.
With E. we made a clay hand-shaped , which I’d been planning to make for a long time but we didn’t have the time for it (see the source and step-by-step instructions of the idea on the link above).
They are all waiting to dry:
Our English-speaking friends visited us. In the morning my friend, B., who speaks only English to the girls, came over and played with E. and L.. She also stayed for lunch too. The kids were excited and a little ill so the whole morning was chaotic and tense. Still, we survived and spent the morning in the company of a much-loved friend.
After nap time N, our native nanny came to have our last session this year. On Tuesday E. invited her for dinner, so she stayed to dine with us. E. gave N. our little mainly home-made Christmas presents
and the girls also got a really pretty Christmas card with N.’s poem written directly to E. and L. How sweet is that?
I was preparing for Christmas while the girls spent the day at their grandparents. Both of them have a runny nose. I and my hubby are coming down with the same illness. At least we’re done with it until Christmas. (Fingers crossed)
I was lucky enough to buy white and silver lackmarker with which I’ll be able to decorate out Days of December album.
L. was really early bird, got up at 5, I managed to keep her quiet and in bed for an hour, hoping for her falling back to sleep but she didn’t. So we started cooking together. She woke up talking to me English. What a nice start, only if it had been at about 8.
When E. got up we prepared her best friend’s present for Christmas. She wanted to save the tatoo for herself, and of course, I needed to apply some body art immediately for both of them (Actually this was L.’s first tattoo ever.)
What’s more, we found some self-adhesive earrings. The girls got all pretty when they went to the library with their Dad.
In the afternoon we went out to buy infrared heat lamp as we are not getting better as for our health. And of course, we just couldn’t miss out on the choo-choo train in the shopping mall.
Late at night I put together the yearly photo book gift for the grandparents.
Literally, nothing happened today apart from lighting the 3rd candle. Well, it not totally true. In the afternoon I went to meet my friends. A little bit of me time is a big thing around here.
We went on creating more Christmas gifts, like this pine cone Christmas tree.
Two small snow globes were waiting for the girls in the advent calendar.
We read Maisy makes gingerbread about 15-20 times. Little L. loooooves it.
E.’s bedtime story was Angel Mae:
In the morning we “had to” make some more gingerbread. It was a family project. In the making Daddy needed to read Maisy makes gignerbread a few time. L. matched her rolling pin to Maisy’s.
As E. is into the periodic table again (I’ve already written a few words about her craze for the chemical elements in the post when she celebrated her 5th birthday) she and Daddy made the letters for the elements and Little L. and I were making more Christmassy gingerbread.
Today was the Christmas party in the kindergarten. We just went to give the presents to E.’s kindergarten teachers. We didn’t stay for the party due to our viral illness.
We also met E.’s best friend and gave her our Christmas present too. She also got some surprises for E. They played a little outside but it was terrible cold so we soon said our good-byes.
As we got home we finished the ring holder presents for grandmas and prepared our door wreath.
The girls used their second waterbomb at bath time.
The angels decorated the bedrooms with lights and window decor while the girls were away.
I started to prepare our very first home-made Christmas candy. (If I have time I’ll add the recipe later on)
Our cleaning lady was here today and we gave her our Christmas present. The girls got 2 beautiful baubles from her.
E. is into the periodic table again. We were listening to it all day instead of Christmas music.
In the evening we finished the Christmas candies with E. We dipped them into hot chocolate and put them in the fridge. There are 50 of them altogether. In the meantime L. was riding on Daddy’s back.
Our mistletoe is hung finally, and there’s been a lot of kissing under it.
We celebrated Christmas with my best friend, B., who talks to the girls English only. It was a fun party with really nice presents. (a clever bug, jewellery boxes, snug slippers, just to mention a few) . Below: Clever bug called Cutie came to have lunch with us. She eats only fruit as she’s allergic to veggies – according to E. 🙂
B. got here quite early, so she and E. helped me to wrap the Christmas candies. Just like my Mum.
And we tested them too. Yum!
In the morning we made pizza.
In the afternoon Daddy took the girls to their training.
While they were away I was cooking the Christmas dinner. This year there’s no fish. E. and L. like it more or less, but we’d decided that I’d cook their favourite: chicken soup, and stew with noodles.
In the morning the final touches were done before Christmas Eve, cooking cleaning and decorating. The girls opened the last pocket in the advent calendar where they found the star (in 2 pieces) and stuck it on the top of our paper tree.
Later we played a snowflake matching memory game we’d accidentally found.
While the kids took their afternoon nap the Angels brought us our gorgeously decorated Christmas tree. Nobody could enter the living room, where the Angels were working, until the sound of their bells.
While we were waiting for the jingle we made chestnut balls for dessert and got dressed in pretty clothes.
Around 5 o’clock the door could be opened and the kids were amazed by the sight.
The whole evening was about opening presents, playing together and having a wonderful Christmas dinner. According to E. this Christmas is not simply great but divine.
She said the best present was the chemical element cards, which she immediately put out according to the periodic table.
Linda loved everything she got she didn’t know what to play with suddenly. Maybe her very favourite one on Christmas Eve was the little pink scooter.
We celebrated Christmas at my mother-in-law’s place.
We celebrated Christmas at my Mom’s. Finally I could have a good use of my new camera.
The girls’ Godparents and their kid came over in the afternoon so we could surprise one another with presents.
E. went to the Helen Doron School for a one-day winter camp, where she had English sessions, arts and crafts, film watching all in English. Her favourite activity was making this bird feeder out of pine cone, peanut butter and seeds. As we don’t have a garden we hung it in the park near to our flat.
LITTLE L.’S 2ND BIRTHDAY PARTY.
In the morning we went to buy balloons for L. with E. We were in English and the lady in the party shop was amazed that E. understood both languages.
On the way we checked out the bird feeder and this scene waited for us:
We saw a robin, a finch and a blackbird that suddenly took wing as we were getting closer.
We went to see the bird feeder with Little L. and we saw this:
At nap time I picked up L.’s birthday cake (dairy and egg-free chocolate cake because of E.’ diet) and decorated the flat for the afternoon birthday party. It was just for our extended family.
Little L. was amazed by the balloons and all decoration but she was over the moon to see presents again, I’m not sure if she understood why there were so many gift at this time of the year (St. Nicolas Day, Christmas and now her birthday)
We were playing and playing and playing in English with all the toys and games the girls received for Christmas and L’s birthday.
A quiet New Year’s Eve. The girls cannot stay up until midnight so we celebrated in the evening with New Year’s Eve activity, sparklers and balloons in the bath and paper trumpets. They went to bed at about 9.30 and fell asleep immediately.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FOR EVERYONE!
I wish you all the best, loads of second language exposure, fun and happiness in 2018.
Here are our memories of December 2016. Every day I’ll add some picture or a story of the day. A nice memory to look back on. Some activities are in English some are in Hungarian.
Our advent calendar is on
Activity from the advent calendar: a nutcracker puzzle. Of course we read the story too.
Gingerbread party with our Hungarian friends
4th Dec Auchan shopping before Christmas. We got Auchan stickers and we made a good use of them.
Auchan Christmas tree
New play mats for Baby L. (E. put them together for her little sister)
Merry-go-round at the advent market with E.’s best friend. It was really chilly.
And waiting for St. Nicholas (Santa) to come. E. cleaned Baby Sis’s little shoes.
Opening loads of presents in the morning.
St. Nicholas (Santa) came to I.-Grandma too.
E. made a Christmas tree out of old number stickers. (I wrote numbers on a sheet and she had to put the right stickers on them. She gave it up half way, but I encouraged her to finish it.)
We walked the dog with E. and met a blind lady with her guide dog, Cloud. The 2 dogs were playing and E. was over the moon, running around, calling the dogs and giving them treats.
9th Dec E. got a new winter jacket and we went to the playground. L. fell asleep in the pushchair and there was some fun Mommy-and-big-daughter time.
E. opened the advent calendar with Daddy. They made a door wreath activity together.
10th Dec We went ice-skating in the morning but after 5 minutes E. changed her mind and didn’t want to ice-skate any longer.
The afternoon was about playing together and it was lots of fun. E. is getting better and better at Dobble:
The girls had a bath together for the first time 🙂 (no pictures of it… 😛 )
11th Dec Our pastor’s wife organised gingerbread decoration for the kids in the morning. We took some of our leftover decor pens and beads.
We had a board game afternoon. First, we played a little Dobble again, then E. found out a Fruit board game. You can read about how to play it in the instructions. Everything was her idea. I just drew the fruit. Baby Sis joined in… all she wanted to do was to eat the die.
It’s hard to read the instructions, so here they are: flower – throw again, x – miss a turn, a man – jump over, a fruit – name the fruit.
With my cleaning lady we tidied the kitchen cupboards and I gave away a lot of tea canisters and some mugs.
Helen Doron English session with L.
Not a very Christmassy art project, but these swans were E.’s own idea and she made the one on the left all by herself. Then I needed to follow her instruction and make a Daddy swan (on the right).
E. was at the grandparents and I managed to prepare for Christmas. Shopping and gift-wrapping is almost done.
16th Dec Christmassy domino game
We made a home-made Christmas present: nuts and dried fruit in a jar with honey.(In this blog post you can read about it in more detail – coming soon)
Our nanny, V. was here today and E. enjoyed her time with V. that she wanted her to stay for bath-time 😜
The girls have been enjoying their bath together so much.
Grandpa came and put on these 2 display bookshelves. E. wasn’t much interested as her favourite books are in her room next to her bed, but L. really enjoyed packing the books down and having a look at them.
18th Dec We did some Christmassy craft. Santa’s hat out of popsicle sticks and cotton balls.
At the beginning E. was enthusiastic, then we could hardly finish it. This was the day when the Angels stopped bringing her activities and fun tasks in the advent calendar. We hadn’t opened any of them since 12 Dec. E. didn’t want to… it took me a week to let go. 😩
We made Christmas tree ornaments as presents for 3 of our friends.
Then in the afternoon my best friend, B. (who talks to the kids in English only) came and we had a pre-Christmas celebration. E. got bath crayons as a present.
I bought a lovely teapot set for L. She loves when we sing I’m a little teapot at the breakfast table every day.
21st Dec E. and I selected some toys that she doesn’t like to play with any more and we offered it to a family where there won’t be presents under the tree for the kids.
22nd Dec No matter how hard I look for this day in my notes I find nothing 😕
I selected the toys and put away 2 small and 1 big IKEA boxes of them before the Christmas presents (and Baby Sis’s birthday presents) arrive.
According to our traditions the Angels bring the decorated Christmas tree, then Baby Jesus puts the presents under the tree. With bells they signal when everything is ready. We opened the presents and played a lot.
25th Dec We celebrated Christmas at my Mom’s
We celebrated Christmas at my mother-in-law’s.
Chilling out and playing… not with the new toys though…
E.’s all time favourite: Water Friends
E. and L.’s godparents and their kid came over to celebrate Christmas together.
29th Dec We celebrated L.’s first birthday
I wrote an article about the present galore at this time of the year. The article is in Hungarian and published on the first week of 2017.
We were invited to a house party to celebrate the new year. We made some chocolate balls with coconut flakes for the “party”.
That was all our December. Next year we might be making a paper-based album with the girls.
I know it’s February, but only by now have I managed to finish the last post about our advent activities of 2015. It’s hard to find time to work on the blog next to two kids.
So here comes some Christmassy and snowy projects:
I found this easy snowflake counting activity on a website I’ve been returning to a lot lately: Playdough to Plato
I printed and laminated the snow scene cards. I gave E. a lot of snowflakes (I had different kinds at home, like felt, Styrofoam or shiny plastic)
I thought putting the right number of snowflakes on the mat as it is shown would be way too easy for E. so I sneaked in some skip counting in the activity. I gave her the card with only the even numbers on – one at a time (2, 4, 6, 8, 10)
At the beginning she didn’t understand why, but after having finished with card 6 she asked for card 8. So I knew immediately she understood what we were doing.
After the activity she played a little more with the snowflakes. She grouped them according to their sizes, then made some patterns with the help of them.
I prepared this activity last year but she didn’t enjoy it so much. This year it wasn’t a hit either.
I took the idea from itsybitsyfun.com. If you click on the link you’ll find the printable for free. You just need to print and cut out the body parts and give them to your child to make the snowman, the elf, the reindeer, and Santa. If your child enjoys this kind of activity (mine does not) you can build funny bodies, like one with a Santa head but a reindeer body and elf legs.
Make a nativity scene
When E. was 1,5 years old I made an advent calendar for her in which she found little farm animals every day and, as we were getting closer to the 24th, also some angels and the Holy Family. On the 24th we made the whole scene.
The base I made out of a chocolate box. I glued a brown sheet of felt on it added some shiny felt stars. This is what we called the stable and this is where we placed all the animals one by one every day.
This year she got all the animals and angels, a Christmas tree too (not so authentic, eh?) to make the scene herself. (Although it was Christmas time, she insisted on wearing her Halloween Jack-o-lantern costume)
As I knew the 24th would be very busy time for us, parents, I prepared something dynamic for E. to run around and drain her Christmas excitement with one of her grandmas.
I printed the Christmas workout cards and the fun could began. I couldn’t take photos as I was busy with the food and decoration for the evening. But as I heard it E. had a good time.