Christmas tree fail – or success?

When E. asked for the Christmas tree set (construction paper cut-out Christmas trees and decorations, like tinsel, buttons, stars, cotton wool balls etc.) I was more than happy. It took me a while to prepare this Christmas tree activity but at first it seemed to be a failure.

nicely prepared set
E.’s choice instead

But at the second time it was a hit. E. was chatting away (in Hungarian this time), sticking and encouraged me to decorate my tree too. I did as she told me and didn’t take many photos. We just enjoyed being creative, being together, being full of Christmas spirit.

busy with decorating

Our final results (done in Hungarian)

Our first try (done in English)

In both cases E. made the light green trees.

If you give it a try you can widen your little one’s vocabulary in the field of

  • Christmas: tinsel, bauble, star, snowflake, beads
  • colours: light green, dark green, silver, gold, shiny
  • shapes and sizes: round, star-shaped, snowflake-shaped, long, tiny
  • texture: prickly=stingy, soft, fluffy, hard, velvety, silky, rough, sticky

Not so scary crafts for Halloween

Halloween is here in less than two weeks and E. is so excited about it. She has already chosen what to dress up as (a skeleton – what else a 2 and half year old girl wants to be?)

I’m trying to do some Halloween projects with her.

The first one was a skeleton out of cotton buds. I found this easy cutton bud skeleton craft idea on a fellow blogger mommy’s site. (Q-tip is the equivalent of cotton buds in the US)

What you need:

  • cotton buds
  • black coloured or construction paper
  • glue
  • printed or drawn skull

 

She loved the skulls at first sight

Gluing in progress
(I was making it with her to show her how to and where to put the bones. Although she’s got and almost perfect knowledge of bones of the skeleton. I’ll write about our little skeleton craze in a later post)

Final touch
Witch-craft (source: Toddler Approved!)

This craft idea combines Halloween, shapes  and colours. While E. was in the nursery I cut up the shapes  and when we arrived home the sticking could start. (I should have chosen some more colours – she wanted to add red eyes)

  • orange rectangles for the hair
  • black rectangles and big triangles for the hat
  • small black triangles for the nose
  • green circle for the head – could be any other colour
  • pink small and bigger rectangles, semi-circles for eyes eyebrows, lips etc.
At first we identified the colours and the shapes
Then we put together the witch

 

Funny witch… not scary at all – stated E. happily.

I found it really cool with those eyes 🙂

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:

 

Merry Christmas

I’ve been really busy lately: we’ve had some illneses and I started to learn Spanish, which kept me away from the blog. But next year I’ll catch up. Promise… to myself mainly.

Of course, the last few months have been full of preparation for celebrations (Thanksgiving, Advent, birthdays, Santa Claus day – the Hungarian speciality – and Christmas). We had a lot of English usage in connection with these and in our everyday life too.

Santa arrived on 6th December

Shapes are in – a post will be comming soon on the topic.

Food shapes

We still take part in Helen Doron English sessions – some negative, some positve expereinces. Might share with you later, too.

E. is getting more and more interested in numbers (big numbers in the first place) and letters as well. I’ll also write about how far we’ve got and what we are doing with letters and numbers.

Andvent calendar and its numbers

We’ve put a hold on flashcards as E. doesn’t seem to be excited about them any more (sometimes we do a little revision), and as she speaks continuously and more or less fluently (3-6 word sentences) with a wide range of vocabulary, flashcards are pointless in introducing something new to her. (I have some ideas of car logos, starsigns and Christmas vocab, but she knows a lot about these things aready)

Baking gingerbread was one of the highlights of this season – the time when she learnt how to pose and say ‘cheese’ when someone takes a photo of her.

Is it going to be a Gingerbread man?

Thank you for following us, and giving your feedback.

I wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas and a successful New Year with a lot of second (or third) language.