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:

 

At night

Teething is a hard period both for mommy and baby. Still, some sleepless nights are spent with a little English.

It started two months ago when E. first started to call me in English at night. Her tooth didn’t let her sleep, so she cried out for Mommy: – Mommy, coming, E. get out.
When I went in I asked her in English what the problem was. She replied in English: – Drink.
So I gave her water. Then when she stopped drinking, said: – Enough. She also asked for her Doggie and nappy, which she always sleeps with, in English.

So after this experience, whenever she wakes up during the night and asks for me to go into her room I use the language (either Hungarian or English) she talks to me. (It’s about 50-50%)

She’s had some funny night comments since we “speak” in English during the night:

  • She is so heavy it is easier for me to hold her while we are sitting in the rocking chair. I was holding her once and she said: – Not comfy. Then I changed her position and she was satisfied.
  • Another night I was holding her but she wanted to get away from me, and when I asked her what she wanted, she pointed to the floor and said: – Dummy, there.
  • I was singing to her one night – English songs -, but when I wanted to sing something else she said: – No, no. Every time I wanted to sing something else she said no-no. So I had to sing two songs for half an hour:

    Lavender’s Blue

          Stars shining (I couldn’t attach the video but you can find it on youtube if you search for “Stars shining – a lullaby”

Mind you, I do not talk to her during the night if it is not necessary, but sometimes a little communication is important, and if we do not sleep at least we have a little language practice.

More and more words

Just a short post on how our language development is going. E. is 15,5 months old and about a few weeks ago I stopped counting how many English and Hungarian words she knows.
Now here are some random interesting features of her language knowledge:

English:

  • she knows all the main colours (in both languages)
  • loves saying 3 (or more) -syllable words (aubergine, apricot, butterfly)
  • started to say combination of words (green peas, red rose, purple plum, yellow balloon)
  • she says what she really wants in both languages (more-még, drink-inni, bread-kenyér etc.)
  • her functional language is outstanding – she says thank you, Mommy – when she gives something back to me or when I give her something, here you are (not clearly though – it sounds like: heeyaa), please – when she asks for something, don’t like it – if she doesn’t want to eat something
  • sometimes she sounds like saying a sentence that she doesn’t do in Hungarian (it’s incomprehensible, though)
  • when she points at a spider she says: incywincy
  • potty time is mostly in English so she rather says poopy and peepee
  • prefers songs in English

    Favourite songs now:

  • loves to watch/sing/chant the English alphabet
  • E. likes certain books in English, though I “read” most books in both languages
  • Still, her favourite is Fran Manushkin: How Mamma Brought the Spring

    But she also takes pleasure in Great Day for Up! by Dr. Seuss and Goodnight, Spot by Eric Hill nowadays.

    Hungarian:

    • she is trying to say long words (more than 4 syllables) – palacsinta
    • prefers the countries in this language (her favoutite one to say is Svájc, and her favourite flag is the Belgian – because of the black in it -, though she cannot pronounce it clearly)
    • when she sees the Turkish flag she starts to chant: pont, pont vesszőcske, készen van a fejecske, kicsi nyaka, nagy a hasa, készen van a TÖRÖK basa – her utterence is 50% right, but the intonation is perfect
    • prefers rhymes in Hungarian (Boci, boci tarka, A török és a tehenek)
    • she says tetszik  if she likes something or someone (doesn’t say it in English)



    Some cute details:

    • her favourite animal is the penguin at the moment
    • out of nowhere she calls out her native nanny’s name
    • her favourite colour is black, though she says pink or purple
    • her favourite body part is her belly button (when she has a look at her own, she makes us show ours)
    • her favourite flower is carnation
    • she claps after pooping
    • she loves drawing (onto the parquet, at the playground, on sheets of paper, on the door – but not on the wall yet)
    • she pronounces Peppa Pig as if she were a little native British girl  🙂

    Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite

    Our days are finished with E.’s evening routine:

    1. watching a little bit of videos
    2. taking a bath
    3. putting on the jammies
    4. drinking milk + reading out a fairy tale (or two)
    5. talking to the angels
    6. falling asleep

     

    Most of the evening routine is done in Hungarian. This is Daddy’s favourite time spent with E. that I would not like to take away from them. On the other hand I don’t want E. to miss the English vocabulary of the evening routine. Not to mention the fact that reading bedtime stories only in Hungarian is a heartbreak for me. So every now and then (like 2-3 times a week) I try to convince my husband to turn into English. And it works brilliantly.

    Let’s see the programme step by step (the ideal version):

    18:45 – watching videos: D. sits down in front of the computer to watch some English videos with E: (the usual collection of E.’s youtube videos, or this idiotic Meow, Meow song in the Tamil language:

    Don’t ask me why they watch it. One guess is E. LOVES it, the other is this is the way my husband rebels against the English evening routine – just kidding 😉

    In the meantime I do some things around the house, preparation for the feeding, E.’s room, jammies etc.

    If I happen to sit down in front of the computer with E., I prefer to watch a Peppa pig episode or The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton or one of E.’s favourite song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with the owl:


    19:00 – taking the bath:
    E. sits in the bath and the sea creatures are jumping in one by one – the crocodile, the starfish, the octopus, the whale, the turtle, and then an extra duck, some measuring spoons of different colours, sometimes a filter and more bottle caps. So she can hardly move in the water.

    We usually name the animals, sometimes we attack her with the animals, and spay her with water, of course, while we comment the happenings in English. But mostly we follow what she wants to do.

    Sometime she asks for her plastic book – one is a biblical story of the lost lamb, the other is Vizipók and his friends. I tell her the Lost Lamb story in English, we talk about the pictures, and at the end I ask her to show me the shepherd, the lamb or other things in the pictures. But I’m in trouble with Vizipók as I don’t know the names in English or they sound really silly (Ormányosbogár = Snout Beetle, Keresztespók= Garden Spider) so I rather hide this booklet when we have a bath in English.

    Another favourite is Mommy Duck and her ducklings. Mommy Duck can carry 3 little ducklings on her back. When we play with the ducks Mommy Duck is swimming around E. and when the ducks are behind her one of the ducklings is taken off Mommy Duck’s back (by D.). In the meantime we sing 5 Little Ducks (well, three in this version). E. is so cute as she is trying to turn back to see how the ducklings disappear, but usually she is not quick enough.

    Another activity is toothbrushing. E. asks for her toothbrush, then she brushes the crocodiles teeth while we are singing This is the way we brush our teeth. She also wishes to brush Daddy’s teeth or mine. Every now and then she brushes her own teeth as well. If she is not in the mood, I do it for her, which she doesn’t really like.

    When we are finished in the bath we say good bye to the toys. E. hands me the toys one by one and we say good night to them. If I tell her to look behind because there is one more toy, she understands it perfectly and turns around the grab the object. While we are putting the toys away she is waving good-bye.

    19:30 – getting dressed into pyjamas:

    We usually play the changing table games I have already posted about. D. puts on E.’s jammies and sleeping bag. He usually sings some songs. I prepare her milk. E. turns off her light, only a bedside lamp is on. Then E. and I sit down in the rocking chair to drink her milk, and D. reads a story or two. If we read in English at the moment we are reading the book: How Mama Brought the Spring by Fran Manushkin. It’s for kids around the age of 5, but E. adores the pictures in the book. Before E. finishes her milk, D. says good night to her and leaves the room. Then we turn off the light and talks to the angels. I say thank you for the nice day and recall the lovely happenings of our day. E. often repeats the words she can also say like, baby, happy, her name or grandparents’ name, Daddy, Mommy etc. SO actually she thanks for everything that happens to her. Then I put her down into her bed (she says ‘bed’) and I give her dummy (she says ‘dummy’) and I give her a textile nappy and her doggy she always sleeps with. I kiss her goodnight and leave the room. Most of the time she falls asleep within 5-10 minutes. Sometimes she chats to herself a little. If it’s an English evening she talks to herself in English.

    So here are some expressions how to say good night:

    • Sleep well
    • Sweet dreams
    • Nighty-night
    • Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite (you can find the origin of this phrase here – quite interesting, worth reading the theories. The one I like the most is the rope idea.)

    Have a good night!

    Home-made tools for language practice I.- Flashcards

    As a language teacher I used a lot of card activities with my students to explain, identify, show or play things with them. It worked even with adults, but it’s a hit with kids. They are colourful, fun to look at, nice to chew them or fold them (well, at least from E.’s point of view).

    You can find a lot of ready-made flashcards on the net, for example, here. You just print them and can start using them. You can also find videos showing flashcards. I found them rather disappointing. A lot of them have strange visuals, or they use the American variation of the word I wouldn’t use. But the most horrible experience is when the words are pronounce by a machine. It’s scary. Plus, I don’t want to make E. sit in front of the computer a lot.

    I decided to make my own cards; it’s more personal in this way, and sometimes E. could see when I prepared them, and became even more interested. And we can take with us if we want.

    Of course I’ve read a lot about the method which was developed by Glen Doman and his flashcards, but I found it too much pressure on me. So I took it easy 🙂

    What I do is similar to the Doman technique, but maybe not so thorough. I make flashcards about the topics E. is interested in. And the way I show them to her is not so systematic and not so fast. I’m not changing the cards so often as we play a lot with them and it’s not only about showing her the cards.

    So here is an example. When she was 8 months old, I was just showing her the cards and say what she could see in the picture. Later, on I mooed when the cow turned up and also showed the MAKATON sign for the cow. Then when she was around 10-11 months old I started to add extra information as well (“The cow gives us milk” – and showed the picture, showed the signs for cow and milk). When E. became 1 year old we started to name the colours as well (“Look – the cow is white and brown. It gives us milk” – I showed the signs – What colour is the milk? – and I answered: – “White”. Now, at the age of 14 months, E. answers “white” and she moos as soon as she hears the word “cow”.)

    Sometimes I tell her a story or connect the cards to something that happened to us, or anything connected to real life. She loves those cards the most which she experienced in her own life (E.g.: body parts are great as she can identify them on me or on herself, what’s more, the cards make her interactive; she asks D. to show his belly button. Among the flowers she adores the dandelion clock as we blew a lot of them when they bloomed in the park, but there are the fruits she can touch and taste like a banana or an apple).

    I started with animals. As we don’t have a colour printer I found some colouring pages on the net and selected some basic (later some more) animals, printed them and coloured them myself. (Quite time-consuming). Luckily I got a laminator from D. for Christmas, so I glued the coloured animals on colour paper and laminated each. It was a great idea as at the beginning E. chewed, folded and threw them away, so they really needed to be tough. Different topics have different background colours.

    Animals
    I thought at that time I won’t make other cards but animals since she wanted nothing else but animals. We made noises that the animals made, named their colours, stated what they like eating, where they live, or sang a song about them etc.
    Then she got a basket of soft vegetables (from IKEA) and I was “forced” to make some vegetable cards. (We play matching games with the soft vegetables and the cards). The same thing happened when we bought the wooden fruit box.
    Fruit and vegetables

    While we were walking in the park I realised we needed some flower cards, too. I just haven’t had the energy and willpower to make tree cards, but I will one day. The flower cards are more ‘professional’ as they are photos printed in colour.

    Flowers

    I don’t want E. to learn reading yet, so I didn’t bother making word cards connected to the pictures. Except for the flower cards. And the reason for it is that I have difficulty remembering the names of the flowers so it is also a learning process for me. The names are on the back. Sometimes she wants to look at the words, so I show her. But I’m NOT teaching her to read.

    Then the body parts came influenced by the Helen Doron songs and rhymes. At the moment we are looking at them when E. is sitting on the potty, as we can point at different body parts when she is half-naked (belly button is her favourite). After making the body part cards, the time came when a box was necessary for keeping the cards in one place (that is next to the potty most of the time). So long time ago I saw a pinterest post about how to make a box for kids out of a Vanish plastic bottle. I made it and the cards can fit in it well.

    Body parts

    I also made musical instruments, but she has just started to become interested in them. We are going to begin using them later on.

    Musical instruments

    Below you can see the present collection of our cards. They are far from being ready. I’m continuously making new cards to each group.
    Certainly there are more groups to come (everyday objects, furniture, baby stuff, means of transport, rooms, playground toys, tools, kitchen ware etc).

    The collection
    Let’s sum up what to play with cards?
    1. Show them and say the name of the thing in the card
    2. Matching cards and toys (toy animals, toy fruit or real ones can work well too)
    3. Grouping (body parts on the head or fruit and vegetables in 2 groups, or according to colours in case of flowers)

    4. Story telling (E.g.: chose few animals and vegetables and flowers, and build a story around them – the rabbit eats the carrot and hops into the field to smell flowers where he meets his best friend, the mouse, who is running away from the cat, because the mouse tried to drink the cat’s milk)

    5. Link the cards with sign language
    6. Face down (put out 3-4 cards facing down and the child can turn them one by one, then name/show/point at the thing on the card – sounds boring but E. loves this too)
    7. Sing a song (I put out some cards, e.g.: the lamb, the ladybird and the spider – I sing a song about one of the animals – Incy Wincy Spider and either E. picks up the card I’m singing about or we act out the song; the same with The Ladybird song or Ba-Ba Black Sheep song)
    8. Odd one out (I show 3 or 4 cards of the same kind, but one is different – 3 farm animals and a wild one, or 3 yellow flowers and one red etc. –  then I ask, for instance, “Is the pig a wild animal?” – “No, it’s not a wild animal.” “Is the horse a wild animal?” -“No, it’s not a wild animal.” “Is the cow a wild animal?” – “No, it’s not a wild animal.”-“Is the lion a wild animal?” – “Yes, it is!” So the pig, the horse and the cow are farm animals.)
    There must be much more games to play, just let your (and your child’s) imagination fly.