Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Numbers I. - The bottle cap calculator

We've been playing a lot with numbers recently, so here is the first post about a calculator that is very easy to make and fun to practise numbers with.

I found this idea not long ago on another blog: Learn with play at home. And I decided to make it as E. LOVES playing with calculators. Sometimes she asks for it and pushes the buttons for 15-20 minutes all by herself saying the numbers and signs (both in Hungarian and in English).

The first calculator was dropped so many times its display went wrong so we bought another, more simple one.

My idea was that she could have her own calculator that suits her little fingers.


 What you need:

  • cardboard
  • 16 bottle caps (in my version)
  • scissors
  • superglue (dries withing 10 seconds)
  • markers and/or number stickers
  • ruler
  • a white sheet of paper
How to make it:
  • cut the cardboard (first arrange the bottle caps to see how big you need to cut the board)
  • stick or write the numbers and other signs on the caps
  • draw the display with the help of the ruler and the marker
  • glue the caps on the board
Sticking the caps on the cardboard is tough. I used superglue as the edge of the caps were very thin and I wanted them to dry quickly. (After few minutes of playing one of the caps came off, so this might not last as long as I wanted)

final result
The page I find this idea on also adds an extended version of the calculator game for those who have started learning to write. I'll introduce it later if E. still wishes to play with the bottle cap calculator.

Now she is enjoying it a lot.

I managed to record a video too, but it is too dark. If you have any ideas how to lighten it let me know and I'll attach it.

-------***-------***-------***-------***------- 27/03/2014-------***-------***--------***-------***-------

I've been trying to lighten the video but I couldn't. Here is the dark video anyway.
But I also recorded another one with our native nanny today. They are playing with the new calculator.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Our new timeable for 2014

New year - new timetable. First I though we have been spending less time with English in 2014, but I was mistaken. We are spending more time with the second language than according to the previous year's timetable.

Here is the new chart:

49 % English time, 51 % Hungarian time 
Of course we are flexible, this is just the plan. An illness, some unexpected visitors or a change in our helpers' schedule can alter the timetable but this is more or less the main framework.

You can see two areas in the timetable (Friday late afternoons, and dinner-/bath time) which are neither clearly dedicated to English nor Hungarian, or, I can put it, they are the most uncertain periods of the week. The reason for this is D. has been working a lot and because of his long hours we never know if he is at home at these times or not. So when he can't make it we use English. This is how we compensate for missing daddy.

Our native nanny, A., comes twice a week, a total of 6 hours per week.

A. and E. are reading Berry and Dolly

The timing of the Helen Doron sessions has been moved from the mornings to the afternoons and on a different day (Wednesday) but we still have one occasion per week. To be honest, we are not listening to the CDs as often as we used to. It is mainly because E. is a little bored of them (me too...) and she knows them all by heart, so what for? Still, she enjoys the lessons, especially painting (I'll write more about it in another post) and moving water from a teapot or a dish to a cup. Playing with scrunchy balls -crumpled newspaper sheets with cello-tape around them- and pots are also among her favourite activities. We sometimes play with them here at home as well.

Fascinated by the baby paint

Even if it is a Grandma day (using Hungarian) at the end of the day I always try to fit in some English playtime, cooking time, shopping time or playground visit etc.

whisking egg yolk

The weekends are the trickiest. As I really want father and daughter to build a strong and warm relationship we (the three of us together or just the two of them) have quite a great number of programmes  in Hungarian environments. I find this more important than the language development.

Daddy time

However, at weekends I always try to spend some hours with English. These are not long, and not so interactive or highly communicative activities, like watching videos in English, or reading a story in English.

I'm looking into our bilingual future with confidence and great hope. 2014 will be even more successful than 2013 was.
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