Haunted Castle

There was a craze online about haunted castles made out of toilet paper tubes right before Halloween. I got carried away with the idea and I planned and prepared to do it with the kids. Well, Mommy plans it and the kids think differently.

At the beginning E. and L. were interested and helped me paint the base green (a piece of cardboard box) and the tubes black. (We used a big paper towel tube and 6 toilet paper tubes, but you can make it bigger if you use more). Between the ground floor and the 1st floor towers I cut some black cardboard piece (It came with some socks and thank goodness I save everything ’cause it’ll be good for something)

The weather was kind to us and we could sit outside to do the messy work.

Then we needed to wait until the paint dried, so we went to have lunch and after that the girls got crazy. Therefore I needed to finish most of the castle by myself.

I drew a big door in the middle at the bottom, some windows, some bricks and a climbing rose. I cut the door and a window open so we could place led tealight in them but I’d found only pumpkin-shaped tealights which couldn’t fit in the window only through the door.

I used a hot gluegun to stick all the parts together.

Anyways, finally I added the rooftop. As I had no black cardboard the kids (who joined me towards the end) chose orange. I cut out a circle and formed a cone out of it. Then the kids placed the little fun details around and into the castle: black cats, bats, ghosts, pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns to make it even spookier.

The castle served as a great place to role-play some spooky stories with the props. Mainly Little L enjoyed and played with it in English adding more characters like skeletons and spiders.

I suppose I’ll save it for next year so we can have some more spoky fun with it.

Happy Halloween!


Leaf sihlouette crayon craft

The colours of autumn are magnificent and I wanted to bring them inside the house. Little L rather stayed outside with Daddy but E. and I sat down to create some beautiful autumn trees with a special technique.

First I folded and cut out leaf shapes, then E. added colours onto the edges with crayons.

After having drawn a trunk and some bare branches we placed the leaf temples on the sheet randomly and smudged the colours onto the paper with our fingertips. (Advice: use a different finger -or thumb- with every colour or you’ll mix them.)

It’s not an easy task and the crayon colour is not so vivid after the smudging. However, the result is pretty.

We were talking about what special colours could be seen on leaves after the chlorophyll dispaears from them. So on E’s tree there are some pink, purple and blue ones too.

We clearly had some fun time just the two of us, which happens very rarely nowadays, so this art project was special mum-and-daughter time.

Our Hungarian summer

I’ve had so many plans for our summer: many English activities, arts and crafts, whole days spent in English, having my best friend B. over a lot, who speaks to the kids English only, learning to read in English with Little L., reading chapter books in English with E. or snuggling on the sofa on rainy days watching English-speaking animations. Well, it didn’t really work out.

Most of our days we’ve been spending in Hungarian. The girls play with each other in Hungarian (they are in the own, imaginary world of “NOLS” and “NEWIES”), the Hungarian neighbour boys have been coming over to play in the paddling pool in Hungarian, the girls started to watch a Barbie cartoon on TV which cannot be watched in the original language. We go on day trips within Hungary and there is no English environment for the girls at all. So I can put out a large FAIL sign on our SUMMER.

I’ve been really disappointed and desperate about it. Even if I try to speak to them in English they refuse to answer in English. E. started it a few months ago and now Little L is doing the same copying her big sister. Sometimes when I keep trying and I bump into big HUNGARIAN walls I’m on the verge of crying. Often I give up speaking in English to them because the whole situation is so frustrating.

Then there are good moments, but moments only. I’m really scared of losing what we’ve reached in the last 8 years and I do not feel motivated at all. On the one hand I know their English foundation is strong, it’s there in their little heads and they are clever, any time they can take their English out and use it without any problems. On the other hand, our first aim was real bilingualism that we seem to be losing now. And my heart sinks. I feel I can’t turn back on this slope and we’re running into leaving the language behind.

I know these are terribly negative thoughts. I rarely write about my doubts and fears, demotivation, and frustration. However, I feel if I write it out of myself it’ll be easier, this English-less intermission will be over and everything gets back on the right (English-speaking) track. Also, I would like you to see that our language journey is not an easy, sweet ride without any obstacles. There are some highs and there are deep, dark lows, like this period now.

Just for me I’d like to collect what English activities we managed to hold on to in this desperate time:

reading English books (at meal time, nap time and bedtime)

watching some cartoons on TV (e.g.: Pat the dog)

playing with English games (apps like Lingokids)

meeting my English-speaking friend B. once a week

watching films on HBOgo (Frozen 1-2., Bolt)

Well, that’s all. I can’t add anything else to the list at the very moment. This is the most I have energy for after having recieved a lot of negative feedback from my kids. I’ve stopped pushing it. As in Frozen I let go and accept this is a very Hungarian period in our life. And I’ll focus on enjoying it whatever language we’re in.

Earth Day crafts

We started our preparation for Earth Day (22 April) a little earlier as schoolwork is taking up quite a lot of time during lockdown.

Altogether we made 3 craft activities:

Balloon stamping Earth

Recycled egg carton flower

Recycled bottle top scenery

Let’s see them one by one:

Balloon stamping Earth:
This is not so environmentally friendly activity as you need a balloon and we all know how bad it is if balloons get into natural waters or even into the ground. Still, I’d love to try this with the girls as it is really enjoyable to stamp with a balloon and they love painting anyway.

This activity is rather messy as the girls were stamping all over the table, but I’d put an old wax tablecloth on it and we used water based paint to wash it off easily.

On a plate I pushed a bit of blue and green paint and the girls dipped the balloon into it. Then printed their Earth on a piece of paper.

They made many prints and we added more paint, so Little L can paint her hand and make handprints, and Big Sister E. could paint the whole balloon. The balloon was yellow and when her paint dried and here and there some yellow was visible she explained that the yellow patches are the deserts. Fair enough!

Recycled egg carton flower:
You need to cut out a four-holed piece of the egg carton.

You need to cut the excess egg carton on the top, so it forms a flower. The girls painted the inside of the egg carton. E. mixed colours: purple and pickle green.

We glued a yellow sparkly pompom in the middle for the pistil. After having waiting for the paint and the glue to dry, we added the stem. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a green straw, so the girls picked this stripy red and white one.

Recycled bottle top scenery:
I prepared some colourful bottle tops for the girls. Green for treetops and bushes, yellow for pistils and the Sun, red, white, orange, red for the flowers. We also added some scrap paper for the trunks, stems (brown and green). The base of the picture was a blue A/4 sheet. (However, you can use a cardboard piece and paint the background.) Apart from the tree, flower and sun combo E. added some clouds and a bush under the tree. Little L. made a bird out of the brown paper and her flower is only a but, according to her. Very simple activity with very little preparation.

Little L’s creation
E’s composition

Earth day cutting practice

Little L is in the phase of enjoying cutting a lot. I have also started reading in English with her so I put together a cutting practice where she can practice cutting and initial sound/letter recognition, too.

I hope your child will like it too. The printable can be downloaded free on the link at the end of this post.

Download your free Earth Day Cutting and Pasting Practice worksheets.