Jellyfish

As E. is into sea animals and we haven’t had a craft project in ages, I though I would put together this easy jellyfish craft for the girls. I was keeping my fingers crossed throughout the preparation so they would both enjoy it.

What I prepared:

  • 2 paper plates (the bottom was cut off in a semi-circle line)
  • two colours of paint (pink and green; baby paint for Baby L. would have been better)
  • 2 paintbrushes
  • 2 pairs of googly eyes
  • 2 colours of yarn (pink and green)
  • glue
  • scissors (2 pairs)
  • marker (black)
  • hole puncher (I punched the paper plates before we started the activity, so it wasn’t around)

After nap time I put everything on the dining table and placed Baby Sis in her high chair. She was quite excited. E, with a curious smile on her face, settled down next to us. I told them easy instruction as we went along because of Baby Sis.

Like: Here is your paintbrush. Put it in the paint. It’s green. E. has pink. Touch the yarn. This is glue. I’ll put a dab of glue on the paper. etc.

First, we painted the paper plates. ( I used a hairdryer to speed the drying process up)

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Baby Sis tasted it a bit and wiped it in her hair.

Then I told them we needed to cut pieces of the yarn.

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Baby Sis enjoyed touching and pulling the yarn apart.

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E. was great with the scissors and cut quite many stings which were more than less the same length.

On behalf of Baby L. I was cutting the yarn. She took great interest in the scissors.

We halved the yarn pieces, the part which formed a loop went through the punched hole on the paper plate. Then the other end of the string was pulled through the loop. These stings made up the jellyfish’s tentacles.

Finally, we glued on the eyes and drew a mouth. E. did it all by herself I worked for L. while she was busy with something (fingering the yard, trying to open the scissors, putting the googly eyes in her mouth so I needed to be really watchful)

Baby Sis decided to decorate her jellyfish with the marker a little more so E. added some spots and eyebrows to hers.

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We displayed the happy jellyfish on our living-room door. When Daddy came home he immediately noticed the lovely creations.

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This activity was absolutely great for both girls:

  1. At long last we had a CRAFTY afternoon.
  2. L. had great SENSORY experience.
  3. E. practised fine moter skills like CUTTING with scissors and threading.
  4. L. learnt the word jellyfish and listened to new INSTRUCTIONS.
  5. The girls had fun TOGETHER.

E. is 5

Another year has gone and we celebrated E.’s 5th birthday last weekend. This year seemed faster than the others. With 2 kids, with many programmes the days are long but the year is short.

She has grown a lot, actually she’s grown out of all her clothes during wintertime. She’s grown not one but 2 sizes. Compared to her 4-year old self 3 sizes.

She got a “big girl” bike for her birthday. It’s size 16′.

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She’s quit taking naps in the afternoon, still she’s got quiet time for 1-2 hours, depending on Baby Sis’s nap. She reads in bed or plays with her water animals, then an hour later she sits at her table and draws (stories about Waterland, an imaginary place where fish and cetaceans live freely)

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A Mother’s Day present from E.

Likes:

  • water animals
  • reading books
  • lying in
  • talking
  • jumping on the sofa
  • games on the tablet
  • rain
  • going to the library
  • tomato soup and lentil dish
  • ice-cream

Dislikes:

  • having her fringe cut
  • being in a hurry
  • getting out of the bathtub early
  • shouting
  • Baby Sis touching her drawings
  • going to bed early
  • competitions and races
  • making her hand dirty
  • changes
  • trying unknown foods

Her main interest of this year has been water animals, mainly sharks and cetaceans – whales and dolphins. She’s been reading about them, drawing them, playing with them (made out of plush or on the tablet – Real Whales) , watching them on youtube or on TV (NatGeo).

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Real Whales game

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A book she designed on the basis on the game Real Whales (the red parts are buttons you can push and hear certain whale sounds
When she takes a break from her whales she listens to the Periodic Table Song (that she’s learnt by heart like the youtube star, 6-year old American girl Julia Barker. The only difference between her and Julia is that E. can sing it in real-time and not the slower version)

After or better to say next to chemistry, dinos returned in her life as well for a short while.

Due to health reasons she stopped going to kindergarten in November 2016. She had been ill for 6 months when we decided it was enough. After 2-3 DAYS in the kindergarten she had to stay at home for 2-3 WEEKS to recover and as soon as she returned everything started all over again.

Although she’s not in kindergarten she hasn’t missed kids’ company. We’ve regularly been meeting her old kindergarten mates either at the playground, at their birthdays, or  while going for a short excursion on Magaret-island nearby.

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We went to the Helen Doron Halloween party as well as their Carnival. Our friends’ children came to visit us before Christmas to have the usual Gingerbread Party or she’s had fun with her Godparents children.

 

We’re not buying books in Hungarian any longer as we signed up at the local library and she rather borrows books. On the other hand, I buy a lot of English books online. My best source has been Kadosarok on facebook. The books are second-hand and affordable, sometimes rreally cheep indeed.

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Quiet time scene
As for books, apart from the water animals, she enjoys reading and acting out Julia Donaldson stories. We’ve read and/or acted out Room on the broom, Gruffulo, The whale and the sail, What the ladybird heard, just to mention her (and my) favourite ones. I have hidden some more J.D. books for the near future to explore.

Apart from Julia Donaldson books she finds it fun to read Richard Scarry‘s books both in English and Hungarian.

As for her reading skills, she is absolutely fantastic. She reads fluently in Hungarian, only words with 6+ syllables can cause her trouble sometimes. In English she is a bit slower but one day I heard her reading one of her ocean encyclopedia without any problem. She’s amazing.

The love of chess has faded and slowly dissapeared this year, but taking photos is still in. Her favourite topics are nature (flowers and trees), toys, our dog (who’s passed away) and her baby sister.

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Unfortunately, I haven’t had time for many craft projects this year. With 2 kids at home, with the little one tearing, crumpling and destroying everything she touches it’s almost a mission impossible. On the other hand a lot of times E. wasn’t in the mood or wasn’t interested in what I prepared for her (like the paper plate heart activity she gave up after 2 minutes)

But here are 5 of the fun craft activities we managed to do and enjoyed a lot:

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Olympic medals and the 5 rings

Ocean picture with stickers

Painting a tree with a cork

Christmas wreath

Napkin storks

She watched only 2 animations this year: Finding Nemo (in English at home) and Deep (in Hungarian at the cinema). I looove going to the cinema but I find it too early for her to go regularly. She’s got millions of questions during the film so it’s quite disturbing for other viewers. We can stop the films and discuss whatever she’s interested in here at home.

E.’s relationship with her baby sister is getting better… quite slowly. They still cannot play together for more than 3-5 minutes. E. sometimes tries to show her books but L. gets bored within few minutes. They’ve been taking a bath together for quite a while, which is fun for both of them. E. developed a copy cat game. It starts at dinner time and she copies whatever L. is doing or saying. Baby Sis enjoys it a lot. There’s plenty of giggling and laughing in the evenings. However, there’s the other side of the coin. L. drinks from E.’s flask, crumple her drawing or scribble in her books, screams at her, pulls her hair or scratch her out of the blue. Understandably this makes E. angry.

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I feel as if her English has stagnated, although sometimes she has some utterances which I listen to agape:

“Tiger sharks are really fierce; the stronger baby sharks eat up the smaller brothers and sisters in their mommy and only the two strongest are born.”

She read this piece of information all by herself from this book:

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Our Canadian nanny has disappeared and to be honest I wasn’t pushing her coming as she had some other priorities in her life and became unreliable towards the end. So now MY priority is to find another native speaker who enthusiastically provides the native input in our language quest. I’m on it.

E. speaks English fluently at a near-native level, close to what a 5-year-old native would speak. Or I just guess as I don’t know any 5-year old native child personally. Her active vocabulary could be a little wider but as for her passive vocabulary, I think she understands everything even more academic language. I found a test online which approximated her vocabulary to more than 4000 words.

I really need to focus on a variety of grammar structures (e.g. complex conditional sentences, correlative constructions – the… the… ) as well as idioms and sayings (e.g. I’m all ears, an apple a day keeps the doctor away) I’m using more consciously as she picks them up extremely quickly and starts using them if I use them systematically and frequently. The phrases in brackets are the ones she has starteted or at least tried to use.

I cannot be any prouder of my beautiful, clever 5-year old daughter. She’s the best!

Many happy returns, Sweetie!

Ocean animals foam stickers

E. got a pack of ocean themed foam stickers. She got so excited that I had to find out a something so she could stick them somewhere immediately.

I wasn’t in a very creative mode, I just gave her a sheet of blue construction paper and I joined her drawing some underwater scene.

We were just drawing and sticking… simple and great fun. Just what she wanted to do

The bottom of the ocean is ready: plants, floating algae, rocks and a sparkly starshish

Some animals at the bottom, some are floating, and a dolphin is jumping out:

Art in action on a messy table:

Finished:

E. took a photo of my ocean scene:

 She took out another sheet and made another ocean scene:


Vocabulary used:
crab
octopus
seahorse
dolphin
starfish
shell
seaweed
coral
(a school of) fish
rock
algae
sand
swimming
floating
jumping

I guess I need to buy another set of foam stickers 🙂

What do we have to do with Australia? – Part 2.

Our Australian friends (who we’d met on our honeymoon in Istanbul) came to Europe for a cruise on the Danube. Their ship left from Budapest and they could visit us as well. They killed two birds with one stone and it was again a great opportunity for E. to “test” her English. (You can read about E.’s 1st real life test here when she met her English speaking cousin)

As soon as M. and B. arrived at our place, M. and E. hit it off. E. wanted to show her room and her kitchen and what she cooked. I was astonished to see it as she is never so open and welcoming to anyone, not to mention a stranger. There was no language barrier as such. It was absolutely natural for her to use English with M.

E. got some sweet presents (soft toys and books) from M. and B, which were all Australia related.

Presents for E. – Books

At first, she was a bit afraid of Jacko and the beanstalk (I guess because of the scary crocodile), but by now she’s okay with it.

She really loves to identify the Australian animals in the little booklet in the top right corner. As this book also includes the national anthem, we spent one evening after dinner to listen to it on youtube

(together with several other national anthems, like the British, the US, Irish, Spanish, Colombian and the German)

Toys E. received from M. and B.
Her favourite is the platypus (E. named her Platy). And we agreed they can talk in English only. She accepted it without any problem.

So our friends, M. and B., came to our place. I showed them around our area and invited them for a traditional Hungarian lunch (goulash soup, fried chicken breast in bread crumbs, mash potato plus green salad).

E. took a nap and as soon as she woke up we left for Szentendre, a town near to Budapest on the bank of the Danube.

Szentendre in pictures
Just arrived
Main Square

On the bank of the River Danube

We had a wonderful time together. E. proved her great level of English again. We’ve been enriched with some books on Australia, some stuffed animals from the country and the time spent with this lovely couple.

Thank you, M. and B.! We hope to see you again!

What do we have to do with AUSTRALIA??? Part 1

In short: Nothing. In more details: last month (April) we met a lovely elderly couple from Australia who we’d encountered on our honeymoon in Istanbul in 2011. Quite unusual.

I’ve taken  the opportunity of their visit to Hungary to introduce Australia to E. She loves planet Earth anyway. She already knows about continents (her favourite is Antarctica) so Australia will be fascinating for her. I hoped…

Map of Australia

As E. enjoys looking at maps and our big picture atlas I made a map colouring activity for her. I just printed a blank Australia map with the states drawn on it and after naming each states we coloured them one by one.
E. is practising her A
I also wrote AUSTRALIA below the map and E. traced my letters.
This Australian map puzzle was quite time-consuming to make but the result was beautiful and E. loved it. The link gives you a detailed description how to prepare it. In my version I laminated the pieces. As Queensland and Western Australia consist of 2 parts I sellotaped them together. Then I added sticky back velcro (bought them on sale in Auchan).
The background is a big blue cardboard

 

sticking

 

FINISHED!
I couldn’t buy a big enough cardboard to fit Tasmania in the right place. What a pity!
We can also use this puzzle map in the long run (I also plan to introduce her some cities as well as animals and famous sights. We’ll use this map to pin cities, animals and sights up on it and put it on the wall to display)
She has done the Australian puzzle map several occasions. Sometimes she even said the names of its states.

Painting the flag

As the puzzle map gave me a hard time we did not twist the flag project. I printed a blank Australian flag and painted it while we were talking about what is what on the flag

  1. The British Union Jack flag is in the upper left corner – noting Australia’s ties to Great Britain
  2. The Southern Cross constellation (5 stars) is on the right side of the flag. The constellation can be seen from everywhere in Australia
  3. The large, white, seven-pointed Commonwealth Star
Of course, we displayed our pieces  on our living-room door. You need to imaging the composition as I’ve forgotten to take a photo of it.
Work in progress
Let’s start!

 

Animals of Australia

First, I created flashcards of the most commonly known Australian animals. (See a printable at the end of the post)

Kangaroo                                         Duck-billed Platypus
Koala                                                Cassowary
Emu                                                  Brown snake
Wombat                                           Salt Water Crocodile
Dingo                                                Echidna
Tasmanian Devil                           Frilled Necked Lizard

E. has already heard about and seen a kangaroo in the zoo, and also seen pictures of koalas. She knows the (white) wombat from the video titled Red Rabbit, Green Gorilla. She is also familiar with the look of a crocodile or a snake as well as an ostrich, which can remind you of an emu. So first, I showed her 7 flashcards out of the 12.

As most of the animals had a familiar look I decided to add some information to the flashcards on their backs.

We had a look at Australia in our Picture Atlas Of The World.

As on this map flora and fauna is depicted, I showed E. an animal, I said its name and  she needed to find it on the map. When she found it we placed the flashcard on the map and I told her some interesting information (1 or 2 pieces) about the animal (eating habit, place of living, offspring etc.)
She was laughing at the platypus and found the Tasmanian Devil cute.

When we finished with this she wanted to see them in real life so we sat down in front of youtube and watched a few interesting videos. (I had prepared for this request so we didn’t need to waste time with searching for them)

The Cow Goes Moo – Kangaroo for Kids

I’m a Kangaroo
 

I’m a Koala

Bindi and Robert Irwin feature huge salt-water crocodile

Platypus: Animals for Children

Bindi and Robert Irwin feature: Wombat

E. was fascinated by the platypus, mainly its webbed feet. So we needed to draw a Mommy and Baby platypus webbed “feet”

We’ll have a look at the other animals later.

In the next part:

E.’s 2nd test of her English; the lovely time in Szentendre we spent together with our Australian friends (M. and B.). – You can read about E.’s 1st real life test here
E. got some sweet presents (soft toys and books) from M. and B.