August 2017 read-alouds

As I’m writing this post with E. I’ll start with the book I’ve read with her this month (She is 5 years and 3 months old).
(E.’s favourite, L.’s favourite, both loved it)

  1. Shark-mad Stanley by Griff
    It’s a book about a little boy, who loves animals (like E.) and he’s got a gold-fish. But he wants to have a shark too. He compares her goldfish and a shark. What’s his conclusion? Well, read this funny story.51TfUT7j0yL.jpg
  2. The Glow in the Dark Book of Space by Nicholas Harris
    It’s a general book about space BUT there are pages that you can read in the dark because they glow. The new things she enjoyed the most: moon phases, constellation and how the black hole sucks in a star.9780760783139_p0_v2_s550x406.jpg
  3. The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
    I don’t think I need to say much about the story as it is a classic. Actually, RD is MY favourite author and I was really anxious to find out if E. would like it or not. And she did like it.  I read it to her one morning when she didn’t want to get out of bed. As the story got more exciting she got more and more out of bed.covers_59482
  4. Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson
    A traditional story of a lost child (monkey) looking for her mum. The rhymes are great and the illustrations make the story come true. According to E. the best part is when the butterfly shows the monkey her children and they look very different from their Mommy. (This is the reason why the butterfly shows wrong Mommies to the monkey.)letöltés.jpg
  5. Miss! Miss! by Julia Donaldson
    A short story of a poor teacher solving problems with a child in school and when she returns home everything starts all over again with her own children.

L. is 20 months old and surprisingly she enjoys books for older children too. Here are the books for her:

  1. We’re going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen
    This was a hit with both kids. They love it and ask for it every day. I’ve trying to read it out in the same way as Michael Rosen reads it out in this youtube video.maxresdefault.jpg
  2. Maisy plays football by Lucy Cousins
    Another hit. You’ll know your kids enjoy a book to a great extent if they scream GOAAAAAAL! whenever you just touch the book. (E. can read the book to L. and L. can say the names of the characters: Maisy, Cyril, Eddie, Dotty, Tallulah, Charley.)
  3. Surprise Surprise! Animals by Jeanette Rowe
    There’s a short rhyme on every page, which describes an animal hiding behind a flap. There are 6 animals altogether. Cute! L. can neigh like a horse and say seal and bat and croaks like a frog.6.jpeg
  4. I love my  Mum by Anna Walker
    A short story about what fun mommy and baby do together. The pictures are lovely the words on each page are scarce. My daughters favourite page in the book is full of butterflies.10959141._UY200_.jpg
  5. Feeling great! Just like me! by Jess Stockham
    This is also a fold-out flap book like Surprise! Suprise! Animals! but about feelings. The emotions covered are shy, frightened, excited, grumpy, sleepy.P09-FeelingGreat.jpg

This month we could cover only 5 books for each child as they got really crazy about Maisy and the bear hunt books. And here is a surprise for you. E. is reading Maisy for L. (with a hiccup):

Part 1
Part 2

If you want to check out our earlier monthly book lists, click on the links below:


Feelings and emotions

E. has always had difficulties expressing, then later on naming, emotions. Probably, I’m not helping her much as it isn’t easy for me to express emotions so that others can understand it easily.

I’ve tried talking about feelings with her, or identify emotions in different situations but she wasn’t interested, she wasn’t ready to discuss such issues.

But now the time has come. She’s been watching this video for a while and she’s been talking about it ever since. The most frequent question in our home lately is: – Mommy, how do you feel now?

So I’ve made this ad hoc activity on the basis of the character in the video (a rabbit). Hopefully I’ll have time to make a digital version of it and make it available for you to use with your little ones. I have to admit I can’t draw…



The activities are not only the traditional matching ones. I wanted to make them more fun and help E. be able to focus on them for a longer time. (there were 5 pages altogether)

Apart from “match with a line”, she needed to colour, use building blocks, copying, drawing symbols to match the faces and the emotions.



Towards the end (4th and 5th pages) the emotions become more and more difficult to identify.

On the way of doing this task we were talking about when we feel in certain ways. She also added some really good examples:

I feel angry when water friends don’t do what I say.

I’m frustrated when I can’t put on my boots.

We’ve reached a very important topic. We must talk about emotions in Hungarian, too. I never make activities that have anything to do translations. I hardly ever draw a parallel between English and Hungarian, but this time I definitely will. Stay tuned, there will be more on feelings and emotions.

Paw patrol – the new craze (with free printable)

Since the beginning of this year (around February) E.’s been crazy about a Canadian cartoon series, Paw Patrol. In this blog post I’d like to collect all the activities, games and fun Paw Patrol has brought to our lives:

  1. Our old nanny, L., who has unfortunately returned to America, showed E. a page online where she can watch all the seasons. ( I’m not sure how legal it is but she is so crazy about the pups I can’t stop her. This series is on Nick Jr. but we don’t have a subscription (we do NOT watch TV due to the millions of commercials) but there is only one episode per day filled with loads of commercials I don’t want E. to see. So she watches it online.
  2. We celebrated her 4th birthday with her friends too, in a playhouse. Her birthday cake was a Paw Patrol bone:

  3. E. was so excited and indulged in this cartoon she wanted the pup figurines for her birthday. Not only did she get them (it was Baby Sis’s present for her) , but she also received a home-made  Paw Patrol board game. (The original idea came from Daddy, who, on the basis of chess, came up with the board game idea. On the link – I’ll add it later, sorry – you can find a more detailed description of the board game)

  4. Apart from the board game I also prepared a Paw Patrol Activity Pack for her birthday. This pack includes puzzle, writing practice, counting cards and many more. You can download your free copy at the end of this post.

    E. was so excited about this activity pack that she started examining it at her birthday party. She stopped opening her other presents.

    But of course, we devoted another, more quiet time to do the activities:

Matching characters and their names
Matching vehicles and their names

If your little one can’t read at all, they can match the characters and their vehicles

Number cards

You can use different manipulatives (beans, gem stones, clips or clothes pegs) or (if you laminate the cards like I did) your child can cicle the right number with a whiteboard marker, which can be easily wiped off after finishing

Pre-writing practice

Badge puzzles with numbers

And many more fun activities….

Baby sign language

Baby sign language can be a great link between the 2 languages (English-Hungarian) we speak. It serves as a third language and helps Baby Sis to understand basic ideas even if we use different languages. The sign is always the same.

If you raise your child bilingual or multilingual, or just wish to understand what your child wants to “say” before using word, sign language is a tool that can help a lot.

With E. I started to use the MAKATON sign language which is based on BSL (British Sign Language). Some ASL (American Sign Language) signs I also included as I sometimes find them easier like the sign for “more”, for instance.

American Sign Language


After quite a lot of research on the net I found MAKATON the most expressive and easy to remember sign collection. What’s more, it is designed for children so one can find nursery rhymes and songs signed online, which makes it easier to learn and after a while (when your child is older) you can also watch a special BBC programme, Something Special.

In the following video you can hear about the benefits of signing to your child, no matter you have a perfectly healthy or mentally challenged child.:

Actually, I created our own sign language using a mixture of BSL, MAKATON, ASL and our own signs, too. You can make up your own sgn if you are creative enough. The key is consistency.

No matter if we are in English or in Hungarian I use the same sign for an idea or object or a family member, to mention a few examples.

Just like E., Baby Sis also enjoys whenever I sign her a song, or I show her a sign while talking to her. E. helps me with signing every now and then (if she’s in the mood).

How to introduce the signs:

  • always face your child so (s)he can see your face and the sign too
  • show the sign while you say the word
  • have cheerful expression on your face
  • introduce maximum 1-2 signs at once
  • use and repeat the same signs for 3-5 days regularly
  • then introduce 2-3 new signs every 5-6 days
  • follow your child’s lead (some children pick up signs more slowly or faster than others)

10+1 basic baby signs to start with:



+baby’s name

Baby’s name can be signed with the first letter of their name. Here is the Makaton ABC:

Here is a youtube video of two girls showing the Makaton abc:

Moving on to a higher level…

Depending on the baby’s interest you can introduce 1-2 topics with 4-5 signs per week or you can choose a mixture of 10-15 favourite signs:

  • foods
  • animals
  • more family members
  • toys
  • everyday objects
  • colours
  • action verbs

Singing and signing:

Singing to your baby and telling her nursery rhymes are the best way to familiarise your child with the sounds, intonation, tune of your language(s). While singing you can sign what you sing about. You don’t need to sign every word just the most important ones. Your child will be fascinated by the sound and the visual impact as well.

Make sure you check out Signing Hands youtube channel where you can find several traditional nursery rhymes and songs signed. (You can learn the signing from the songs quite easily)

Here is an example: – Row, row, row your boat

More resources:

You can have a look at my Makaton Pinterest board which is full of useful signs, links and videos about sign language and great number of signs.

I hope you find this post useful and interesting. Although I’m not an expert on signing, just a mom who learnt it all by herself from the net, if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me.

Baby Sis has turned 6 months old

I haven’t really been able to write blog posts lately thanks to Baby Sis, who has turned out to be a “sticker child”. I thought separation anxiety starts around 8-9 months but no… it started when she was born.

Our 2nd 3 months went almost the same as the first 3, though everything seemed a little easier, like feeding, sleeping, daily routine etc. and it’s true for our English usage too.

But let’s not run ahead. Here is an update on the little lady:

She is about 65.5 cms long and 6.0 kgs. She is very active, moving around all the time even in her sleep. Boobs mean the world to her and whenever she starts crying she can be easily calmed on the boob. If she doesn’t get what she wants the screaming gets louder and loader and more desperate. She still doesn’t and can’t drink from a baby bottle and use a dummy. As opposed to her Big Sister who really liked both and wasn’t fascinated by the boob that much. (This is where I’ll stop comparing the girls)

I can no longer watch TV, read or chat with someone while she’s being fed as she gets distracted by EVERYTHING. She only allows me to sit quietly and do nothing. She even hits my phone out of my hand (she might have eyes on the back of her head…)

L. turned to her tummy just one day before her 5th month old birthday. Ever since then she’s been rolling all around. So much that one Monday she fell from our bed… on her head. In the morning rush we looked away for half a minute and she rolled like 1.80 metres and fell. We spent the whole day at the emergency room where several examinations were made (X-ray, sonogram etc) and luckily she was fine. Since then we’ve been putting her on the floor all the time.

If she’s on her back she’s kicking like a maniac. So sweet. She also noticed that she’s got two feet and LOVES them. Watching them, chewing her toes and comparing them with her hands.

I’ve always been against sleeping together with a child (I was mainly scared of lying on her, but I also find it unhealthy for the marriage) but Baby Sis begs to differ. She is unwilling to stay in her crib, even if I wait until she falls asleep. As soon as her little bum touches the bed and she can’t feel body warmth close to her she’s up screaming.

Magyarinda baby carrier

Daytime sleeping is done in an ergonomic baby carrier (Magyarinda) on Mummy during the week and on Daddy at weekends (Sometimes I wish I could buckle her up on the dog. 😉 ) Once in a while she falls asleep in the pram, but only for 20-30 minutes. We’re still practising it, though.

on holiday

She’s got 2 working modes: smiley or whiny. If she’s happy and contented she’s ALWAYS smiley, she even smiles at strangers, which might change in the near future. She’s very easy to cheer up. Whenever she sees her Big Sister her little face brightens immediately. She loves chatting with everybody, looking at the books on the book shelves (or on the floor), watching me drink from a bottle, slapping her hanging toys on the play mat and last but not least screaming.

The update got a little too long, but here comes what we do in English.

We regularly try to go to MEC (Mums’ English Club), where L. either sleeps or is on the boob or both at the same time. Okay, every now and then she plays with her new buddies.

I started to introduce her board books after the cloth books. You can find a list of baby books we’ve been using ever since E. was born. She seemed interested and enjoyed looking at the colourful pages.

I try to be a lot in English when E.’s home from the kindergarten. Baby Sis listens to our conversations but surprisingly E. talks to her sister in Hungarian. I always have to remind her that she also needs to talk to L. in English. But E. entertains her a lot.

She makes Baby Sis’s mobile move 

E. involves L. in her doctors pretend play

Reads her books
sisterly bonding

She tells her rhymes:

I myself try to read them in English (simple stories and rhymes) as much as I can:

Nursery rhymes after feeding

Sign language is another topic that I’d like to write a seperate blog post about. Mainly I use Makaton signs both in English and Hungarian (the same sign for the same idea) but also some American Signs and some of our own as well. Signing to babies help them to connect the spoken languages. If I say “enni” in Hungarian I show the same sign as I say “eat” in English, just to give you an idea.

I still do a lot of singing and I tell her several nursery rhymes. Her favourites are: Golden slumbers (and other lullabies) and Open, Shut them either when I do it with my hands or I move her little legs.

She also enjoys the following:
Finger family
Ba-ba black sheep
Humpty Dumpty
You’re my Sunshine
Ride a cock horse
I love you, you love me
This little pig went to the market
Round and round the garden
Head shoulders knees and toes
Here we go looby loo
Two little eyes:

When we play together it involves some balloons

some musical instruments like maracas and jingle bells

Some balls: colours and sizes
Sensory bottles for babies (later I’ll add a post on this topic too):

Apart from playing together in English, I should also mention the everyday activities, housework (just like with E.) we do in English when we are just the two of us at home like unloading the dishwasher, hanging the clothes to dry, going to the bakery or to the market. Of course, L. just watches me do the chores but I hope later on she’ll join in.

I report everything to her. I tell her all the time what I’m doing or where we are going. Sometimes I feel like I talk to myself all the time but then she gives me a smile as if she understood everything.