"Amimals" – in zoos

Going to the zoo was always my favourite activity as a child (still love it today) so I could hardly wait for E. to get at least a little bit interested. And the time has come.

Our first time to the Budapest zoo was when she was 6 months old. It was more fun for me than for her. She had a look at the camels (and smiled when saw them pee) and the farmyard and then fell asleep. She only woke up for nursing (which I managed in the disabled loo) then went back to sleep again.

But now as she is over 1 (15 months old more precisely) she takes pleasure in walking around and looking at animals.

Visiting relatives in Debrecen gave us the sudden idea to visit the zoo there. It was actually a great idea. We all loved it. We were already in the zoo for half an hour (saw some parrots, giraffes and monkeys) when I realised what a good occasion would this be to use English (our Hungarian relatives didn’t accompany us). So we just sang our song to signal the change in using languages and continued our animal adventure in English.

As we were walking around, we described everything to her in English (and as usual she was repeating everything like a parrot):

  • what animals we saw (turtles, a hippo, penguins  – her favourites, more monkeys, laughing doves, roosters and hens, camels, goats, ostriches and lions)
  • what they looked like (“Look, the camel has two big humps”; “Wow, this rooster has a huge red comb on his head”)
  • what sounds they gave (roar, squeak, cock-a-doodle-do, coo-coo etc.)
  • what the animals were served for dinner (fruits, vegetables, mouse, rabbit etc.)

At the end of our visit we found a wooden playground where there were a lot of animals. E.’s favourite was the caterpillar. She climbed on it and rode it for about 15 minutes. We also counted and named the caterpillar’s legs, eyes, mouth and antennae.

Our second English tour in the zoo was in Budapest with our native nanny, A.
I learnt some new animal names (e.g.:cassowary) and we had a wonderful day with a lot of English (I tried to stay in the background and let A. and E. interact with each other a lot). The photos speak for themselves.

E.’s favourite place was the Butterfly House, where we could see how butterflies come out of their pupa, and of course, there were plenty of different types of butterflies flying around, eating oranges or just resting on the plants. We had to go back once again before leaving the zoo. E. was running around and one could see on her little face how amazed she was. Her favourite animals are butterflies at the moment.

Morpho peleides butterfly – blue on the inside
E.’s pointing at the butterfly she liked the most, saying: “orange”

After the zoo experience I found a nice page where the metamorphosis of a butterfly can be seen quite nicely. So I printed it and E.”coloured” it 🙂 with my help.

We also watched the seal show at 11 o’clock. A big crowd gathered to see the seals but everything was explained in Hungarian only. (Sorry A., I didn’t interpret it at all 😦  )

E. was fascinated by the ball (and not the seal…)

 

Baby Giraffe

E. was sleeping when we went to see the Neanderthals. It’s a relatively new exhibition of a (wax) Neanderthal family. This little boy with the cave drawing was my favourite.

After E. woke up we had some lunch (vegetable dish for E. and sandwiches for A. and myself – I wish E. hadn’t said “people” for the first time while I put a spoonful of her dish into her mouth)

 

Flamingoes

We also went to see the baby elephant, but E. was more interested in a turtle shell:

Another favourite place was the traditional Hungarian farmyard. Rabbits were E.’s favourite. We had to return for a second visit. E. was repeating the words like “rabbit”, “hop”, “carrot” and “apple” all the way through. E. had an incident with the foal, which wanted to eat her shoes.

All in all, we enjoyed ourselves to a great extent and will return to practise our English as well as having fun around “amimals” – as E. says.

Helen Doron Baby Days II.

August has arrived so we have taken part in another few days at our Helen Doron Language School. Here is the summary of our 3 sessions:
Day1: Fruits
I was really happy as this is one of E.’s favourite topics. Her eyes sparkled when she saw a picture of an apple and a straberry in the teacher’s hand. She looked at me and glowed with delight. I felt she knew the whole session will be about fruits. So I wasn’t surprised at all when in the middle of the lesson she was brave enough to say apple, pear and nana (for banana). She says strawberry in Hungarian (she always chooses the easier word of the two languages – very smart). The activities we had:

  • matching half fruit
  •  matching fruit with their shapes
  •  sticking fruit on a big tree
  •  taking plastic fruits out of a pelican’s beak then put them back
  •  turning flashcards facing down
  •  fruit song ( I like bananas…)
And of course the usual revisions, like the Uppety song or the Waving song.
E. is waving to Rosie, the doll (on the 3rd day)

The teacher in me would have included the colours a little bit.

I was taken aback when the picture of an avocado came up. Well, we live in a different eating culture here in Hungary.

However, the main point is E. enjoyed herself a lot. I haven’t seen her this active yet. And the number of mums and kids was better than at the beginning of July (6 mums with 6 kids – too many).

Day2: Animals

 E. wasn’t in a good mood today. We had a rough night and she was clinging to me all day. It was the same at the lesson. She was much less active, which was a pitty. As I could see the other kids were a little bit less patient than they usually are. But again E. said quite a few animal names and the sounds they make, too. (hippo, doggy, miaow, hee-haw)

 

I liked the ‘Abracadabra’ game. It was about showing 3 animal pictures and the same animals in soft toys. Then the teacher covered the toys with a blanket and made one of the animals disappear as she lifted the blanket up. Then she asked which animal was missing and made the kids match the soft toys and the animal pictures. It could draw and keep children’s attention.

We also listened to some real animal sounds and had to find the picture of the animal we could hear. It was also good fun, though there was some technical glitch, which also happened when we were listening to the animal sound song.

Another great activity was a bowl of water with plastic animals in it. I was scared to see the bowl full of water but nobody got wet, luckily, and the kids took great pleasure in splashing a bit in water. (Not to mention how refreshing it was in this heat). It is also a nice activity from sensory point of view. One of the reasons why I like the Helen Doron Early English is the wonderful combination of several kind of development involved at the lessons.

We also revised a little bit of the fruits (matching Velcro-ed fruit with their shape and matching one type of fruit with two of its kind with a marker on a white board – E. was interested in the latter as we started to do a little bit of drawing together).

Fruit activity – sorry, taken with a mobile

After that the kids chose a toy animal from a big bag (E. said: ‘choseone’ as if it were one word) they had to lift it up and put it down, then turn it round while we were listening to the Uppety song.

All in all, it was a good day with plenty of varied activities, nice hand puppets, real-life animal sounds, some sensory game and great deal of moving around. I just wish E.’d had a better mood.
We finished on time and we could get home to our weekly Mums’ English Club.

Day 3: Actions

This day was all about moving around. It was lovely, though towards the end the kids got a little carried away. But let’s start with the beginning.

The group shrank a little, there were only 4 mums with their kids. We were banging drums, the door, the chair (E. sometimes hit her head a bit) with the drumsticks.

E. is picking drumsticks for banging

The children were swinging in a blanket one by one, walking around slowly and quickly, turning around, clapping hands, touching face, stacking building blocks, pouring water, and most important of all, blowing bubbles among others. What else would a little explorer wish to do? All the activities were engaging and great fun for the kids. This time I managed to take some nicer photos. Have a look. The pics speak for themselves.

Pouring water from a cup to a bowl

 

“Stacking, stacking, stacking it up”

 

I’ll try it

The lesson fell apart a bit by the lesson. One child was eating, the other one was whining (wanted more bubbles), the third one was taking the pictures off the wall, instead of indulging themselves in the Waving song – Whatever! It was a great day. They all got really excited because there were a lot impulses.

Every time I am amazed how brave E. is to say English words, more and more every day. She likes taking part in these sessions. She said purple, bubble, water, more, try it and shouted in the middle of the lesson: ORANGE ORANGE ORANGE. This must be the sign of her being entertained and feeling relaxed 🙂 Well, I’ve already reached my main aim, then.

Helen Doron Baby Days

We took part in the so-called baby days at Helen Doron Language School. During the summer holidays (in July and August) a one-week intensive course (in both months) is organised by the school not to waste the whole summer.

This month we participated in the first 3 days only, as our native nanny comes twice a week now (Thursday and Friday mornings). I wouldn’t like to miss her.

The baby days are different from the usual course. The days are organised around a topic or more (because of the revision). There were two moms and their little ones from our group and 5 other kids (aged about 1,5-2). The 9-o’clock start was a little rough but we made it.

First day:

The colours and shapes were introduced, (or for the bigger kids) practised during the lesson. So all the toys and games were played focusing on the basic colours: red, blue, green, yellow, white, and much to my surprise, purple and orange.
There were colourful flags, a new colour song (Colours for everyone) and of course, the old songs as well (Waving song, Uppety song just to mention one or two). The colourful balls also came out of the box, much to E.’s delight, not to mention the building blocks (together with the Stacking song), though E. can’t really build yet, but destroy.

I would like to emphasise one of the activities that E. liked the most and I’m planning to make it for her. Matching colours activity: pieces of coloured paper are cut, laminated and a piece of Velcro is stuck on the back. Kids need to stick the right colours to their places on a sheet of paper where the colours are signed. I’ll attach a photo to the home-made tools post as soon as I make it.

Second day:

The colours and shapes were revised a little bit (the best game was colouring shapes with baby paint or crayons – see the picture above – that we could take home) and then means of transport were introduced: cars, trucks, buses, tractors, aeroplanes, wagon, bicycle (I didn’t really understand why we didn’t use bike instead of bicycle or plane instead of aeroplane)

Again there were a lot of moving around (with paper plates that have cars, trucks or buses on them – we were imitating driving them)

Third day:

Daddy took E. to the lesson where, apart from the previous days revisions (shapes, colours, transport), there were some coloured paper planes to fly through a ring and numbers were covered as well (counting pegs etc.) . There was a new song: Elephant song also connected to counting up to 5. Alas, Daddy could not remember all the details of the lesson, so that’s all I know about it.

All in all, these three days were fun, the only drawback was that we were too many (8 moms with 8  kids). However, I think we are going to pay for the next session in August, too.