Summer camp 2.0

We wouldn’t have missed this year summer camp at our Helen Doron School. Last year it was a wonderful experience for E., this year she’s been waiting for it with great excitement.

Day 1 – Rex Animal Farm

The more tiring programmes were at the beginning of the week as the kids had more energy. After a short getting to know each other and an English session they headed to Rex Animal farm.

The whole group at the gate of the farm (as you can see they all got a HD hat):

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Lots and lots of animals

 

 

Some playground time:

 

The best thing ever happened at the end of the day on the way home:
E.. – Mommy!
M.: – Yes.
E.: – Do you know what happened today?
M.: – What, Sweetie?
E.: – I made a new friend.  Kapcsolódó kép

It took me quite a while to find out her name and who she was, but ever since the first day they were hanging out together.

Day 2 – Tarzan Park

E. had been waiting for this day a lot. She loves this fun park and she had been there before but had never tried the water playground area. Well, we packed her swimming suit and sunscreen in her backpack. But they started the day with the English session

 

Water playground – the weather was kind to them

 

Of course, they had fun on the other playground areas too:

 

E. did sleep well after the fun-packed day.

Day 3 – Crafts and playground (water bombs, slime)

This day was all about slime, fingerpaint, waterbombs, and fun at the playground apart from the usual English lesson in the morning.

Day 4 – Crafts and ice-chalk

Just like the other days the kids enjoyed themselves mostly in the fresh air. Though they prepared a UFO in the morning (or in the afternoon… I don’t remember. I really need to write the posts when they actually happen.)

I’m not sure if it was this day’s craft or one of the previous days’ but here is the result of some finger painting:

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English lesson – preparation for the performance

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And playground time where the ice-painting took place with some home-made ice-chalk.


Conversation between E and Zs (the teacher):

Teacher: – Did you like the ice chalk?
*no answer*
Teacher: – How was it?
*long pause*
E: – COLD.

Picnic in the park:

 

Day 5 – Performance for the parents

Again I’m uncertain whether the kids got their tattoos on the very last day or on another day but here’s E’s Sunny, the Cat. It lasted for almost 3 weeks much to her delight.

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And of course the final performance, where the kids showed to their parents what they’d learnt throughout the week (though I’m positive this performance was just a tiny piece of what they’d learnt). They were singing, dancing, creeping like a snail 🙂 and it was evident that they all enjoyed it very very much.

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I might add a video soon, so come back and check it out.

 

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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.

More Jump for (Jo)E(y)

Unfortunately, our native nanny’s disappeared completely so I decided to look for another. In vain. I haven’t been able to find anyone. This is the reason why I decided to go back to a Helen Doron course. E. needs a regular input and, although it’s not a native input, at the moment this is the best option we have.

In April 2017, she started the More Jump with Joey course, which she enjoys to a great extent.

Here are the details of the course:
(Here I have to emphasise that I’m NOT in any business relations with the school so this blog post is not an ad. This is only my personal experience.)

Timing:

Once a week (though Cds have to be listened to twice a day, which, honestly, we don’t do. We watch the videos once or twice a week)

School:
(Nyugati téri Helen Doron English Language School – the link takes you their facebook page)

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entrance

 

The Shcool looks of high standard. There’s a little playroom right by the entrance where children or siblings can play while waiting for the lesson to start. They can also cool off here after the lesson.

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playroom
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waiting area

There are 2 rooms (a bigger and a smaller) for the lessons. They’re really well-equipped with teaching materials, games and toys that help playful learning. There’s always some kind of refreshment (lemonade, tea etc.) for anybody who visits the school. The walls are nicely decorated with colourful English stuff, like motivational quotes, kids’ drawings, course materials and posters. It’s colourful and engaging (a little TOO engaging for my E. who could study these posters for hours if I let her :D)

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I have to mention here that the school created a nest with all the “chicks” (i.e. children) in it and on the surrounding branches. With this project the school won NatGeo subscription. I can’t wait to read it in the waiting area.

Teacher:

Well, we’ve known Zs. since the start of our Helen Doron Early English adventure. She was the one who we started with and after a little break we start again with. She loves kids, she’s cheerful and dedicated to teaching kids, gives motivating and versatile lessons during which all senses of the kids are involved. Kids have fun in English and strictly in English with her. What else could I ask for? (Perhaps a native nanny, pleeeeease)

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Zs. with Ella Doron

 

We’re very lucky with our HD teachers. Z., Baby Sis’s teacher, is very similar to Zs. (not just their initials 😉 ) Z. teaches with the same techniques, devotion and love for little children just as Zs. The “WOW” factor is always present at their lessons.

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Z & Zs

Group:

The maximum size of the group is 8, but they are just 7. Five girls and two boys. This proportion is absolutely great for E. as she is the phase of not fancying boys. (Oh, my… it’ll change too soon…) All the kids are around her age (5+). The kids in E.’s group have been going to HD lesson for quite a while. Scarcely do they speak Hungarian among themselves.

Teaching material:

First reaction: finally a useful backpack. Seriously, backpacks in the earlier packages were totally useless.

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The teaching material targets children aged 7-9. The More Jump with Joey package contains 4 workbooks (sorry! MAGICAL workbooks). During this very course they are covering 1 workbook within 3 months’ time. Animated videos are available on the DVD. 4 Cds are also included in the package (not seen in the pic above) with the stories and conversations. I wish there would be a Cd with the songs only so we could listen to them in the car.

Above I’ve highlighted the magical workbooks. There’s a special app that can be downloaded via Google Play Store to your android phone or tablet (via iTunes for Apple devices). If you place your device over the workbook pages signed with the magic wand the characters come to life.
Watch a video about this so-called augmented reality that makes real fun for the kids to (re)do the activities.

As for the content, there’s a lot of revision of the earlier materials, which are expanded during the course (songs like Hey diddle, diddle, or vocabulary of food and furniture etc). The stories have a lot of references of traditional English rhymes, songs and stories. Kangi, the kangaroo mother is a trouble-shooter, who comes whenever the kids are in trouble or need a mediator in conflicts. Just like the previous courses, More Jump with Joey includes plenty of other real life skills apart from learning the English language, such as co-operation and team work, expressing and handling feelings, problem solving etc.

The only thing I miss is that I myself cannot be there at the lessons. I play quite a lot with the magic wand and watch the videos with E.  whenever I have the time but the lessons are full of enjoyable games and activities. Fortunately, Baby L. still needs me at her lessons where I can have some fun, too 😀

Mummy lantern

This Halloween was quiet. E. wasn’t so excited about it this year and Baby Sis is too little to understand it at all. The party we wanted to throw had to be cancelled as some families got ill some other went away for the long weekend.

Therefore a calm and peaceful (not at all frightening) family fun took place on the 31st.

E. and Daddy went to buy a pumpkin in the morning and after decorating our living room with some Halloween decor …

… Daddy carved the pumpkin. (We made it lit up with led tea light inside as last year due to the flame the pumpkin got cooked on the inside and rotted away quite quickly. Not to mention the fact that led tea lights are more baby-friendly). E. drew the eyes and the nose of this year’s jack-o-lantern.

Then came a little crafting. Mummy lanterns. (The original idea came from last year’s Halloween party at our Helen Doron school).

At first I wanted to make only 2 mummies, but E. had something different on mind. She wanted a mummy family.

What you need:

  • 4 baby food jars (2 little and 2 bigger)
  • 4 (led) tea lights
  • gauze rolls (cheap at the chemist’s)
  • 4 pairs of googly eyes
  • glue
  • cello tape

How to make them:

  1. Wash the label off the jars
  2. Fix the end of the gauze on the jar with a little cello tape
  3. Wrap the gauze around the jar (make one or two layers only or the tea light won’t be seen through)
  4. Fix the gauze with cello tape when finished with the wrapping
  5. Glue the eyes on
  6. Add the tea lights
Mummy family with pet spider 💀👻

Of course, we didn’t miss out on a Halloween party altogether as in our Helen Doron school a spooky-crafty fun Halloween was organised for the kids on 29th and we were invited.

The party was just as fantastic as the last year’s. Here come the pictures:

E. dressed as a (pretty) ghost
Baby Pumpkin with her gourd

Healthy snacks were served: Jack-o-tangerine, Frankenstein fruit mix and ghost popcorn

Dark and scary room with some English activities was on again:

Crafty part: painting a gourd with glow-in-the-dark paint (we missed that as we were a little late) and Halloween card (see bellow)

Plus a bit of colouring

 

This Halloween was much more quiet and relaxed as in the previous years. But to be honest, life’s hard enough with two small kids, and without the hassle of a home party (preparation, decoration, snack making, throwing the party itself, then the cleaning up) it was pleasant and peaceful for me too.

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.