Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas

I've been really busy lately: we've had some illneses and I started to learn Spanish, which kept me away from the blog. But next year I'll catch up. Promise... to myself mainly.

Of course, the last few months have been full of preparation for celebrations (Thanksgiving, Advent, birthdays, St Nicolas day - the Hungarian speciality - and Christmas). We had a lot of English usage in connection with these and in our everyday life too.

Santa arrived on 6th December

Shapes are in - a post will be coming soon on the topic.

Food shapes

We still take part in Helen Doron English sessions - some negative, some positve expereinces. Might share with you later, too.

E. is getting more and more interested in numbers (big numbers in the first place) and letters as well. I'll also write about how far we've got and what we are doing with letters and numbers.

Advent calendar and its numbers

We've put a hold on flashcards as E. doesn't seem to be excited about them any more (sometimes we do a little revision), and as she speaks continuously and more or less fluently (3-6 word sentences) with a wide range of vocabulary, flashcards are pointless in introducing something new to her. (I have some ideas of car logos, starsigns and Christmas vocab, but she knows a lot about these things already)

Baking gingerbread was one of the highlights of this season - the time when she learnt how to pose and say 'cheese' when someone takes a photo of her.

Is it going to be a Gingerbread man?

Thank you for following us, and giving your feedback.

I wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas and a successful New Year with a lot of second (or third) language.

Monday, 18 November 2013

At night

Teething is a hard period both for mommy and baby. Still, some sleepless nights are spent with a little English.

It started two months ago when E. first started to call me in English at night. Her tooth didn't let her sleep, so she cried out for Mommy: - Mommy, coming, E. get out.
When I went in I asked her in English what the problem was. She replied in English: - Drink.
So I gave her water. Then when she stopped drinking, said: - Enough. She also asked for her Doggie and nappy, which she always sleeps with, in English.

So after this experience, whenever she wakes up during the night and asks for me to go into her room I use the language (either Hungarian or English) she talks to me. (It's about 50-50%)

She's had some funny night comments since we "speak" in English during the night:

  • She is so heavy it is easier for me to hold her while we are sitting in the rocking chair. I was holding her once and she said: - Not comfy. Then I changed her position and she was satisfied.
  • Another night I was holding her but she wanted to get away from me, and when I asked her what she wanted, she pointed to the floor and said: - Dummy, there.
  • I was singing to her one night - English songs -, but when I wanted to sing something else she said: - No, no. Every time I wanted to sing something else she said no-no. So I had to sing two songs for half an hour:

    Lavender's Blue

          Stars shining (I couldn't attach the video but you can find it on youtube if you search for "Stars shining - a lullaby"

Mind you, I do not talk to her during the night if it is not necessary, but sometimes a little communication is important, and if we do not sleep at least we have a little language practice.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

More flashcards - clothes, dogs, birds and more

I coloured the clothes flashcards, but that was the end. I'm not going to colour more cards... I've had enough. So I asked D. to have them printed on the way home from work. And here they are!
I just needed to laminate and cut them up. It was easy-peasy. What's more, they look more professional ;)

So here are some ideas what to do with the clothes cards:

  1. just show them one by one saying their name
  2. show the real items and match them with the card (once I lay down and E. put the clothes cards -the items I was wearing- on me. It was a little chill-out time for me :) this is why I have no picture of this activity)
  3. group them according colour, sex or where we put them on (upper-body/lower-body, feet etc.)
  4. put together matching outfits: white and red hat, red jumper, blue jeans and red boots or orange blouse, yellow skirt and brown sandals (she got some weird combinations too: bra, slippers, tights).
  5. select the ones you can wear in the swimming pool, or what daddy wears at work, what we wear when it rains etc. - kind of situational usage of clothing
I was fed up saying "It's a doggy" while we were walking in the street and saw different breeds of dogs. It must be strange for a child to see a Westie and a Bernese Mountain dog and hear that Mommy calls both of them a dog.

And what we do with the doggie cards:

  1. just show them one by one and say their names
  2. identify the size, colour and length of their fur
  3. group them according to colour, having a tail or not, met them in our area or not
  4. give them dog names (we have the picture of our dog, M. and at Grandma's place she's got a plush dog called Bobby, and a sleeping toy called Morzsi, so after naming all the dogs we know we give the other dogs different names. We've got a lot of Bobbies, some Georges - after Peppa Pig's brother etc.)
  5. pat and stroke (E. picks few dogs and pat them or stroke them, nowadays she started to kiss everybody and everything, so the dogs cannot miss her kisses)
Bird cards: - we haven't used them, but I plan the following activities:
  1. just show them one by one saying their name
  2. identify the colours on them
  3. listen to the sounds they make on youtube (I put together a playlist on youtube with the sounds of the birds - She loved the sound of jays so much she laughed out loud)
Bird cards in autumn light

Household appliances:

I cannot add anything new to the activities we do with these cards. Sometimes E. takes the washing machine card to our washing machine and throws it inside. :)


The 'nice', not too disgusting insects

I have made some more cards in the topics we already had as well as new ones. E. loves them but gets bored of them quickly (she knows all the dogs and clothes already...) so we have baby objects, furniture, vehicles and famous building flashcards too. If I have time I'll take photos of them too. However, we do the same things with them. And there are more to come: tools, kitchen utensils, geographical features, famous people, paintings - just to mention some which are on my mind.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

What's the weather like?

The weather is getting more and more changeable. So here is how we deal with it.

I found some really inspirational ideas on this blog about displaying what the weather is like in a child's room. So I've made it myself too, but I'll do the date and days later on, introducing them gradually, just like the feelings.

In the mornings we look out of the window (She points at the window and says "window") and look at the sky. I tell her if it's sunny or cloudy, rainy or windy.

First, I drew some of the weather features on the window pane with special Crayola Window Crayons On the other window we have some other pictures: a butterfly, some fruits and bugs etc. E. loves to look at these as well, so I don't want to wipe them.

To make the weather display a little bit more interactive, I made this:

I printed the weather pictures from this blog and laminated them.

 After that I glued them on  special magnet sheets that can be cut (and one side is sticky).

We had this old and rusty steel tray (lucky I didn't throw it away) and its back served as the display surface.  (With two sided sticky tape I fixed it on the wall.)

I put green and yellow stripy electrical tape on the sides because of the rusty edge. I placed the weather board in the living room next to E.'s toy boxes and books. I wrote: Today it's ... and E. is ... with a permanent marker.


Every morning after looking out of the window and checking the weather ("It's rainy today" or "It's sunny, but there are some clouds in the sky", "Look at the trees, it's very windy today" etc.) we go to the display and E. puts on the weather signs and how she feels (mostly happy). She needs time to understand the concept of changing weather and feelings (I have more heads showing feeling I'll add them gradually)

First, she put all the magnets everywhere, but the time will come when she can do it on her own without my help.

When we have time and the weather changes we go back to the display and add or change something if it's necessary. She enjoys it a lot. Whatever involves magnets, she is into it.

Final result

Days and the date are coming soon.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Over 100 words

E. turned 16 months on Monday and I am not exaggerating if I say she can use much more than 100 words in each language (Hungarian and English).
The calculation was done by D. He added up all the functional language (thanking, asking, giving, objecting, greetings etc.) and words of different topics we've been dealing with (see the collection bellow) and the sum must be over 100 words, getting closer to 200.

Now I'm collecting the ones that E. uses confidently in the right context (and not just parroting them or not the ones she understands because in this case there are a thousand words, I guess). Of course, these words and expressions are not 100 % clear. (She tends to pronounce the "k"  sound  "p", the "g" sound "b" or the vowels sometimes melt into one another). Still, it's her great achievement.
Now I'm trying to focus on her English only:

Functional language:
  • Thank you
  • Please
  • Pick it up
  • Here you are
  • There (if she wants to go somewhere)
  • Let's go
  • Come on
  • Bye-bye
  • Hi/Hello
  • Don't like it
  • Like it
  • Cheers (when drinking)
  • Up
  • Out (of the playpen or high chair)
  • not comfy (on the potty)
  • Oops (when something is fallen)
  • Oh, no! (when something goes wrong)
  • Peek-a-boo (when she hides behind the curtain)
Family members:
  • mommy
  • daddy
  • granny
  • papa (for grandpa)
  • baby
  • + names of our family members (7 people), our native nanny (A.) and my best friend (B.) 
Animals: (if she doesn't know the name of the animal she says the sounds they make)

  • doggie
    Our poor mixed-breed
  • froggie
  • cat/kitty
  • cow
  • sheep
  • kangaroo
  • hippo
  • bear
  • mouse
  • rat
  • panda
  • butterfly
  • ladybird
  • bee
  • pig
  • duck
  • ant
  • turtle
  • whale
  • dino
Window pictures
  • apple
  • pear
  • grapes (a bunch of grapes)
  • banana
  • kiwi
  • orange
  • plum
  • lemon
  • cherries
  • strawberries
  • apricot
  • peach
  • tomato
  • berry
  • aubergine
  • onion
  • potato
  • broccoli
  • mushroom
  • pumpkin
Other foods:
  • cheese
  • bread
  • salami
  • sausage
  • honey
  • water
  • milk
  • mayonnaise
  • ketchup
  • butter
  • yogurt
  • coffee
  • ice creme
  • ricecake
  • peony
  • lilac
  • begonia
  • pansy
  • daisy
Flag of Portugal - E.'s favourite right now
  • Norway
  • Belgium
  • Portugal
  • Hungary
  • the European Union
  • Turkey
  • Italy
Colours: (the clearest utterances)
  • red
  • orange
  • yellow
  • green
  • blue
  • purple
  • pink
  • black
  • white
  • grey
  • Bubbles
  • brown
  • oval
  • triangle
  • heart
  • star
  • pentagon
  • rectangle
Everyday object/Toys:
  • spoon
  • plate
  • knife
  • fork
  • bottle
  • kitchen
  • teddy
  • book
  • playground
  • sandpit
  • bath
  • colour pencil
    drawing star
  • crayon
  • paper
  • drawing
  • nappy
  • creme
  • toothbrush
  • man (a plastic figurine)
  • clock
  • high chair
  • door
  • playpen
  • video
  • dummy
  • potty
  • poopy
  • pee pee
  • peg
  • mill
  • car
  • choo-choo train
  • ball
  • puddle
  • big
  • bubbles
  • bin
  • balloon
  • sun
  • cloud
Hat and jeans
  • jacket
  • slippers
  • hat
  • trousers
  • jeans
  • shoes
  • cardigan
  • boots
  • pyjamas
  • socks
Body parts:
  • head
  • pinkie
  • nose
  • ear
  • knee
  • mouth
  • toe
  • eyes
Musical instruments: (she's not so intereted in this topic although she is quite musical)
  • drum
  • piano
Breeds of dog: (I introduced some dog flashcards 3 days ago)
  • Westie
  • Shar-pei
  • bulldog
  • puli
  • mixed breed

E. is making up more and more combinations, like big puddle, red pinkie (for polished fingernails), purple plum, pencil drawing, banana yogurt, black doggie etc.

If it goes like this, in two more months she'll say sentences. She's amazing, a little genius. Am I proud? Hard to say how much :)

Monday, 9 September 2013

"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.)

"Pat, pat - rabbit"

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)

 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 here as well 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 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.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

New flashcards - flags

I have created another pack of flashcards: the European flags. The pack is not full yet, but quite a lot is done. First, I just wanted to check if E. is interested in them or not. As they are very colourful, she loved them at first sight.

I tried to concentrate on countries which are neighbouring countries of Hungary, or I have some information about, or we have already been to etc. I, myself, coloured them AGAIN. (I hope baby Jesus will bring me a colour printer for Christmas). To make the flashcards more durable I laminated them (that was the easier part).

Activities  you can do with flags:

  1. just have a look and say the name of the country
  2. name the colours on the flag
  3. say if the stripes are vertical or horizontal (E. loves long words)
  4. tell your child the capital
  5. talk about the country if you know it (in our case for instance: Ireland, Mommy lived there for a year a long time ago, the U.K. - this is where A. (our native nanny) comes from, Turkey - this is where Mommy and Daddy were on their honeymoon, Hungary -  we live in Hungary etc.
  6. show two flags and ask: which one is ... ? and your child can pick the right one (E. likes this activity not only with cards, but also with soft toys, building blocks, flowers or coloured pencils.... whatever)
  7. turn down three cards and let your child turn them up one by one, then say the name of the country (and the capital or the colours - combination of 1.-2.-4.)
  8. spread all the cards on the floor and tell your child to choose his or her favourite one (maximum three - E. would give me all the cards :) )
  9. pick the flags with the same colours and group them (red-white: Switzerland, Poland and Austria, blue-white-red: the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Russia, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, red-white-green: Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, black-yellow-red: Germany, Belgium)
  10. if you make 2 sets you can play a memory game (I had neither time, nor energy to make two sets)

More flags are on the way:
  • I want to make England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • I cannot leave out the USA and Australia as they are among the most important English speaking countries
  • Countries of Asia, Africa and South America  are coming too
I wish a day would be about 36-38 hours long...

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

More and more words

Just a short post on how our language development is going. E. is 15,5 months old and about a few weeks ago I stopped counting how many English and Hungarian words she knows.
Now here are some random interesting features of her language knowledge:

  • she knows all the main colours (in both languages)
  • loves saying 3 (or more) -syllable words (aubergine, apricot, butterfly)
  • started to say combination of words (green peas, red rose, purple plum, yellow balloon)
  • she says what she really wants in both languages (more-még, drink-inni, bread-kenyér etc.)
  • her functional language is outstanding - she says thank you, Mommy - when she gives something back to me or when I give her something, here you are (not clearly though - it sounds like: heeyaa), please - when she asks for something, don't like it - if she doesn't want to eat something
  • sometimes she sounds like saying a sentence that she doesn't do in Hungarian (it's incomprehensible, though)
  • when she points at a spider she says: incywincy
  • potty time is mostly in English so she rather says poopy and peepee
  • prefers songs in English

    Favourite songs now: Butterfly colour song

Balloon song:

  • loves to watch/sing/chant the English alphabet

  • E. likes certain books in English, though I "read" most books in both languages
  • Still, her favourite is Fran Manushkin: How Mamma Brought the Spring

    But she also takes pleasure in Great Day for Up! by Dr. Seuss and Goodnight, Spot by Eric Hill nowadays.

    • she is trying to say long words (more than 4 syllables) - palacsinta
    • prefers the countries in this language (her favoutite one to say is Svájc, and her favourite flag is the Belgian - because of the black in it -, though she cannot pronounce it clearly)
    • when she sees the Turkish flag she starts to chant: pont, pont vesszőcske, készen van a fejecske, kicsi nyaka, nagy a hasa, készen van a TÖRÖK basa - her utterence is 50% right, but the intonation is perfect
    • prefers rhymes in Hungarian (Boci, boci tarka, A török és a tehenek)
    • she says tetszik  if she likes something or someone (doesn't say it in English)

    Some cute details:
    • her favourite animal is the penguin at the moment
    • out of nowhere she calls out her native nanny's name
    • her favourite colour is black, though when I ask her she says pink or purple
    • her favourite body part is her belly button (when she has a look at her own, she makes us show ours)
    • her favourite flower is carnation
    • she claps after pooping
    • she loves drawing (onto the parquet, at the playground, on sheets of paper, on the door - but not on the wall yet)
    • she pronounces Peppa Pig as if she were a little native British girl  :)

    Saturday, 3 August 2013

    Home-made tools for language practice - matching colours

    E. LOVES colours and all the games in connection with colours. One of her first words was a colour (red in English, kék -blue- in Hungarian). So I though I should make some fun activities with the colours. Here is one of them:

    I drew circles and coloured them on two white sheets. Just to be on the safe side, I laminated them to make them more durable. On one sheet there are the basic colours: red, blue, green black and white. On the other one: brown, pink, orange, yellow and purple.

    From the kitchen I picked some bottle caps, lids of different colours, but I didn't have black and orange so I took off an orange and a black magnet from the fridge.

    I put all the caps, magnet and lids into a box and put it in the living room. E. went there and took it off immediately. Without me showing her what to do, she started to match the colours. She can concentrate on it for few minutes only, but she always says out loud the name of the colours. Most of the time she uses one language, either English or Hungarian. Only very rarely does she mix them.
    Sometimes I pick the caps from the box and she shows me where to put them.

    We never get to the end of the matching, though. Either she gets tired of it, or runs away with the two favourites: yellow and purple. :)
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...