Dreamcatcher

The girls have a bad dream every now and then, but lately more often. So I looked up easy dreamcatcher ideas on pinterest and we made them to chase nightmares away. Not to mention, it serves as a great craft activity for the crafts class for school (schools have been closed due to the corona virus pandemic, so we’re all at home)

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(Warning! It’s not so easy, there are easier ideas on the pinterest link above)

What you need:

  • popsicle sticks (coloured or plain)
  • hot glue gun
  • thread of different colours
  • feathers
  • beads
  • scissors

How we made it:

First, I prepared my own dreamcatcher to show it to the girls. As soon as they saw it they got excited, though E was a little hesitant to make it at the beginning.

We needed a circle to begin with, but I didn’t want to use a paper plate. I can’t cut a neat hole out of the middle, that’s why I decided on the popsicle sticks.

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Both chose a colour and put together the frame, which is in real a pentagon. To make it easier for them to create the frame I pre-drew a pentagon (When I made the sample dreamcatcher after having glued the sticks together, I drew around it.)

While we were waiting for the hot glue gun to work, I was talking about the dreamcatcher.

They immediately realised the web, and the bead spider. I told them that the nightmares are stuck on the web and the imaginary spider eats it. They really enjoyed this idea.

But of course, the question is: What happens to the good dreams? I showed the hanging feathers and beads. The light feathers direct the good dreams to reach the sleepers.

I was a little worried about the hot glue gun because of my curious 4-year old, but she and her elder sister too, handled it with care.

So, we glued the sticks together (they needed help) and started the webbing.

I advised the to choose a thread colour that contrasts well with their frame. So they did. And of course, the spider bead was crucial.

E. tied her own thread at one corner of the frame, I did this for Little L. and we fixed it with the glue.

While threading you need to make sure that the thread is tight. Poor L. was a little light handed and had to start it again, but she didn’t give it up.

Towards the end of the webbing we thread the bead on and also fixed it with the glue (you can simple put a knot before and after the thread, but gluing was easier and the kids really enjoyed that I let them use the hot glue gun.

The next step was choosing the feathers and beads for the hanging decorations. The bead I’d chosen had too little holes, so we picked pony beads.

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They threaded the beads of their choice and I helped them both tie up the feathers and beads on the frame.

Little L. was close to give it up towards the end when the thread was falling into many thin threads (plus she didn’t sleep in the afternoon) but finally, she hung in there and finished it with my help.

The results are beautiful. The girls showed them to the camera real proudly. We’ll put them into practice tonight.

 

 

Chinese New Year

This year the festivities of the Chinese New Year started on the 25 January and I decided to talk about it with the girls through some crafts.

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Originally, I was planning to make some printables concerning Chinese New Year (which is also called Lunar New Year) but I had no time so I picked 2 crafts that seemed fun.

Whirling Dragon

The whirling dragon is very decorative and fun to make although my kids didn’t seem to last until the end of the project as it takes quite a while.

What you need:

  • paper plate
  • red paint and paintbrushes
  • coloured markers/pencils
  • scissors
  • glue
  • string
  • stapler
  • dragon template from the Red Ted Art blog (it’s free)

You can follow instructions from the link above.

We painted the paper plates in two goes as one side needed to dry first, then we could go on with the other one. Well, the kids lost interest after the painting and a lot of waiting. (We dried them on the radiator)

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I printed the templates and the got excited again so we coloured them together. At this point we checked the lucky colours of the Chinese New Year Festival to bring good luck to our home with the dragons. These were red, yellow, green, blue and white.

Again, they had enough of colouring, so I needed to cut out the pieces. This took even me a lot of time.

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They returned for the stapling and a little bit of sticking. Little L. glued on the tail and legs then ran away. E. helped with the stapling but wasn’t in the mood to glue so I finished them off.

After having hung them in our hallway they admired the dragons, but all in all they were not as fascinated by it as I thought they would be.

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Still, we talked a lot about the traditions, the animal zodiacs and the festivities in Asian countries.

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Chinese Lanterns

I was searching for some Chinese New Year crafts for the kids while our English speaking nanny, N, was here and playing with E and L. I made a prototype of this lantern, which raised the kids’ attention and wanted to make the lanterns immediately.

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We took out some coloured paper and followed the simple instructions:

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We drew lines along which the kids could cut a staight line. Little L cut like a pro. E needed to be reminded of the correct position of her arm.

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We used a stapler to fix the lanterns insted of sticky tape.

Both E. and L. enjoyed cutting and stapling, what’s more, they loved how wobbly the lanterns became.

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We displayed out creations in the hallway.

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A very easy craft that you do not have to prepare beforehand.

While working on the lanterns, the kids started to sing a German song that E. had learnt in school for the St Martin’s Day lantern celebration and, of course, Little L knows perfectly well.

By the way, Chinese New Year celebrations are ended with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the firs lunar month.

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We also metioned the Chinese zodiacs and identified who is which animal in our family:

  • E. is a dragon just like her father
  • Little L is a sheep
  • myself is a horse

2020 is the Rat’s year.

We might do some zodiac crafts so stay tuned.

Happy Chinese New Year

Bottle top Christmas tree

A quick, before-Christmas activity I put together was a hit with the girls. The best thing about it is that you can make the activity, so it suits all ages.

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What you need:

  •  12 or more green bottle tops
  • hot glue gun/ or some type of glue
  • a board (I used cardboard of a box)
  • pom-poms of different colours
  • white circles cut out of paper
  • snowflakes of different colours (optional)
  • tweezers

How to make it:

  • arrange the bottle tops in a Christmas tree shape
  • glue them on the board
  • mark the colours in the bottle tops (I used punched-out snowflakes)

I presented the game to the girls on the 23rd December. They had been very excited about the coming Christmas and they had been asking about when the Christmas tree was coming. So here it comes.

It can be a simple colour matching activity…

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But I wanted to bring in some more challenge. For Little L I drew dots on paper circles (3 and 4). She put a red pompom if there were 3 dots and a green one if it there were 4.

As in school E learnt addition and take-away up to number 8, I wrote additions on paper circles. The additions equalled either 5 or 8. She needed to put a green pompom if the sum was 5 and a red pompom if it was 8.

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When she was done, she made me an activity… khm… a little bit more complex than mine.

This task can be done with numbers, addition and takeaway, division and multiplication, letters (lower and uppercase), sight words and so much more.

With this post I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Our visitor from Sri Lanka

E.’s school takes part in a volunteer programme, which means from time to time a volunteer arrives at the school to reinforce the students’ English communication skills. At the end of this year a 19-year old young lady, P., from Sri Lanka visited the school. We hosted her in our home for a week (altogether she stayed for 6 weeks and was hosted by other families too).

Although E. doesn’t learn English in school (and never will), I signed up to host the future volunteer in the middle of November.

The girls were excited and very curious about our visitor. They kept asking when P. was coming.

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P. arrived on a Sunday afternoon and with her wide smile and cute presents she stole my kids’ heart.

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P.’s English was absolutely great (as it turned out, her Mum is an English teacher 🙂 ) and she could communicate and connect with E and L very easily.

During the day she was in school giving lessons about Sri Lanka and practising English with students in the higher grades. (She also taught the kids how to dance a Sri Lankan folkdance, what’s more she performed a gorgeous dance in school when the 3rd advent candle was lit).

After school either she walked home or we took her home from school and spent the afternoons with playing together. She was painting with the girls, or they danced together, sometimes they played with cars or a board game.

 

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Towards the end of the week we had more time to explore Budapest, to show her the sights and to do a little shopping. We saw the parliament and the night lights, Christmas fairs, where we had some lángos,

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visited the Buda Castle, where we had some treats,

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also took a ride on the funicular railway and saw the beautiful view of Budapest in sparkling sunshine. (After that week of sunshine she could experience snow for the first time in her life)

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We had lots of fun; we really enjoyed our time with this sweet, warm-hearted, full of joy young lady.

It was great practice for the girls, moreover a pleasure to have her in our home and she will surely stay in our hearts.