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. :)

    Friday, 2 August 2013

    Home-made tools for language practice - Peek-a-boo house

    This idea came from the "lift-the-flap" books, like Spot goes to the farm by Eric Hill. E. likes peeping to see what's behind a door, a bush or a gate. Also, I saw this technique to be used at the Helen Doron lesson to practice new/old vocabulary. So why not make my own?

    The basis is cardboard and I decorated it with orange and green paper, as well as red and yellow craft foam sheets ("dekorgumi"). The door and windows are laminated and glued on the surface. The sky is made from coloured paper and the green grass is painted.

    (E. has already torn the clouds partly, so I strengthen them with Cellotape). I hide animals, people, babies, pieces of furniture etc. behind the flaps. Whatever works.

    It's a good idea to stick the house on the floor or on the wall as while the kids are fidgeting with it, it moves a lot and makes it more difficult to open the flaps and easier to tear off a window.

    E.'s favourites are the sun and the butterfly. She picks them and walks around with them in her hands. When I changed the pictures she was surprised at the change. Now she's found the box of pictures and not surpised any more. She tries to change the pictures herself.

    Thursday, 1 August 2013

    Helen Doron Baby Days II.

    August has arrived so we have taken part in another few days at our Helen Doron Language School. Here is the summary of our 3 sessions:

    Day1: Fruits

    I was really happy as this is one of E.'s favourite topics. Her eyes sparkled when she saw a picture of an apple and a straberry in the teacher's hand. She looked at me and glowed with delight. I felt she knew the whole session will be about fruits. So I wasn't surprised at all when in the middle of the lesson she was brave enough to say apple, pear and nana (for banana). She says strawberry in Hungarian (she always chooses the easier word of the two languages - very smart). The activities we had:
    • matching half fruit
    • matching fruit with their shapes
    • sticking fruit on a big tree
    • taking plastic fruits out of a pelican's beak then put them back
    • turning flashcards facing down
    • fruit song ( I like bananas...)
    And of course the usual revisions, like the Uppety song or the Waving song.

    E. is waving to Rosie, the doll (on the 3rd day)

    The teacher in me would have included the colours a little bit.
    I was taken aback when the picture of an avocado came up. Well, we live in a different eating culture here in Hungary.

    However, the main point is E. enjoyed herself a lot. I haven't seen her this active yet. And the number of mums and kids was better than at the beginning of July (6 mums with 6 kids - too many).

    Day2: Animals

    E. wasn't in a good mood today. We had a rough night and she was clinging to me all day. It was the same at the lesson. She was much less active, which was a pitty. As I could see the other kids were a little bit less patient than they usually are. But again E. said quite a few animal names and the sounds they make, too. (hippo, doggy, miaow, hee-haw)

    I liked the 'Abracadabra' game. It was about showing 3 animal pictures and the same animals in soft toys. Then the teacher covered the toys with a blanket and made one of the animals disappear as she lifted the blanket up. Then she asked which animal was missing and made the kids match the soft toys and the animal pictures. It could draw and keep children's attention.

    We also listened to some real animal sounds and had to find the picture of the animal we could hear. It was also good fun, though there was some technical glitch, which also happened when we were listening to the animal sound song.

    Another great activity was a bowl of water with plastic animals in it. I was scared to see the bowl full of water but nobody got wet, luckily, and the kids took great pleasure in splashing a bit in water. (Not to mention how refreshing it was in this heat). It is also a nice activity from sensory point of view. One of the reasons why I like the Helen Doron Early English is the wonderful combination of several kind of development involved at the lessons.

    We also revised a little bit of the fruits (matching Velcro-ed fruit with their shape and matching one type of fruit with two of its kind with a marker on a white board - E. was interested in the latter as we started to do a little bit of drawing together).

    Fruit activity - sorry, taken with a mobile

    After that the kids chose a toy animal from a big bag (E. said: 'choseone' as if it were one word) they had to lift it up and put it down, then turn it round while we were listening to the Uppety song.

    All in all, it was a good day with plenty of varied activities, nice hand puppets, real-life animal sounds, some sensory game and great deal of moving around. I just wish E.'d had a better mood.
    We finished on time and we could get home to our weekly Mums' English Club.

    Day 3: Actions

    This day was all about moving around. It was lovely, though towards the end the kids got a little carried away. But let's start with the beginning.

    The group shrank a little, there were only 4 mums with their kids. We were banging drums, the door, the chair (E. sometimes hit her head a bit) with the drumsticks.

    E. is picking drumsticks for banging

    The children were swinging in a blanket one by one, walking around slowly and quickly, turning around, clapping hands, touching face, stacking building blocks, pouring water, and most important of all, blowing bubbles among others. What else would a little explorer wish to do? All the activities were engaging and great fun for the kids. This time I managed to take some nicer photos. Have a look. The pics speak for themselves.

    Pouring water from a cup to a bowl

    "Stacking, stacking, stacking it up"

    I'll try it
    The lesson fell apart a bit by the lesson. One child was eating, the other one was whining (wanted more bubbles), the third one was taking the pictures off the wall, instead of indulging themselves in the Waving song - Whatever! It was a great day. They all got really excited because there were a lot impulses.

    Every time I am amazed how brave E. is to say English words, more and more every day. She likes taking part in these sessions. She said purple, bubble, water, more, try it and shouted in the middle of the lesson: ORANGE ORANGE ORANGE. This must be the sign of her being entertained and feeling relaxed :) Well, I've already reached my main aim, then.
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