Sunday, 24 August 2014

Test - meeting a native cousin

This weekend is all about relatives and languages. This is E's first real life test of her English (apart from our native Nanny). My husband's brother (M) and Spanish speaker wife (V) came to visit (they live in Germany) and I also had a little chance to practise my Spanish (which is surprisingly good, taken into account the little I've had to study in the last couple of months). This was my test.

E's test was to meet her 7 year old native English speaker cousin (K) as my husband's uncle and his family also came home for a visit (they live in the UK).

To cut the long story short, it was fantastic.

K and E played as if they'd known each other for a long time and language problems were nonexistent. There were some issues because of the age gap between them but not because they did not understand each other.
First, K came up with an idea to make a princess dress for E. So she took some paper, I found some crayons and markers and the work started. Drawing, colouring, sticking, trying on. 

preparing the dresses
They interacted with each other in the most natural way: asking for a marker, saying thank yous, offering paper and Cellotape to each other and ask what the other is drawing/doing.

Let's try it on. I'll help you.
A beautiful princess
The magic wand was a great hit when they showed the outcome to everybody around the house.

Magic wands

Then they continued playing: I'll turn you into a ... magic wand game. E understood it very quickly and started to say: Mommy, I'll turn you into a bed.
So I lay down and they both climbed and lay on me. But we were frogs, babies, chickens, bum-bums :-D , horses, cats, princesses and so on.

After this the "Five little monkeys jumping on the bed" game came with a lot of jumping and falling, then they went on to play hide and seek. And this wasn't the end. K improvised a hopscotch, then we watched some Mother Goose Club videos on YouTube. 3 hours flew by really fast, we hardly noticed it. I should have taken more photos but to be honest I just wanted to enjoy the time with them.

We had a lovely time together and loads of fun. E passed her first "test" with flying As. She wanted to play with K no matter what (once K wanted to lift her up and dropped her. E cried for 2 minutes then running after K asked her to play more).

I was so proud of her managing in English and enjoying herself with an English speaking child to a great extent. The best feedback ever!!!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Housework fun

As E. doesn't really like playing alone and wants to be with Mommy all the time we need to do housework together. Actually, she is a great helper and likes taking part most of the times. I've read a lot about Maria Montessori and her method on the net and in this book:

I do not wish to popularise her method, I just found some interesting points I can build in my parenting theories and also in our bilingual journey. One of them is:

"He who is served is limited in his independence"

Doing housework together means a lot of language input, quality time together and E's preparation for real life assisting her in her developing independence.


- Preparing food for cooking

Opening pea pods help to develop E's fine motor skill.
She could examine how the peas are in the pod.
She also learnt a sequence: taking one pod out of the bag, putting the peas in a bowl, placing the empty pod in the rubbish bag.
She can help wash the peas, but as soon as I turn the hob on she is finished in the kitchen.

Vocabulary newly learnt or practised:
     green peas
     throw it away

cutting the butter-bean up

examining the inside

placing the beans into a pot
Using a knife is something E has been longing for. With my very close supervision she had the chance to try it and found it hard: - Mommy, cutting is difficult.
Helping make the bean dish didn't mean she ate it :( although according to some blogger moms, their children became really enthusiastic to eat the food they prepared themselves.

Vocabulary newly learnt or practised:
   chopping board
   knife, knives
   pot (stripy, big, empty, full)
   bean dish
   What's yummie for you? (offers the practice or revision of a lot of food)
   dirty, dirt

- Baking:


I made this rhubarb cake

Baking a cake has a better chance of success in the eyes of your child. They are more likely to consume what they made. It also involves a lot of kitchen tasks and equipment and the activities have to follow each other quickly, which keeps up the interest of a young kid. Developing gross motor skills is also a key point here, like whisking, mixing, measuring, stirring, pouring etc.

Vocabulary newly learnt or practised:
   baking powder


   measuring spoon
   wooden/mixing spoon

   crack an egg
   lick the spoon 


   baking try
   heat the oven

- Packing in and out of the dishwasher:

emptying the baby bottle into the sink

putting the baby bottle into the dishwasher

placing the cutlery into their draw

 After a while I rearranged a shelf so she can easily reach her spoons, plates and glasses.

This is E's favourite household chore. No matter when I ask her to help with it, she never refuses. (It's not the case with hanging the clothes to dry). Also, she practises with this chore how to select and group similar objects, to name the objects and say their colours or material. She also learns where to find things she needs around the house.

Vocabulary newly learnt or practised:

  baby bottle


Another pleasant activity for E is to help with the laundry. Packing the clothes in the washing machine is not as much fun as pulling the wet clothes out.

 Usually we put some of her clothes in a separate basket and while I'm putting the adult clothes on the rack, she is putting hers on a smaller rack (which we bought at REGIO toy shop but also available at Fakopáncs online toy shop)

hanging the clothes
opening the dry rack
fixing it with a peg
matching socks with Daddy

on the way to the draw to put the socks away

This is not her favourite activity but she uses her English (and Hungarian) a lot when she is in the mood to help.

Vocabulary newly learnt or practised:
   washing gel
   dry rack
   clothes peg
   still wet
   pull out
   pack in
   laundry basket
   take off
   names of clothing (socks, tights, trousers, shorts, T-shirt, blouse, panties, vest etc.)
   Daddy's, Mommy's, E's


The best part for me is when we decorate our home together. Of course, when she paints or creates something I put it on the wall or in her room. However, she takes pleasure in decorating for us not only for herself. At the market we bought 2 bunches of flowers and she made them into 4, arranging them in small vases.

adding some green leaves to the dahlias

we need some pink in this composition
She also enjoys watering the plants on the balcony.

Involving her in the household chores was one of the greatest ideas and I'm really glad she likes it, too. It gives us the opportunity to be together, to practise her languages, to experience some practicalities of everyday life and to help her become more and more independent. What can we ask for?

Share with me in the comments how your little one helps out at home.

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