Dreamcatcher

The girls have a bad dream every now and then, but lately more often. So I looked up easy dreamcatcher ideas on pinterest and we made them to chase nightmares away. Not to mention, it serves as a great craft activity for the crafts class for school (schools have been closed due to the corona virus pandemic, so we’re all at home)

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(Warning! It’s not so easy, there are easier ideas on the pinterest link above)

What you need:

  • popsicle sticks (coloured or plain)
  • hot glue gun
  • thread of different colours
  • feathers
  • beads
  • scissors

How we made it:

First, I prepared my own dreamcatcher to show it to the girls. As soon as they saw it they got excited, though E was a little hesitant to make it at the beginning.

We needed a circle to begin with, but I didn’t want to use a paper plate. I can’t cut a neat hole out of the middle, that’s why I decided on the popsicle sticks.

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Both chose a colour and put together the frame, which is in real a pentagon. To make it easier for them to create the frame I pre-drew a pentagon (When I made the sample dreamcatcher after having glued the sticks together, I drew around it.)

While we were waiting for the hot glue gun to work, I was talking about the dreamcatcher.

They immediately realised the web, and the bead spider. I told them that the nightmares are stuck on the web and the imaginary spider eats it. They really enjoyed this idea.

But of course, the question is: What happens to the good dreams? I showed the hanging feathers and beads. The light feathers direct the good dreams to reach the sleepers.

I was a little worried about the hot glue gun because of my curious 4-year old, but she and her elder sister too, handled it with care.

So, we glued the sticks together (they needed help) and started the webbing.

I advised the to choose a thread colour that contrasts well with their frame. So they did. And of course, the spider bead was crucial.

E. tied her own thread at one corner of the frame, I did this for Little L. and we fixed it with the glue.

While threading you need to make sure that the thread is tight. Poor L. was a little light handed and had to start it again, but she didn’t give it up.

Towards the end of the webbing we thread the bead on and also fixed it with the glue (you can simple put a knot before and after the thread, but gluing was easier and the kids really enjoyed that I let them use the hot glue gun.

The next step was choosing the feathers and beads for the hanging decorations. The bead I’d chosen had too little holes, so we picked pony beads.

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They threaded the beads of their choice and I helped them both tie up the feathers and beads on the frame.

Little L. was close to give it up towards the end when the thread was falling into many thin threads (plus she didn’t sleep in the afternoon) but finally, she hung in there and finished it with my help.

The results are beautiful. The girls showed them to the camera real proudly. We’ll put them into practice tonight.

 

 

Chinese New Year

This year the festivities of the Chinese New Year started on the 25 January and I decided to talk about it with the girls through some crafts.

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Originally, I was planning to make some printables concerning Chinese New Year (which is also called Lunar New Year) but I had no time so I picked 2 crafts that seemed fun.

Whirling Dragon

The whirling dragon is very decorative and fun to make although my kids didn’t seem to last until the end of the project as it takes quite a while.

What you need:

  • paper plate
  • red paint and paintbrushes
  • coloured markers/pencils
  • scissors
  • glue
  • string
  • stapler
  • dragon template from the Red Ted Art blog (it’s free)

You can follow instructions from the link above.

We painted the paper plates in two goes as one side needed to dry first, then we could go on with the other one. Well, the kids lost interest after the painting and a lot of waiting. (We dried them on the radiator)

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I printed the templates and the got excited again so we coloured them together. At this point we checked the lucky colours of the Chinese New Year Festival to bring good luck to our home with the dragons. These were red, yellow, green, blue and white.

Again, they had enough of colouring, so I needed to cut out the pieces. This took even me a lot of time.

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They returned for the stapling and a little bit of sticking. Little L. glued on the tail and legs then ran away. E. helped with the stapling but wasn’t in the mood to glue so I finished them off.

After having hung them in our hallway they admired the dragons, but all in all they were not as fascinated by it as I thought they would be.

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Still, we talked a lot about the traditions, the animal zodiacs and the festivities in Asian countries.

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Chinese Lanterns

I was searching for some Chinese New Year crafts for the kids while our English speaking nanny, N, was here and playing with E and L. I made a prototype of this lantern, which raised the kids’ attention and wanted to make the lanterns immediately.

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We took out some coloured paper and followed the simple instructions:

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We drew lines along which the kids could cut a staight line. Little L cut like a pro. E needed to be reminded of the correct position of her arm.

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We used a stapler to fix the lanterns insted of sticky tape.

Both E. and L. enjoyed cutting and stapling, what’s more, they loved how wobbly the lanterns became.

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We displayed out creations in the hallway.

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A very easy craft that you do not have to prepare beforehand.

While working on the lanterns, the kids started to sing a German song that E. had learnt in school for the St Martin’s Day lantern celebration and, of course, Little L knows perfectly well.

By the way, Chinese New Year celebrations are ended with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the firs lunar month.

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We also metioned the Chinese zodiacs and identified who is which animal in our family:

  • E. is a dragon just like her father
  • Little L is a sheep
  • myself is a horse

2020 is the Rat’s year.

We might do some zodiac crafts so stay tuned.

Happy Chinese New Year

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!

Mother’s Day suncatcher

I really like suncatchers and they are easy to make even for the smallest hands. Here is what we made for the Grandmas this year.

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What you need:

  • contact paper (self-adhesive cover for school books)
  • tissue paper (“selyempapír”) of any colours
  • other decorative elements that are as flat as a sheet of paper (We used hearts and flowers)
  • coloured paper

How to do it:

First, I cut a heart frame out of yellow coloured paper ( I used a template for the heart but you can try to draw a symmetrical heart with this technique). I also cut a piece of contact paper peeled of its back and stuck the heart frame on the sticky side. After that I cut along the outer line of the heart.

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I prepared a lot of decorative elements on a tray for the girls to choose from. It could have been more varied but time was scarce.

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They decorated their hearts as they wanted to. Even my two-year old could make a really nice present for the Grandmas.

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Try it next mother’s day and let me see your decorated hearts in the comment section or on Nonnative Mommy’s facebook page . (This idea is also a great Valentine’s Day present by the way 🙂 )