Our first dental project 2. with free printable

E. turned 3 in May so we needed to show her teeth to a dentist. Just a general check-up. How lucky we have a dentistry next door! Visiting the dentist gave me the idea to take a closer look at teeth as a whole project.

1. Flashcards – matching real objects and cards

One afternoon on the way home from the nursery E. asked: – Mommy, did you make a task for me?

I did. This is what was waiting for her:

I prepared some flashcards with everyday objects related to dental health.

Electric toothbrush

She needed to match the objects with the pictures. While she was doing the matching and she didn’t know a tool I named it for her. (Much to my surprise, she remembered dental floss. Once she was watching me flossing)

Then she experienced how to use some of them. (Of course, she knows how to open a toothpaste tube or how to brush with a toothbrush)

Flossing

A new word learnt: vibrating

*scream* Mommy! It’s funny… and ticklish

Smelling the mouthwash

We don’t drink it, just spit it out

I asked her to help me pack back all the tools on the bathroom shelf. She refused….

You can find a free printable of the dental health flashcards at the end of this blog post. The printable also includes some dental tools which can be found in a dentistry, such as a mouth mirror, a saliva ejector, explorer etc.

2. Brush, brush, brush

I searched for an image of a mouth (lips and teeth) online, next I printed and  laminated it (well, actually 4). With dry erase markers of different colours I created some plaque and germs on the teeth. Earlier I’d save E.’s old toothbrush and she used it to remove the plaque from the teeth. She enjoyed this activity so much for the first time that she’s already done it 4 times since then.

The reason why she is smiling in the next photo is 1. she loves brushing 2. she named the mouth after one of her kindergarten mates and she made up a story around it:

This is L. and she ate M&Ms and now her teeth are dirty. I’ll brush her teeth clean.

Later on, I had to name which little girl or boy’s teeth she needed to brush and what they’d eaten.

Source of this activity: It’s spooky. I’ve found it on pinterest, but now as I’ve just wanted to link the site and it’s gone 😦

3. Egg carton teeth

I took the idea from Sense of Wonder Mom’s Let’s play dentist blog post.

She didn’t describe it in details how to prepare the egg carton teeth so I can share how I made it.

What you need:

  • a sheet of red construction paper or cardboard
  • an egg box (made of paper and not plastic)
  • scissors
  • glue and or cello-tape
  • coloured crepe paper pieces and/or yarn
  • a white yarn piece
  • toothbrush

How to make it:

  • cut A/4 sized red construction paper and curve two corners – this will be the gum and the tongue
  • cut out the dimples (where you otherwise place the eggs) of the egg box (I cut 10 dimples out of 2 different egg boxes as I was creating only the lower jaw but if you’ve got a lot more time than me you can make the upper jaw too then you’ll need 20 i.e 2 egg boxes)
  • stick the dimples onto the red sheet in a semi-circle (first I tried cello-tape, then fast-drying liquid glue. The latter worked better. I glued the sides of the egg box dimples and placed them on the paper. To make sure they are firmly stuck on the sheet I put two thicker books on the top. It took 10-12 minutes to dry perfectly.
  • wedge the crepe paper pieces and yarn pieces in between the “teeth”

First, E. brushed the sides and the top and I raised her attention to the leftover food pieces between the teeth.

Then she started flossing:

Look, I can take it out

We also talked about what happens when you do not brush properly. A cavity appears on the tooth and you need the dentist to fill it in.

So we played dentist:

  • I gave her a mask to put on to protect her against the germs
    – Mommy, why do you need a mask?
    – To keep the germs away from your mouth and from the doctor’s mouth
  • I took Daddy’s electric screwdriver that magically turned into a dental drill (unfortunately the battery of it was flat. It would have been fun to drill the tooth)
  • I gave her bits of tissue paper to fill in the cavity.

Little Dentist is ready to work

Drilling the cavity

filling the hole

She drilled and filled in two teeth then she got annoyed with the mask…

4. Brushing movement on a big molar

I made a big molar out of a plastic bottle. I cut off the bottom of it and painted it white. I provided E. with her old toothbrush and she started to brush it. (The idea comes from the same link above)

I told (and showed) her how to brush

  • the sides back and forth
  • the top with a circular movement (round and round)
  • the inside with a sweeping movement (sweep sweep)

Round and round, back and forth, sweep-sweep

She enjoyed these tasks a lot. So much she wanted to do them several times.

– Mommy, can I brush the teeth again?

– Draw some germs on the teeth.

– I want to floss.

We were dealing with these activities for a week. She was so fascinated by them I made some more. Come back later to check them out.

Does your little one like brushing their teeth?

Here you can download the flashcards (just click on the picture below):

Advertisements

FAQ

In the last couple of weeks I have bumped into a lot of mums who asked me similar questions about raising our daughter bilingual in a totally monolingual environment. So I collected a bunch of questions and my answers to them with some links from earlier blog posts:

  1. Do you speak to her English only?

No, I don’t. I can’t do that. My mother tongue is my mother tongue, no matter how high my level of English is. (High level of language command is relative. I always feel my English is deteriorating.)

I assigned certain times to speak English. When E. was a baby we had a timetable which meant that we used a little bit more English than Hungarian as she spent loads of time with me. Then we needed to change our schedule, still we had 50-50 % balanced language usage. (When she was around 2). Nowadays, (she’s almost 3) we are in trouble with the balance between the two languages as we do not spend so much time together therefore there is less English in her life. BUT! Her English basis is so strong that she asks for changing languages when she feels she misses one of them (it’s usually English)

Even today, whenever there are just the two of us she says: – Uh-uh, Mommy. We need to change into English. We are just two.
or
– I’ve already changed into English, because there is only Mommy and I.

 

  • When do you speak English to her and when Hungarian?

    There are many methods you can follow. What I use is a special one: I call it the timetable method. By now we don’t have a timetable any more. Whenever we can, we speak English, as the Hungarian input of the environment is too influencing.

  • When did you start talking to her in English?

    When we took her home from the hospital. At first, I was just singing songs and chanting rhymes to her in English. I wasn’t sure about what I was doing and it felt strange. Then I got some inspirations after having read some books and contacted some other moms in the same shoes. From the age of 6 months I’ve been talking to her in English just like in Hungarian.

  • Wasn’t she late with speech development?

    Not at all, although it would have been perfectly normal. She was about 1 year old when she could say 6-8 English words (and Hungarian ones too). Actually, her first word (bib) was in English. Of course, these words were fuzzy and not distinct for the untrained ears. But by the time she turned 18 months these words had become clear and a LOT more had been added to them. Not to mention, she started to build up 2-3 word sentences at that time too.

    I have to admit that the period between the age of 12 and 18 months was filled with more English sessions than Hungarian.

  • Doesn’t she mix the languages?

    She does! At first she didn’t, however, nowadays more and more. I’m not worried about it… okay… I am a little bit concerned, but I know if we keep up the balance between the languages she’ll have all the language tools in both languages to express herself. Most of the time she mixes Hungarian into her English because she doesn’t know a word or she can’t express something due to lacking a structure.

    Though it happens the other way round, too. She makes her grandparents puzzled when she asks for some stories with the telescope in it (mind you, pronounced it with a perfect British accent) or when she says she wants to play on the see-saw at the playground. Sometimes she names some bugs (bumblebees, wasps, ants) or plants (pansies, daffodils, shepherd’s-purse etc) she sees in the park in English. They can sort out this teeny-weeny language problem… for the time being.

  • What do you do when she mixes the languages?

    I keep on talking in the given language. I don’t change. And I do NOT advise you to let your child take the lead (although it is also an option.) I go on talking, let’s say, in English when she says some Hungarian words or sentences here and there. If I know she could say it in English I ask back: – What did you say? or – What’s that in English?

    If I am aware of the fact that she can’t express herself, I simply repeat in English what she said in Hungarian. Some sources suggest not to make your child repeat a word or sentence, yet sometimes I ask her to repeat just to reinforce we use English and help her fix a structure she cannot use (at all, or properly). Nonetheless, I’m not forcing it. Normally, she repeats expressions after me by herself. If she doesn’t want to, we move on.

    Also, you can pretend you do not understand what your child says, but in our case (we do not follow the One Parent One Language -OPOL-strategy; she can hear me talk both Hungarian and English) it wouldn’t work as my daughter knows that I understand and speak both. The other problem with this could be that your child can get frustrated if he or she can’t put an idea or a wish across.

  • What English activities/programmes can you take part in?

    We used to have a native British nanny for almost 2 years. I’m really grateful for her as she meant that I could have some free time (cooking, washing, ironing, shopping, cleaning etc.) while I knew English was still in focus in my daughter’s life. Now we are looking for a new nanny. If you happen to know someone in Budapest who would be interested I would appreciate it.

    I’ve organised a Mums’ English Club (MEC) in the library nearby, where mums gather with their little ones and chat in English while the kids play away. At the end of our sessions we sing some English songs for the kids. An afternoon session of MEC is badly needed but I haven’t had time to find a place where we could go free of charge.

    We’ve been taking part in the well-known Helen Doron School’s programme since E. was 10 months old. We are planning to leave it, but I’ll write about that in a later post.

    For almost a year we took part in a swimming course which was instructed both in English and Hungarian. We met there some non-Hungarian families who communicated mainly in English, so E. could hear during the swimming sessions that English is not just Mommy’s crazy language.

    We also visited Rhyme Time sessions (singing and playing in English) for a few times, but we do not go regularly.

  • Does Daddy speak English to her?

    He does. Daddy speaks a lot of languages, it’s no problem for him at all. What’s more, practising English regularly helps him improve his spoken skills as well. I suppose he also enjoys our English session;

    Again, at the beginning we did it differently. When Daddy arrived home from work we changed into Hungarian, but the whole day was in English. Nowadays, as I’m starting to work, E. is spending more time with the grandparents or she is in the nursery (not to mention that our native nanny, A. has left) we have been trying to fit in as many English sessions as we can.

    We have plenty of dinners, weekend programmes, playground visits, craft activities and bath times in English with Daddy. I’m very lucky, because my husband is very supportive concerning our bilingual project.

  • Can she say sentences?

    Haha. This has been the funniest question so far I’ve received. Sure she can. 🙂 Sometimes very complicated ones. I was really amazed when she said a passive sentence in the playground (– Look, Mommy, the other swing is taken) or when she talks to her soft toy using present perfect (– What have I told you?). One day she was replaying a Berry and Dolly episode (Gingerbread) that we watch in English.

    The following left her mouth: – I’m making gingerbread with the cookie cutter and then I’ll put it out in the winter (sic) to cold (sic). Magpie, (that is me) come and take it away.
    Later in the story: – Don’t take away that belongs to somebody else.

    Here is the episode.

    Not only her sentences but her vocabulary is also outstanding. I’m often surprised at how eloquent words she knows. The other day she called a pan saucepan. I don’t think I have ever used this word with herOr she can name different kinds of onions: leek, garlic, spring onion as well as varied expressions for the eating process: munch, chew, stuff your face, digest, feed, bite

     

  • How do you “teach” her (sic)?

    This is exactly how this question is asked most of the time.

    And the answer is : I do not teach her.

    What I do is to play with her in English just like in Hungarian. We do the daily routines in both languages. I try to prepare everyday and special activities for her which give us a chance to meet a lot of new situations:

    – experimenting,
    – prepping for holidays of the English-speaking world,
    – doing fun craft activities,
    cooking and baking
    doing housework together
    exploring nature
    reading books and singing a lot as well as watching videos

    These are just a few examples. In short, we LIVE our lives in 2 languages.

    +1. How shall WE start?

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started” – Mark Twain

So just start it.

If you want to get some ideas read through the blog… HAHA. Believe me, it’ll be much easier to find your own ways. But you can get some ideas here. (Feel free to search for keywords if you’re looking for something exact)

Start with some songs that you sing to your child while changing nappies or waking him/her up.

Search some videos online around a topic (cars, shapes, animals, numbers, planets etc.) that your child is interested in and watch them together. You can also explain what you see in the videos.

Learn some rhymes/songs with sign language and play with your munchkin.

Flashcards are almost always fascinating for children, but rather time-consuming to prepare your own home-made ones. On the other hand, our own flashcards are much more attractive to my daughter. You can find really good flashcards online, which you only need to print (and perhaps laminate).
If you don’t mind spending some money, you can buy some beautiful ones.

And I haven’t mentioned the endless opportunities that books offer to speak and practise a foreign language.

Again, these are some very basic ideas to start with your little one from an early age.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me either in the comments or via email. You can come and visit  my facebook page as well.

Enjoy!

Getting familiar with the ABC

I do not want to brag, but yes… a little I do. E. is so  interested in the letters and the ABC that, I do not exaggerate if I say, within a year or two she’ll be reading. In this blog post I would like to collect some fun activities we’ve been doing with the ABC.

-Videos/Songs

The very first favourite. E. was watching this video her mouth agape in amazement when she was 8-10 months old.

The traditional one is always the best (Upper- and lowercase)

A song about how to pronounce the letters – Phonic Song:

Since the age of 2 we have been watching a lot of Mother Goose Club songs:

She could watch it all the time. Sometimes she wants to watch them all day (if I let her).

Magnetic alphabet

I bought the first set of magnetic alphabet when E. was about 18 months old. She loved them at once.
First it was just one pack of upper case letters. We used it on the fridge, but the letters always fell under it. So I had a magnetic word game at home (for adults, the letters are too tiny for little children) and I started to use one of its steel boards (You can also use a steel tray or a magnetic whiteboard)

Then I bought another pack of both upper- and lower case letters later when we started making up words at about the age of 20-22 months. (Frankly, we don’t really use the lower case letter yet – age 2,5 years)

At the very beginning we just put together the alphabet from A to Z. We sang the ABC song and/or the phonic song while arranging the letters.

Adding the missing letters to the alphabet with Daddy

 I told her words starting with certain letters, like  E. for her name or D for daddy, M for mummy, A. is for our nanny’s name etc. As time passed I added some more words, such as E. is for elephant, egg, or A is for apple, ant and so on, not just names. I always tried to include things that she knew or she was really interested at that time. Within a few days she was the one who said the words: – B is for ball and bubble.

Next, we made up short words she was already familiar with.
Daddy, Mummy, M. (our dog), dog, cat, yes, no, hat, rat, egg, bat and so on. I have no intention to teach her how to read. She is the one who, from time to time, comes to me with the letters to play with. She’ll work it out by herself.

Matching game with the magnetic letters

What you need:

  • letters (magnetic, felt, play dough, cut out from cardboard, drawn on bottle tops)
  • plastic surface (e.g.: whiteboard, but I used an A/4 sheet that I spoiled while laminating. 
  • markers (not permanent!!!)
  • sponge or tissues to wipe the surface if you want to reuse it
First, I wrote three words on the laminated sheet (also drew some basic pictures)
I put the letters of these words mixed in a little container 

E. came and emptied the container.

And matched the letter. The interesting thing was that I didn’t need to tell her toe start from left to right.

She wanted to do it with our nanny, too.
When she got bored with it I wiped the surface off and at another time I made a new one with: yes, no, love, sun, hot, rat as you can see it in the photo.
She had to start with her letter, E.

 It was summer time we last did this activity, and now sometimes she “reads” letters on her clothes or, some book’s title.

Search for the letters – sensory bin (autumn)

What you need:

  • a container
  • bark (you can buy it in a packet at animal stores)
  • small object connected to autumn in some ways (berries, grapes, apples, pears, twigs, conkers, pumpkins, leaves etc. What I did was I chose 1 bunch of grapes made of plastic, 2 apples made of felt, 3 golden leaves, 4 pumpkins made of felt, 5 real conkers.)
  • letters (wooden, foam, felt, magnetic, whatever) of A-U-T-U-M-N
  • a sheet of the object and the letters of autumn shown
Throw the bark into the container and hide all your chosen objects in the bark. Put the sheet in front of your child and whenever they find something among the bark, place them in the right group, or if it’s a letter, then on the right letter.

And the search can begin.

This activity gives you and your child plenty of opportunity to talk about not only the letters, but also colours, autumn fruit, trees, leaves and berries, and in this case numbers too.

I still have several activities, but I’ll need to come back with them in another post. Try them, enjoy them and let me know how they worked out.

Dem bones – the skeleton craze

Let me start with THE song, the small pebble that started the avalanche
Dem bones

(Around Halloween it is quite relevant)

E. got crazy about bones and skeletons. So it’s time for us, parents, to learn a little too.
I didn’t have the faintest idea about the names of the bones. I used to have problems with them in my native language, not to mention English. However, I did everything to satisfy my little one’s hunger for knowledge.

Flashcards
I made skeleton cards for her. I found a blog (montessoriworkjobs) where there are black and white skeletons with the major bones highlighted in red. So I printed them and made flashcards.

Cotton bud skeleton – craft
Cotton bud skeleton craft can be reached in another post in more details.

fascinated by the skulls

 

gluing

 

sticking and pushing

 

final touch
finished

Child size skeleton puzzle
I found a child-size printable skeleton on a colouring site. You need to print about eight A/4 pages. You do not need much colouring 😉 I laminated the bones as I want to use them next year too.

the skeleton puzzle
after mixing the puzzle E. put the bones in place

 

“I’m a skeleton”

The book – The skeleton inside you

It’s a funny book with a lot of information on bones. When it says “your skeleton helps you run, jump and stand”, I added some more actions (squat, walk slowly, sit, roll, make a bridge, kick, clap etc.) and E. needed to do what I said. She enjoyed it a lot.

You have 32 bones in your arm

 

the rib cage and the skull protect important organs

 

Halloween costume skeleton

 

“Look Daddy, this is the femur”

Skeleton as food
E. was absolutely amazed when she saw this snack on her plate. Since then I need to cut skeletons out of everything.

Last but not least: Skeleton costume for Halloween

These are H&M skeleton pyjamas and gloves



I do not need to comment this. Or if you wish you can read about our MEC Halloween party we had.

I hope you found some ideas useful if your little one is also obsessed with bones and skeletons.

Shapes, shapes, shapes – there are all sorts of shapes

E. is into shapes to a great extent. About 2 months ago (when she was 16-17 months old) she already knew all the basic (and some not so basic) shape names. So it made me think what we can do to practise and play with the shapes in more varied ways.

When E. was quite small, around 6-8 months old, we watched and we’ve still been watching the following videos concerning shapes.

The Shape Song

Shape Song 2

We have some new favourites. While we are watching some of them she bursts out with laughter, like in case of the following:

Miser Maker: I am a shape

The next video might seem very monotonous and boring but my daughter loves it and sometimes wants to watch it 4 or 5 times.

What shape is it?

There are a lot more videos on shapes but I do not want to bore you. You can search for them on youtube.

E. got a shape cube for her first birthday, but she was totally untouched by it after taking a first look.

Birthday present with potentials

Mostly, I was playing with it and she was watching, or was just playing away next to me. When she was about 14-15 months old, she started to name the shapes out of the blue, much to my surprise.We also use the shapes of the cube to match shapes in a little bit more different way. I took out a piece of paper and 9 shapes from the cube (I don’t know why 9… it could have been 5, 7 or 10. It was a sudden idea.). With the help of a brown crayon I drew them around (E. was watching closely and tried to help a bit too 🙂 )

Then I gave her the shapes and I didn’t even have to tell her what to do. She started to put the shapes on the paper.

 

To initiate more talking I always asked what she was doing, what shape it was she was holding etc. Plus, she sometimes said the colour of the shape, too, all by herself.Sometimes E. needs motivation to eat. At dinnertime I prepare some ‘soldiers’ and different shapes carved out of bread, ham, salmon or veggies. It is much more fun for her to eat a pentagon or a triangle than a slice of simple cucumber.

 

When she turned 16 months we found some books in the library on shapes. This picture dictionary contains two pages of colourful shapes (solids too).

 

Before taking the book back to the library I had these (and some more pages) photocopied and used the shapes to make flashcards as well.

And a famous favourite (alas, we’ve got it in Hungarian in the library but this unfortunate fact does not keep me back to use it for other language purposes):

 

Another Hungarian one: Kun Fruzsina: Formák

Stars

 Last but not least a Baby Einstein book on shapes:

There are tons of books on amazon.com all about shapes. No matter which book you use, but it is another fun way to talk about shapes and see them in different contexts.

Baby’s Best Start (Helen Doron beginner baby course 3rd CD)  has a song about shapes. We listen to it twice a day and E. knows it by heart. Also, the book contains pages of shapes and objects of a similar kind (circle-sun, triangle-sail, square-book).

Often E. identifies shapes by herself. On the table-cloth of our dining table there are some diamond shapes and whenever she walks past she points at them and says: – Little diamond. Here. Big diamond. There.

On the basis of this experience, sometimes we just walk around the house and identify shapes. (The mirror is a rectangle, the washing machine is a cube, the socket is a square and the hair bobble forms a circle etc.) It is also a good idea to collect smaller objects of different shapes in a light box that your child can walk around with. When you have like 10-15 things you can throw them all onto the floor and group them according to their shapes.

For E.’s first birthday I also bought a second-hand  Froggy with shapes on his tummy. When you turn it on one of the shapes starts flashing. You need to push the flashing button and the Froggy starts singing a famous nursery rhyme/song (Star – Twinkle, Twinkle, Triangle – Mary had a little lamb, Circle – Pat a cake and so on). Unfortunately, the square does not work any more, so whenever E. tries to make the square work I sing the Helen Doron Shapes song.

As Christmas was here I was planning to do a little christmasy shape fun, but I did not have time to make it. You can find a lovely Christmas tree decoration game with shapes here (ketnyelvugyerek.hu). The description is in Hungarian, but the picture speaks for itself.

Or a similar activity from Super Simple Learning with a template.

Another simple 3D Christmas tree decoration fun:

http://buggyandbuddy.com/christmas-activities-kids-decorate-felt-christmas-tree/
We are going to do all these next year I am sure, as a little revision. 😉

Finally, let me show you a picture of shape chaos after an hour of playing: