Saturday, 25 May 2013

Books we are using

E. is extremely interested in books and  we, as a family, find it important to have a good and varied library at home. If you raise your child bilingual, having great books is essential from the very beginning. Quality counts more than quantity. We also use some Hungarian books in English and vica versa. I would spend my husband's monthly salary on books if I could. So far I've managed to collect a few books both in English and Hungarian:

Our small baby library

The books you can see in the photo above are the ones that are available for E. at any time she wants them. I also have some more rhyme books, fairy tale collections and other stories in paperback format. I rather keep them away from her at present as she is living her life through experimenting (chewing, tearing, hitting, folding etc.) with everything.

Reading out loud to your child, no matter in which language, is a must. Even at a very young age. In our case both in English and in Hungarian.

E.'s biggest favourite is The Wizard of Oz at the moment. She is now a year old. And of course, we did not start it with this story. What we have is not a board book so she can't have it; I take it only when we read it, so it is not available to her 7/11. Probably this is also part of the magic. I bought this book in a second hand Hungarian (!) book shop for 100 HUF:


I try to read it out with sound effects. The characters have different tones of voice, when the storm is coming I say whoooosh or sssssshhhhh, when the lion appears I roar, when the wizard prepares the balloon I imitate the blowing of a balloon etc. E. really loves all the sound effects. After I have read the book, she can get it for a short while. E. tries to turn the pages (it's not easy for her as she is used to board books) and while we are looking at the pictures I tell her what we see in a few words. Then we put the book back to its place. This is when she starts whining, sometimes crying but it's quite easy to direct her attention to something else, luckily.

But I should start with the beginning. Let's go in chronological order:
At the very beginning, from birth to 6 months I used three CLOTH BOOKS.

IKEA cloth book - The Giant Elephant's Circus

One from IKEA, and two from DM (we got them all as presents). When she couldn't move around too much and too fast, I just put down the book so she could see it and told a story (The Giant Elephant's Circus, The Rabbit's Carrot Garden, The Secret Treasure - the latter is an underwater story with sea animals, alas, I have no pics of it as it landed at one of the Grandmas). She paid really close attention. Then by the time she could touch the book, I described the sounds they made (crackle and rustle), the different surfaces they had (rough, smooth, soft). Later on I stared to name the colours, the very simple sentences got more complex, though the main story line remained the same.

Babylove cloth book -The Rabbit's Carrot Garden

The first thing E. could do with her hands after grabbing an object is turning the page of these books, and after a while BOARD BOOKS. It was after the age of 6 months, but this time she was just interested in turning the pages. When she was around 8-9 months old she was closly examining certain pages and skipped others.

I, myself, LOVE the Ladybird series. They have so many great books for all ages. The Baby Touch series is what suits a child under 3 the most. We have 2 of these colourful, vivid fun books which can be touched, scratched, pushed and licked:

In case of the Rhyme Book, I say the rhyme or sing the song which is on the given page while E. is touching and licking the different surfaces. I often ask her questions about the pictures (Where's the Teddy? or Are these flowers the same? What colour is the pussycat?) and then I answer them (There he is, No, they're different, She's orange), but nowadays she's started to answer me babbling or pointing or even saying some wordlike utterances.

In case of the Happy Babies Book, we mostly touch and scratch, or wave hello or bye-bye to different creatures. Also, I say a lot of colours here. If I'm a little bored with it then I sing along a song which could be connected to the pictures. E.'s favourite page is the last one, so we just sit over it and push and lick the squishy, circle and the shiny, silver triangle.

Another number 1. book with small kids is the Spot series by Eric Hill. Here is a video where Eric Hill himself is reading out one of his books, Where's Spot?. The little hands love turning the flaps (but be careful, they can tear them off in the twinkling of an eye). Spot is very well supported online as well. Have a look at Spot's homepage.

E. enjoys flap books a lot. Another one in our library, which is "read" on a daily bases, is Dear Zoo. You can have a look at the inside in this funny video.

There are some educational books for early learning purposes. The market is vast for these books and there are a great number of them. What we have are some Baby Einstein books about shapes and numbers (I managed to get 3 of them at a mom-to-mom sale in the local youth centre for a few hundred HUF). 

I could go on and on listing the books we love using or would love to buy but there would be no point. As far as I've experienced it, it doesn't really matter what books you have, and how many you have as long as you open them regularly, on a daily bases, or as frequently as your child is interested in them. Even if you don't have a well lined purse (well, well it's not a surprise that these baby books cost a fortune) you can find discounts and second hand books too.

Check out the following sites:

There's a site ( where delivery is free. What's more, you can read to your child online for free (though it's not really for babies, or at least my little one doesn't really enjoy it that much yet): . Another possibility is to make your own book, but it'll be another post.
And to finish this post, here is a photo of E. reading her favourite book:

Sunday, 19 May 2013

First bithday - first words?

Wow! A year has passed. It was a really emotional day with a lot of English.
Both of our helpers (A. and B. - haha) were here.

A. told me after she had been playing for 2 hours with E. that she was trying hard to say words in English. Yes, the first words are coming... and they seem to be English ones. Here are some words E. has been trying to pronounce lately:

English word
E.’s utterance
ba or da (it’s more like the Hungarian word for it)
a or ap

It's great feedback for me. I've been waiting for her first close-to-a real-word utterances so badly.

Since the weekend party when she received tons of presents, she's been playing a lot with the new wooden fruit cutting set. Now she's trying to say banana (in E.'s language "nana")

 I guess we are on the right track.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Games in the playground

I was in trouble with the names of some playground games, so here is another wordlist and pictures to identify them more easily:


hammock swing
függőágy (hinta)
jungle gym, monkey bars
rope ladder
sandpit, sandbox


jungle gym

monkey bars

Our playgrounds are not so varied as for the games. As soon as we come across some other playground equipment I'll write about them.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Swinging up and down - games in the playground

Swinging and seesawing

When we go to the park, we always visit one of the playgrounds nearby.
As I didn't know a good swing song in English, I asked a good friend of mine, K. and she recommended the following:

Swinging up and down in my great big swing,
Swinging up and down in my great big swing,
Swinging up and down in my great big swing,
Won’t you be my darling?
Looking all around in my great big swing,
Looking all around in my great big swing,
Looking all around in my great big swing,
Won’t you be my darling?
Swaying back and forth in my great big swing,
Swaying back and forth in my great big swing,
Swaying back and forth in my great big swing,
Won’t you be my darling?
Swinging up and down in my great big swing,
Swinging up and down in my great big swing,
Swinging up and down in my great big swing,
Won’t you be my darling?

By the way K. is on facebook with her Rhyming nursery. She's got lots of great ideas to have fun in English with kids.

Another playground game that an 11-month-old can enjoy is the seesaw. Here is a song to sing along:
See Saw Margery Daw,
Johnny shall have a new master;
Johnny shall earn but a penny a day,
Because he can't work any faster.

I really like the Gracie Lou character, so here is a version of it:

This song has been made into a swing song by Helen Doron. I don't want to breach any copyrights so here is the lyrics only:
See Saw Margery Daw,
Johnny is swinging with granny;
He is swinging and it's lots of fun
And it can be very funny.

Well, I sing it with "mommy" instead of "granny" and I, of course, replace "Johnny" with E.

I also know some other seesaw rhymes:
See-Saw Sacradown,
Which is the way to London town?
One foot up, the other foot down,
That is the way to London town.

See-Saw, up and down,
Tommy goes up, Tommy goes down.
I'll be back with more playground stuff.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Changing from Hungarian to English and vica cersa

Just a short post about how to sign that we are using one or the other language. At present I'm trying to use every time to talk in English to E. So for instance, when D. takes the dog out for 20-30 minutes in the morning or in the evening E. and I change into English.

Before I start speaking English I sing the 'Hello' song. It is taken from the BBC programme called Something Special. (Jump to 0:20 for the song)

Before we change into Hungarian, I sing the "Goodbye song" from the same programme. (You can find the video below - just jump to 13:20. This is where the "Goodbye song" starts. Otherwise it's a great episode on birthdays. Worth watching the whole). I also use the MAKATON signs while I sing. E. takes pleasure in it and the songs make it clear when we use one language and the other.

I'm sure there are several other ways to give a signal for changing between the languages. I look forward to your comments on how YOU do it.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...