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!

 

 

J. our Australian nanny

To be perfectly honest I’ve forgotten to write about our latest native nannies. But better late than never.

J. was from Australia with some Hungarian origin. She came to us in September 2018 for the first time and stayed with us until January 2019, five months altogether.

When she visited us twice a week she played with Little L. after nap time. J. stayed with Little L. at home having some snacks, reading books and playing while I went to the kindergarten to pick E. up.

Little L. spent an hour with J, then it was E.’s turn to play with her for 90 minutes.
She had more playtime with J. as she can be so immersed in a game that it was hard to “stop” her after an hour.

J. was great with the kids; she was talking to them a lot using (I think quite consciously) varied language. She always did some reading at snack time with Little L. I didn’t tell her to do so, she just took a book off the shelf and Little L was listening to the story with her mouth wide open in awe.

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She also followed the kids’ lead. She did whatever they were interested in. E. was in her Lego phase when she found out a character (Fighting Lady) that was originally one of the Lego Friends (Emma) and found out stories about her with J. J. and E. made vehicles, houses, bedrooms, kitchens and other special locations for Fighting Lady. They also drew some stories like comic books, and at these times J. built in some educational material like cold and warm colours just to mention one example.

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E. likes making up her own language and with J. she put together a little dictionary with pictures.

Little L. wanted to play with the choo-choo train most of the time. J didn’t mind the repetitive games and was into anything the kids had found out.

She helped us around Halloween when we were carving our Jack-o-lantern.

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In the middle of December, we moved to our new home but for another month she stayed with us.

One day E. found an old vinyl LP record and wanted to make a bowl out of it (she’d seen a video of melting the LP into a candy bowl). J. was around when we made it and gave a helping hand.

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In our last month (January) the kids wanted to play together with J. I could see how well she handled sensitive situations, sister fights and disagreements as well as behavioural problems.

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Unfortunately (for us) she found a more reliable job than babysitting. (Who can blame her?) We are so thankful for her to be with us and very sorry that she left.

We’ll miss you J. Good luck!

Bye-bye N!

Again the time has come to say good-bye to our 5th, and one of the best nannies we’ve had so far. Our hearts sink but we are lucky to have met her and had her around for such a long time.

We met N, our British nanny, in October 2017 and she stayed with us until the end of June this year. With this length of stay she’s the silver medalist among our nannies (just kidding). However, to be honest, she is the first real nanny to Little L.

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As usual the beginning went a bit difficult; it took more time for E to warm up with her, but after a few weeks she was playing happily with N. Little L was more open from the very beginning and wanted to play with N whenever she was around (even when it was E’s session.)

She came 3 times a week: a session with E only, a session with Little L, and a double session with both girls (theoretically it would have been 1 hour for L and 90 minutes for E but towards the end Little L. wanted to play with them too and it was hard for me to keep her away. Though E needed her time with N as they played more “big-girl” games together.)

We had lots of fun with N, who was always in, no matter how crazy ideas the girls had.

L loved playing cars, trains, play dough, football, catch and boom monster, a game the girls made up with N. But they also drew, painted, read books together. L also enjoyed when we went to the playground together with N.

E took N to the land of her imagination i.e. “Waterland”, or forever and ever talked about chemical elements or birds to her and she didn’t seem to get bored with it. What’s more, she came up with great activities within E.’s favourite topics.

The girls loved when N could stay for dinner, once she even had to watch a Paw Patrol episode with them and few time N supervised the girls during their bath-time.

On her last day we had dinner together again one last time, and handed her a memory book that E and L had prepared for her.

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I suppose she really liked it 🙂

We stuck pictures in, E. drew the three of them

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and of course, anglers; L drew fire engines, trees and cars.

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Ice cream time and an angler fishing
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The red blob is the tree top, the blue lines is a police car by L

E. noted down all the fantastic memories we had together with N and we also wrote a little poem about the great times.

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No memory book without stickers!

N also gave lovely good-bye presents to the girls: their adventures in rhymes and with funny pictures, E. got a Harry Potter book, L. was gifted with a special jeep, and they also had many boom monsters 🙂 (that E. put on the end of her coloured pencils)

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boom monsters
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the jeep

Bye for now N! We were really glad to have you around and although you’ve left you’ll stay with us for good. Thanks for everything!

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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!

 

 

Birdwatching

A few months after the periodic table and chemistry craze E. is into birds and nature. I’m really glad that this new topic gives us the opportunity to spend great amount of time outside in nature.

Everything started with this Usborne book of Nature Trail.

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This is an old edition and I bought it second-hand so I’m not sure if this one is still available but I’m positive you can find many beautiful nature books published by Usborne if your kids are little biologists.

Another trigger could have been E.’s Helen Doron course (More jump with Joey) as there was an episode with all kinds of birds and E. was fascinated by them.

One day (when our native nanny came to her) she came home from kindergarten and asked for Daddy’s binoculars, her journal, nature book and markers. We packed them all in her backpack and we dashed to the park to watch the birds.

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Naively I thought she wanted to watch then draw the birds.

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Look, Mommy! It’s a blackbird. It’s a male, because it’s all black.

Instead she took note of what kind of birds they saw with N, our nanny, and the bird’s flight patterns!

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Thanks for the pic, N. 🙂

 

The next time we went birdwatching (again with our nanny) I asked her to draw the birds instead. And so she did.

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Ok.Ok. N. helped E. a bit with the drawing 😉

While N and E were watching birds, we went to the playground with Little L to make some sand ice-cream. Yummy!

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Every morning when E. wakes up, or to be more precise we wake her up with youtube videos of bird calls. Who wouldn’t want to wake up with birds singing.
You can check out her favourite on the link above.

I used to make basic bird flashcards that I needed to freshen up with some new ones, of course, with E.’s favourite ones like crossbill, eagle owl and nuthatch, to mention few examples.

And it’s not finished yet, well, it’s just the beginning. I’m certain there’s more to come.