Jump&Fun Camp with Little L

Little L.’s first English summer camp has just started. In this blogpost I’m going to collect the happenings and activities.

First of all, I’m also at the camp as an English-speaking helper next to my university mate A, who organises the Jump&Fun camp for non-native English speaker kids. Apart from us, our British nanny C. is there too, together with a Hungarian, kindergarten nanny to help around the kids.

The age group in the camp was really varied ranging from 2,5 up to 13,5. We needed to concentrate on working with the kids in smaller groups according to their age. It was quite a challenge to integrate them, but we sorted it out smoothly. It was exciting to see how well kids interacted with their peers and with older/younger kids.

The location of the camp was pretty central in Budapest. A playhouse provided two rooms for us.
(All images in this post © 2019 GA, LE – please do not download or share)

Day 1

The first day turned out great. We arrived at the playhouse location around 8.30. There was a getting-to-know each other game with parents and kids. L. was silent all through the ice-breaking game and didn’t want to speak to anyone, so I was her English voice.

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We got a very practical red hat and Jump&Fun rubber bracelets as presents. L. chose the blue bracelet (her favourite colour), of course. After that A. started a Jump&Fun session with the whole group: 22 kids out of which 2 are her own. There were a lot of singing (Hello Everyone) and playing involved with balls (Roll the balls) and moving around (Green light Go!) that the kids loved. The session took about 35 minutes.

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Around 10 we left for the playground with the kids and had real fun there too. The weather is very hot this summer but this playground was mostly in the shadow. The kids played in smaller groups at different parts of the playground (jungle gym, sand pit, swings, football pitch, see-saw etc). The teachers who were supervising them joined in the kids’ game and talked to them in English only. It was fantastic to see how these little children understood almost everything and quite a lot of them were able to interact in English as well thanks to taking part in A’s weekly Jump&Fun sessions and the English time they spend with their parents at home.

First, I was with a group of kids at the jungle gym and the slide where I helped them climb up and slide down etc. commenting on every detail of what they were doing. I also moved with some of them to the swings where I was singing them swing songs and other songs that came to my mind.

Last but not least they cooked me sand cakes and lunches and it was so sweet to see how much they were enjoying their playtime. Sometimes Little L was disappointed that I didn’t focus on her alone, but she also had lots of fun.

We had a short snack/singing break then the kids went back to playing.

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Lunchtime was at about 12.30 where everything went in English too: bathroom time, serving the food, wishing them bon appetite, helping with the spills,  etc. Lunch was ordered and delivered hot for the kids. The amount was too big for children and there was plenty of leftovers unfortunately. I brought our own food from home due to our special diet.

The little children went to take a nap in another room where A. read them a short story and sang them lullabies while the older kids who do not sleep anymore together with C., the native nanny, had some activities and play time in English.

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After this we left the first camp day and went to Grandma to take a nap as E. has her first German school camp at her new school she’s starting in September and we needed to pick her up in time early afternoon. Little L wanted to stay at the camp for the nap time too, which is a clear sign she was enjoying herself.

But at the camp they were very active in the afternoon too.

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Day 2

After arrival the kids had breakfast and a Jump&Fun session with lots of English songs, games and moving around.

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Everything went in English: everyday activities like offering food, washing hands, reading books, singing songs while getting ready for going out etc.

All the children understand nearly every instruction, but most of them answered in Hungarian. Gently I could direct some of them to say some sentences (requests, thank yous and other simple interactions) but they knew a lot of songs and whole books by heart in English. It was amazing to see other kids feeling comfortable in English not just mine.

Later we headed to the park to play and splash in the water. (It wasn’t my favourite part as it was a kind of public fountain and I’m a germaphobe) The kids looooooved it. Again, we were spending time with the kids talking to them in English, singing to/with them songs about splashing, the sun and the summer. (Oh Mr Sun for example)
Older kids played with C, the British nanny, games like What’s the time Mr Wolf, Duck, duck, goose, Colour shark and other playground games (Check out this book about playground games.)

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The ones who got tired could rest on the blankets and play Dobble or other quiet games.

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Lunch was at the same time as the previous day. Little L wanted to stay for the nap time, but I had to stay with her for a long time and finally she managed to fall asleep. During naptime I played with the older kids. The topic was All about me, so we played with body parts, clothes, feelings, the game called Simon Says. The kids drew around themselves and we made a Summer Suzy and Winter Willy picture, which they enjoyed a lot and added several details to the drawing, like jewellery, bags, a crown and other accessories.

Going home was a rush. After nap time it took quite a while to leave the camp with Little L and we were late for picking up E. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay for the afternoons at the camp.

Day 3

Around breakfast some kids were working on the books that everyone got titled All about me. We were talking about the same topic as yesterday but from different perspective, plus the book offered fun sticker time for the younger kids.

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Some other kids who didn’t feel like working in the activity book, painted a magic picture using only water. Still, the painting turned wonderfully colourful.

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In the morning while A. was having her Jump&Fun session with the younger kids I was making faces with the older ones. Little L stayed with me of course 🙂 and made her own face as well. This activity comes from the Flying Tiger shop; a book of face templates of different kinds with tons of body parts and accessory stickers. We made some really funny faces. The kids were commenting what they added, finally they talked about the faces they’d made and had a good laugh.

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We left after lunch to pick E. up from her school camp in time.

The afternoon was spent with a lot of arts and crafts, more Jump and Fun sessions and a lot of playtime in English until the parents came to pick up their children.

Trace-your-hand animals

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I can draw myself 🙂

 

Day 4-Day 5

To be honest, I was low on energy at this point by the end of the day so I stopped writing daily notes. Still here are some fun moments from the last two days of the camp (which had more or less the same schedule as the other days).

Playground time

Relay races in the park

Pizza for lunch

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Fireworks painting

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Making prop for the show

End of camp show
(a Jump&Fun session with all the children, and an act with the bigger kids performing Sugarlump and the Unicorn by Julia Donaldson). Both the kids and the parents enjoyed it very much.

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At the very end of the camp kids got 2 books best suited for their age out of these beautiful Usborne books:

Apart from the baseball cap, a rubber bracelet, they also received a balloon, and an eggshaker, a certificate and a group photo of the camp:

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All in all, the camp was absolutely fantastic, active and full of English time for the kids. It’s very difficult to work together with so many children (I’m only used to my 2 girls and they ARE often rather tiring) but it was very rewarding and energising. It’s absolutely wonderful to see these little children being able to interact in English and having loads of fun on their way of acquiring the English language with ease. Thank you for the great experience and all the fun!

 

 

Flags of the world

E. was on pins and needles to get the Flags of the World Book and Jigsaw set as she’d been quite crazy about flags. And it finally arrived thanks to BookFairy.

This was the second time she’d got interested in the flags of the world, and again this interest started with a song or two from youtube:

Countries of the world – Europe (there are the other continents available)

Tour of the world (There aren’t too many flags drawn in this long video but there are a lot of fascinating information about countries of the world)

Back to our puzzle present:

The box contains 300 pieces of puzzles and a colouring book in which you can colour the flags, plus there are interesting facts and other information about the countries, like the meaning of coats of arms and other motifs on flags, the story of the flag, the meaning of colours etc. The puzzle pieces are sturdy and the colours are vivid.

 

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To be perfectly honest I was a little taken aback when I saw the 300 hundred pieces lying on the floor with all the bright colours of the flags (My knowledge of flags are scarce, what’s more, I’m not very good at puzzles either), but I showed no signs of worries to E.

It was Little L.’s nap time so we had about 2 hours to put the puzzles together.

E. got really excited from the beginning. She had a quick look at the book and we jumped into the middle of it.

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She didn’t know how to start so I advised her to find the corner and edge puzzles that would give us the frame. And so we did.

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E. was amazing throughout the whole process. She recognised almost all of the flags and countries. It was very helpful for me to have the country names below the flags. (For her it didn’t really matter, she knew them anyway –  click to listen what she tells you about the flag of Lybia).

Finding a piece gave her great pleasure and excitement. (If you click on the link you can see her find a big section of the puzzle)

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There were times when her attention slackened off but I can’t blame her as it was a task that required great and long-term focus and attention. She still did a great job concerning that.

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Not to mention we were rather under pressure as for time. We couldn’t finish the puzzle within 2 hours. Little L. woke up and joined us (which was a drawback rather but she was so cute and enthusiastic to help). She could actually put in some pieces herself.

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The whole project took about 3-3.5 hours for the 2 (3) of us. When it was done E. was really proud and told me we needed to show it to Daddy when he got home. We slid it under the carpet to protect it from damage and Little L.

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The colouring book got into our hands the next day. E. doesn’t like colouring that much but when I advised her to colour the flags of English-speaking countries she liked the idea a lot. Her favourite flags are the ones with special shapes, or with speacial motifs. So she went on colouring some more flags like Nepal and Santa Lucia.

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We also coloured together, she chose Kiribati for me while she was colouring Solomon Islands.

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She didn’t colour much of the flags in the book, though she was reading it a lot. (Click on the link to listen to E.’s reading out about the Union Jack)

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Update 02/2019

We moved house and we come across the puzzle and book box while unloading one of our boxes. She was supposed to help me put books on the shelf, but instead she sat down to read the flag book… again.

And here she’s reading about the German flag.

 

Clouds

Autumn has arrived and the weather has changed. E. is busy with identifying different forms of clouds and predicting the weather. Little L. started to get interested in the weather board that we haven’t used for several months. So our new topic for the time being is weather.

E. has been reading 3 new weather related books lately:

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Clouds have had a great effect on her. She’s been examining the clouds as soon as we get outside.

I saw an excellent activity concerning clouds on pinayhomeschooler.com and I’ve been waiting to do it with E. The time has come.

I took out some cotton balls, pillow filler, some gray and black markers. We needed a blue surface/background serving as the sky.

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I chose it to be light blue felt sheets (except for mine as we had only 2 and Little L wanted to join in. So mine is a black construction paper sheet.)

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We had a look at the book Clouds by Anne Rockwell and checked the clouds from the top layer downward and made them out of the cotton balls or the pillow filler (The latter is not the best option for making it grey but much better for the fluffy, thin clouds)

Little L. lost interest quite quickly after the 2nd type of clouds and started to play with the cotton balls, then went to the toy kitchen. When she started to feel bored I asked her to got and play with Daddy as she began destroying our clouds. She said: – I’m not playing with you. – sulkily and added: – I go play with Daddy.

E. was reading the descriptions from the book (you can watch a video of her reading out loud) and we made the clouds accordingly (pulled them out to make them long if they were stratus clouds and make them round and puffy if they were cumulus clouds.)

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For me it was extremely challenging as I had not had any memories of cloud types from my studies and I couldn’t make a difference among the many kinds of clouds. Even when we finished I wasn’t able tell which is which apart from 2 or 3. Well. E could…

At the very end of this activity E. collected all the cotton balls and pillow filler and played the so-called “cotton ball bag” game. She was throwing the bag of cotton balls into the air and either her or Little L. caught it. They laughed lot.

 

Mix it up!

New York is book lovers’ heaven. After our NYC trip, we returned with tons of children books we bough at a really low price. One of them was Mix it up! by Hervé Tullet. It’s an interactive book about colours and colour mixing.

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There are several activities online based on the book. You can check them out on pinterest, but I decided to make our own. A simple but fun activity that my 2 and a half year old could do easily and with joy. (You can download your free copy at the end of this blog post.)

Before starting the worksheet, they were just painting for fun in their journals. (We put a piece of cardboard under the page so the paint doesn’t bleed through.)

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Next, I gave them the Mix it up! copy for each of them. First, they painted the primary colours, blue, red and yellow.

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Then came the mixing. Little L. needed help with washing the colours out of her paint brush, but she wanted to do it all by herself.

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E. painted and mixed the colour like  a pro.

In the meantime our native nanny, N. arrived and joined in. They wanted to paint some more so everyone got a sheet of paper and free painting continued.

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Little L. got tired of the limitation of paint brushes and she started to use her fingers. She used more water than paint. In the end she decided to throw her last work of art into the bin. (lucky I could save the others.)

The difficult part came: cleaning up. The girls could choose what to clean up at the end. E. chose to wash the paintbrushes out, L. helped me put away the paint and clean the table.

Now here you can download your free copy of our mixing activity.

I can highly recommend both the book and the painting activity. Have fun!

 

 

Books we read in May

The girls had their own favourites this month. E. fell in love with Dr. Seuss (again) and L. rediscovered Spot’s stories. Here comes this month’s list with short reviews.

Colour coding: E.’s favourite, L.’s favourite, both girls loved it

E. (6)

My name is not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry

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This is a book about a little girl who turns herself into famous and great women throughout history, from Rosa Parks to Marie Curie. She is brave, great, clever and loveable.

Nine Ducks Nine by Sarah Hayes

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It’s a witty book about ducks teaching a fox a lesson, directing him to fall into the river in a tricky way.

The peace book by Todd Parr

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At first I though E. will love this book, but finally Little L. asked me to read it many times. The illustrations are really simple and very colourful. The idea of peace is really nicely explained in a simple way. There’s a lot to talk about on the basis of the book even with older children. Mommy,’s favourite too.

Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss

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Both kids enjoyed this book, like all Dr. Seuss’ books. Surprisingly, Little L. was patient enough to listen to it all the way through. E. likes reading it by herself. Again a lot of rhyming pairs, funny and eye-catching illustration. A great classic.

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

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This month this book was E.’s favourite. She loves the funny sounds, the more and more complicated story and structures, word games, the rhymes plus the funny and unexpected ending. It’s more difficult to read for her because the spelling is challenging and the words sound similar to each other. Still, she read it out loud few times.

Little Red Riding Hood (Usborne Young Reader)

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My daughter is still not a big fan of classic fairy tales. We read it 2-3 times but she wasn’t much impressed.

Chicken Licken (First readers)

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Repeating all the names of the animals throughout the story many, many time makes even adult readers smile.

L. (2y 5m)

Tractors (DK)

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Surprisingly the tractor shaped book wasn’t a big hit with Little L although there are lots of big pictures of tractors and their parts and what they do on the farm.

The very noisy night by Diana Hendry

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Little L was a little afraid of this book I guess. But E. enjoyed it, mainly the illustrations. Her favourite picture is whan Little Mouse goes into Big Mouse’s bed finally and Big Mouse has hardly any room left in bed. Again there are a lot of things to talk about in this book. The illustrations are really detailed and I can highly recommend this book if your little one is scared of the noises at night.

Little Mole’s adventure from Spring to Winter

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This was E’. favourite book when she was about L.’s age. Both in English and in Hungarian (I have to emphasize here for my Hungarian fellow moms that Varró Dániel’s translation is absolutely fantastic). However, Little L. was unimpressed. E. was still fascinated by it, not to mention the fact that Daddy still knows some parts by heart.

Spot’s garden by Eric Hill

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Though it isn’t a lift-the-flap book, Little L. really enjoyed accompanying Spot through planting his own garden. Probably our planting sessions had a great effect on her, what’s more she loves all the spring and planting songs.

Spot says goodnight by Eric Hill

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A must-have bedtime story. Simple pictures, simple story, a lot of repetition. What else do we need to help the language sink in.

What can you see Spot? by Eric Hill

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Spot goes and explores his surroundings. The illustrations serve a great basis to talk about animals, plants, parks and what we can see in different places. When we go out for a walk we imitate that we are Spot and look for thins that he also sees in this book.

Show me your Smile! A visit to the dentist by Christine Ricci

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As far as I could judge this book is NOT for a 2-and-a-half-year old, but L. fell in love with it and she’s been asking me to read it 3-4 time a week. My guess why she likes it so much is that it’s interactive. Dora asks her questions and she answers them, She needs to find the X-ray photo of her teeth and the crayons she wants to colour with. So she feels she is part of the story. Though I’m not sure how much she understands it.