Earth Day – recycling

April is dedicated to paying more attention to our planet, Earth. 22 April is Earth Day so we did some activities both in English and Hungarian  to “celebrate OUR Earth” – as E. has put it modestly.

While we were painting, drawing and selecting we used plenty of special phrases. I’ll put together a word list concerning Earth Day and recycling in one of my upcoming Earth related posts.

But now, in this post, here comes some selective rubbish collection fun:

Preparation:

    1. I prepared 5 boxes (4 shoe boxes and a blue, IKEA box)
    2. Then I printed, coloured (you can print the bins on coloured paper) and stuck the bins with different labels (plastic, glass metal, paper) on the side of the shoe boxes.
    3. I selected some rubbish items from our recycling bins:
      – beer cans
      – tins
      – a milk and juice carton
      – scraps of paper
      – magazines
      – a glass olives jar
      – a cider bottle (glass)
      – plastic bags
      – bottle tops and plastic bottles
      – yogurt cups (etc.)
    4. I placed the rubbish in the blue box.
    5. I let E. do the selecting.
First, she was checking what is what, which went with several questions.

She didn’t really know how to make a difference between the different materials although she had been helping sort out the rubbish in our everyday life.

So I asked her a few questions and showed her the actions at the same time:
– Can you crumple it up? (And I was crumpling up a piece of paper)
– Can you tear it? (tearing a piece of the magazine’s cover)
– Is it flexible? (I was smashing a yogurt cup)
– Is it hard? (knocking my finger against the glass)

She was copying me while I was showing her crumpling, tearing or smashing.

And she got the hang of it:

 

 

 

I also mentioned to her that we need to flatten the cartons so she tried it.

Having finished we took the boxes to our selective bins and put them in their designated places.

 

E. was really excited about recycling and rubbish selection. Before dinner she wanted to watch “recycling videos”. And she did. Here they are:

Peppa Pig – recycling

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Il1RX6_h9Xc?feature=player_embedded

Betsy’s Happy Earth Day

https://www.youtube.com/embed/PlBLO8_2ix8?feature=player_embedded

Mother Goose Clube – Earth is our home

https://www.youtube.com/embed/gLAp30NQ0E0?feature=player_embedded

What is recycling for children? – HooplaKidz

https://www.youtube.com/embed/gSATRSB4OcE?feature=player_embedded

Happy Earth Day, Everybody!

Happy Halloween!

Our preparation for Halloween started more than a month ago with the skeleton craze (see a post about it). E. has really been excited about this holiday. She didn’t get the spooky part. She thought ghosts, skeletons and witches are funny and fell in love with the jack-o-lantern.

We, parents, did a lot of preparation for the big day, which was the 30th instead of the 31st October.

It all began in the nursery. A little costume party was organised in the afternoon and parents were invited. The kids had a short performance of singing and dancing in Hungarian and mostly in English. Songs like these:

Knock, knock trick or treat who are you?

Can you make a happy face?

E. knows them well enough as we’ve been watching nothing else but Halloween songs since she saw the Dem bones song:

E. knew exactly what she wanted to dress up as from the very beginning. What else than a skeleton. (I got her skeleton costume -pyjamas- from H&M).

As a part of the party the kids could have a look at how a pumpkin is carved into a jack-o-lantern.

Little helpers
Partying hard

The fun continued at home with our welcoming jack-o-door …

… and the MEC (Mums’ English Club) Halloween party.

 

Guests are arriving in costumes

 

We added face paint to maximise the scariness
MEC group

 

Mummies, oat-pumpkin biscuits and other snacks

Batman is playing with the balloon, Pumpkin and Spider are looking for some toys, Fairy wants her Mommy in the backround and Skeleton is just gazing into air. 
What a company!

The parties, the excitement, the food, the costumes, the decorations and the atmosphere were all great and memorable for both parents and their little ones. See you next year!

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!!

Fun with Flupe – the new Helen Doron package

It’s been a while since we started the new Helen Doron Early English package: Fun with Flupe. Now I have the time to review it a little.

The whole story is based on 3 main characters:

Granny Fix

 

Paul

Granny Fix – who solves all the problems and speaks in rhymes

  • Paul Ward – I guess he is Granny Fix’s grandson. He helps Granny sort out the problems
  • Flupe or Flupie – a purple alien, who does not speak much apart from some words (it is very funny to see Flupe sad – turns blue – or frightened – turns yellow)

 

Flupe

This is what our package looks like:

 

Content:

  • A bag – it’s similar to the previous, but the colour of the straps are yellow while in case of the first package they were green
  • 4 activity books – not just picture books and rhymes, but proper workbooks. One can colour, stick stickers. Now we are working with the second one. During the lesson we work in the booklets, but no longer than 4-5 minutes

 

Rub-a-dub-dub – we coloured the tub and the animals, then had to put 5 carrot stickers on the holes
Skill development: Find and circle the same animal as you can see in the front
  • Booklet with the words for parents – quite useful for those parents who do not speak and/or understand much English (in the picture it is behind the 4 activity booklets)
  • 1 DVD – with short stories
  • 4 CDs – with all the conversations from the stories. My problem with the CDs is that the songs themselves cannot be listened to separately, only as a part of the whole story

I know it is officially not allowed but I asked our teacher to give us the teacher’s CD and I uploaded the songs on our PC, so we can listen to the songs only.

I feel very strongly about this package. Very good material from many aspects. The workbooks are strong and good quality. The tasks are suitable for kids between 2-5 years of age.

Not only does this course develop a child’s language skills but also their movements (dancing, jumping, crawling, running and hopping), fine motor skills (sticking, colouring, matching, craft activities). The five senses are in focus again.

There are 25 songs to listen to. They are mainly traditional nursery rhymes/songs with some change in the tune or in the lyrics. The songs appear in 12 animated stories in which Granny Fix talks in rhymes. (Certain lines of her return from episode to episode.) These episodes can be seen on the DVD.

Have a look at one episode (Rub a dub dub):

Our teacher, Zs., always involves some eating and drinking during the sessions if it is somehow connected to the topic. (E.g.: biscuits were hanging by the window on a rope. – I can’t reach it. – she said and all the kids tried to reach the biscuits. Then they needed to ask for it: – Can I get a biscuit? But a similar situation is created when asking for water to drink etc.) And this is just one example how well the kids are involved and encouraged to use the language in real life situations.

There is a Helen Doron Song Club on youtube where you can find videos connected to this material and to other courses too.

Five Little Monkeys has always been a favourite:

You can find Fun with Flupe as an application in the Google Play Store. Have a look at what it looks like. When I installed it, it was free of charge.

 

All in all, this set is just as professional, well-designed and full of fun as the previous, Baby’s Best Start.

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:

 

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!