Baby Days for L.

While E. was having fun in her summer camp at our Helen Doron School, Baby L. took part in her very first Baby Days. There are 6 days this year (3 + 2 day within 2 weeks) but we could go to only 5. The days are organised around topics and the teaching materials are made up of HD (Helen Doron) course material and the teacher’s own ideas.

Day 1 – Vehicles
There were a great variety of vehicles during our 45 min lesson:

car, bus, plane, helicopter, police car, sailing boat, paddle boat, bicycle, train, submarine (!) backhoe (wow), ambulance, canoe and some I forgot…

I found it a little too many for such small kids, but they didn’t mind at all, what’s more ever since the lesson L. is pointing at every vehicle and says: “auto” (car) or shows the sign of the train. On the way home she wanted to get on the bus. So I can say she was captivated with vehicles.

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There were plenty of fun activities:
-what’s missing
-match the vehicle to the place it belongs (bus-road, train-tracks, ambulance-hospital, backhoe-building site etc.)
-drive a car yourself
-drive your car on the road (road carpet and many matchboxes)
-what’s in my bag? (pulling out a lot of toy vehicles)
-ship in the water
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-make the frog sit in the vehicle
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-fit in the vehicle in the wooden puzzle
-place your vehicle in the city
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And of course, bubble blowing and dancing couldn’t have been left out.

Day 2 – Fruits, colours (painting)

Again an action packed day with fruits and colours.

Pulling things out of a bag or a hat is always fun for little hands.

Putting the the fruit on the right colours was a challenge for everyone.
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A big tray of fruit to tastes. An array of colours. L. was attracted to the banana slices only. What a pity!
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Painting is a messy business with such tiny kids. But our teacher took the risk and it was real entertainment for the little ones.
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Day 3 – Animals

There was quite a lot of revision at the beginning of the lesson: colours, fruits and vehicles. The best revision game was when different fruits were stuck on the IKEA peg and hammer toy. Kids needed to choose a fruit and hammer it, naturally with the help of an adult. But the main focus for today was animals, mainly forest animals.
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We started with some well-known animal flashcards (dog, frog, kangaroo, cat etc.) then Z., our teacher, introduced the new ones (owl, raccoon, bear, fox, deer) together with some plants (mushroom, flower, tree). The bingo card was acute way to practice them but L. was more interested in the bead manipulatives.

Next, we had a little colour revisions with mushrooms, then we got some really colourful, fluffy and thick pipe cleaners to tickle different body parts.

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Some more matching of rabbits and foxes and the Goodbye song started… too soon.

Day 4 – Family
There was a change in the teacher (our teacher was taking a break) so the lesson was little different but still fun. The focus was on revision rather than the main topic: family members.
The following activities took place:

  • puzzles with colours and fruit/veggies
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  • pulling and identifying soft fruit and veggies from a hat
  • sorting vehicles according to their colours
  • stamping on coloured paper
  • swinging with family members
  • adding the missing family members to the right family
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Of course, there were a lot of singing and dancing as usual. Our little group mates changed a bit but L. didn’t mind it the least bit. It’s true that she was a little more interested in other things, like pillows and cars she’d found than some of the activities.

Day 5 – Feelings (and body parts on the face)
On our last day we had plenty of funny, smiley and sad faces to L.’s great delight. There was very little revision, which we did not mind at all.
We started with the element of surprise 🙂

Our teacher, Sz., pulled out some surprising objects from a bag. A ball that could be extended, a plush hammer that said “bang” when kids hit with it, a cat that said miaow, a singing monkey, a very bouncy ball, 2 surprise eggs and a jack-in the box kinda cow. All the children’s jaws dropped open.

Next, we got some paper plate faces the mouth of which could be turned round showing either a happy or a sad face. Our teacher used glad and unhappy instead of saying happy or sad.

A mirror appeared and the kids could look at themselves, which they really enjoyed. They could place kissy lips or a moustache in front of their mouths. They didn’t really want to, though. Two eyebrows could be drawn on kids’ forehead, whoever wanted. L. got some heat rash on her face so we rather stayed away from the face-paint.

The following game was a puzzle made out of paper plate. Everybody got a different emotion.
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Then came the funniest part. Sticking eyes, nose, lips, moustache, ears, hair, on a head shaped image. We really had fun making funny faces. I made one sleeping face as L. is fascinated by a sleeping face.
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After that a little counting. Counters (beads) needed to be places on the jumping monkeys.

Some revision of family members. Kids placed the missing animal from the given family sheet.

We finished the session with some grapes tasting and black pepper smelling (these two are connected to a HD song that we, of course, sang afterwards). I wasn’t very happy with this activity. The grapes were not cut in half and after sniffing into black pepper L. kept on sneezing. Just for your information, no kids were harmed during our session 😉

We’ve had lots of fun nicely spread throughout 2 weeks. If you have a chance to try baby days at a HD school I encourage you to give it a try.

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Timetable for 2017

In the last couple of years there hasn’t been a fixed timetable as for our English usage. There used to be a daily/weekly routine when E. was little but now life has become a little more spontaneous … or shall I say chaotic?

There are 3 fixed activities for the week and these are the following:

  • Helen Doron English class with L.
  • Mums’ English Club with both kids
  • E.’s nanny’s visit

daily-and-weekly-schedule-2017

What you see above is the plan, however, several times it is overwritten by illnesses, emergencies or simple laziness. I’m trying hard to include 1-2 hours of active playtime with Baby L., but if I want to be perfectly honest sometimes we go 2-3 days without any English. It makes me sad and worried about her English language development.

I was planning to take E. for a Saturday drama class that is in English but we’ve been ill quite a lot or we had to make up for the lost time at the weekend so I decided to postpone this activity for September.

My hope is to find another nanny for Baby L. as our Canadian nanny only comes to play with E.

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E. (15 months) in the zoo with our nanny, A.

I clearly remember the time when E. was as little as Baby L. now and A., our British nanny at that time came to play baby games with her. Such a vivid and lovely memory. I’d like L. to experience the same.

I was checking sitters.hu and also contacted 3 of them but I haven’t received any replies yet. Still hopeful.

So that’s all about our English activities for the year.

Baby Sis started a Helen Doron course

Baby Sis is a big girl now and it was time to start her very first course of her life, where she can hear English in an organised way from other people that me or her sister.

First, there was a free session for those who wanted to see what goes on at a “lesson” on the second week of September. Then I totally forgot to take photos as L. was really tired and whiny. We had to start the day early to have time to take E. to the nursery and to get to the school by 9. It was almost impossible but we made it. Luckily, the other sessions start at 9.15 which makes a huge difference.

Next time was much better as E. was taken by my mother-in-law and Baby Sis could get a wink before we got to the school. She was more relaxed and curious. She made new friends and got familiar some teaching material.

 

There are 6 kids and their moms in the group: 3 boys and 3 girls. The youngest is about 5 months old and the oldest is about 18 months old.

In an other post I have already written about the Baby’s Best Start programme when we started it with E.

Everything goes well as for the course, though I’m a bit sad that it is not E.’s old teacher (Zs.) who holds the sessions.

Still, we’ll have lots and lots of fun, like bubble blowing, swinging, shaking noisy instruments, banging and so on.

Baby sister’s 3 months old – beware: a long post

Time flies with 2 kids. L. is already 3 months old and loads have been going on. In this post I’ll try to focus on her development and what I do with her in English though it’ll be hard.

First of all, some parametres:

She is 57 cms “tall”, 5.23 kgs. Her eyes are still blue. Her hair is light brown (showing tinges of ginger) and getting longer in the back and started to grow in the front. She only sleeps on Mommy or Daddy, or in the sling. She can’t push herself up while on her tummy but can lift and turn her head nicely. She’s got her first 2 shots at the age of 2 months. She gurgles and babbles a lot. She’s smiley if her tummy is full, on the changing table or when she can look around. Though she’s got a stomach ache quite often mostly in the evenings then she cries desperately. She’s breastfed and I can see white lines on her lower gum so the crying might be caused by the staring of her teething.

English time:

The routine is the same as it was with E. I just started it earlier (at her birth) with L. Whenever we are just the two of us I speak English to her. I’ve already introduced the little song we always sing with E. before changing languages (showing the Makaton signs to L. as well):

Hello, hello how are you?
Hello, hello, it’s good to see you.
I say hello, I’m happy that you came

I say hello, please tell me, please tell me, please tell me your name
Mommy (pointing at me)
L. (pointing at her)

(This song is -or rather used to be- the theme song of a BBC series Something Special. On the link you can listen to the new version of it. But you can use any song of your choice if you want to signal the beginning or the end of the language usage)

So what we do in English:


1. Lullabies

It seems I sing continuously. Whenever I try to rock L. to sleep I sing the following lullabies:

Rock-a-by baby

Hush little baby

Go to sleep lullabies (Go to sleep, Moonlight so sweet and pale, Golden slumbers)


(This last one I used to sing to E. ALL THE TIME. You can check out a less detailed post about E.’s first 6 months)
2. Changing table fun:

When I need to change L.’s nappy or clothes (and we are in English) I start with this rhyme:

…. (child’ name) ‘s got a dirty nappy.
What shall we do? What shall we do?

Clean is up, clean it up
For Mommy, and for you.

When her legs are free from clothes I make her little feet march:

Oh, the grand old Duke of York

(I march with her feet) Oh, the grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men,
He marched them up to the top of (Lift her feet up) the hill
and he marched them down again. (Put her feet down)
And when they were up they were up. (Lift her feet up)
And when they were down they were down. (Put her feet down)
And when they were only half way up, (Wiggle her legs)
They were neither up nor down.
(When I sing UP I lift her feet up, and when I sing down I put her feet down)
I go through her body parts with this song from the BBC series Something Special- Baby episode (The song starts at 4.03 mins in the video but it’s worth watching the whole episode)

Two little eyes that open and close
Right in the middle a little nose
Two little ears on either side
one little mouth that opens wide

That’s baby (2x)

Two little legs that kick and wiggle
Two little feet that like a tickle
Two little arms that stretch up high
Two little hand that wave goodbye

That’s baby (2x)

The other thing she likes is tickling under her chin (or rather double chin *grin*). I chant these two rhymes:

Round and round the garden (stroking her tummy in a circle)
Like a Teddy Bear (showing the teddy bear sign)
One step, two steps (walking my fingers on her tummy)
Tickle you under there (tickle her under the chin)

Another variation can be you do the circling in the palm, the walking movement up the arm and tickle the armpit in the end


Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man (patting the tummy)
Bake me a cake as fast as you can (patting faster)
Pat it and prick it and mark it with B (patting/rolling movements on tummy, forming a B with fingers)
Put it in the oven for baby and me. (2 palms up as if putting a tray in the oven, when saying BABY I tickle her tummy)
If you want to sing a tune here it is.

And finally 2 finger plays:

1. This little piggy went to market
This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed at home
This little piggy had roast beef
This little piggy had none
And this llittle piggy cried wee wee wee wee wee all the way home

Have a look at a video of This little piggy by Patty Shukla:


2. Two little dickie birds sitting on the wall
Two little dickie birds sitting on a wall
One named Peter the other named Paul
Fly away Peter, fly away Paul
Come back Peter, come back Paul.

Here is a video about what to do with your fingers:

3. Bath-time
As for bath-time I have a great helper apart from Daddy and that is L.’s big sister, E. She helps taking off L.’s clothes, 

prepares what we can put on her afterwards, checks and throws the nappy into the bin, helps with the splashing too 🙂
Great practice for E. and L. hears not only me but her big sister talk in English. Sometimes we play the changing table games together again before bath-time.
One day E. sang a song for her little sister while I was busy with something and Daddy was preparing E.’s bath (that’s the noise in the background)
—–Oh, no! I can’t find the video anywhere 😦 As soon as I find it I’ll put it on——–
They’re just too cute.
—– 23/07/2016 I found the video 😀 ——-
4. Books
Baby books, of course. Black and white board books, cloth books or touch and feely books. 
Sometimes she just looks at the books while in the playpen/on the play mat and at other times I describe what she sees or tells her a story around the characters on the pages.  I’m working on a short list of useful and fun baby books you can read about in the next post.

5. Baby’s Best Start
When L. has some tummy time or just looking around in her playpen I put on Baby’s Best Start Helen Doron CD about once a day. I’m not showing to her anything (no pictures, no soft toys, nothing) she just getting familiar with the music. I’m planning to start the course with L. soon, maybe September. (And I think we should restart with E. as well.)

Our new timeable for 2014

New year – new timetable. First I though we have been spending less time with English in 2014, but I was mistaken. We are spending more time with the second language than according to the previous year’s timetable.

Here is the new chart:

49 % English time, 51 % Hungarian time 

Of course we are flexible, this is just the plan. An illness, some unexpected visitors or a change in our helpers’ schedule can alter the timetable but this is more or less the main framework.

You can see two areas in the timetable (Friday late afternoons, and dinner-/bath time) which are neither clearly dedicated to English nor Hungarian, or, I can put it, they are the most uncertain periods of the week. The reason for this is D. has been working a lot and because of his long hours we never know if he is at home at these times or not. So when he can’t make it we use English. This is how we compensate for missing daddy.

Our native nanny, A., comes twice a week, a total of 6 hours per week.

A. and E. are reading Berry and Dolly

The timing of the Helen Doron sessions has been moved from the mornings to the afternoons and on a different day (Wednesday) but we still have one occasion per week. To be honest, we are not listening to the CDs as often as we used to. It is mainly because E. is a little bored of them (me too…) and she knows them all by heart, so what for? Still, she enjoys the lessons, especially painting (I’ll write more about it in another post) and moving water from a teapot or a dish to a cup. Playing with scrunchy balls -crumpled newspaper sheets with cello-tape around them- and pots are also among her favourite activities. We sometimes play with them here at home as well.

Fascinated by the baby paint

Even if it is a Grandma day (using Hungarian) at the end of the day I always try to fit in some English playtime, cooking time, shopping time or playground visit etc.

whisking egg yolk

The weekends are the trickiest. As I really want father and daughter to build a strong and warm relationship we (the three of us together or just the two of them) have quite a great number of programmes  in Hungarian environments. I find this more important than the language development.

Daddy time

However, at weekends I always try to spend some hours with English. These are not long, and not so interactive or highly communicative activities, like watching videos in English, or reading a story in English.

I’m looking into our bilingual future with confidence and great hope. 2014 will be even more successful than 2013 was.