Thursday, 27 November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! - Tree of gratitude

This year has been wonderful, there are a lot of things that we can be grateful for. I wished E. would feel the gratitude for all the amazing things in our lives.

Tree of Thanks - a great idea for Thanksgiving came from Jen, a blogger mum whose posts I've been reading on a daily basis nowadays.

The main idea is an autumn tree with brownish, yellowish, and orange leaves. We write down a few things that we are thankful for on the leaves and stick them on the tree of gratitude.

We didn't have much time to do this activity (I needed to prepare for Daddy's birthday, too), so it is not as elaborate as in the original idea.

What you need:

  • colour paper (red, brown, orange, green - or you can paint as Jen suggests)
  • scissors
  • a bigger sheet of sticky paper (contact paper or sticky book jacket)
  • markers
I quickly cut red, brown, yellow and green leaves out of colour paper and drew a tree on the sticky paper (on the non-sticky side). The latter I sellotaped (sticky side out) on the balcony window. (Unfortunately you can't see much on the photos as it got dark, but tomorrow I'll add a picture taken in daylight)

naming the different colours and counting how many leaves she has

When we arrived home, E. sat down and I told her that we should collect people and things we love and we feel thankful for. (Much to my surprise she understood and immediately said : - Daddy!) I came next: - I love Mommy so much. :D

First, we tried to write the words together, but when she added snowman and chicken thigh I wrote them on the leaves myself.

When we'd finish with our collection (cheese, Grandmas, Santa, doggy, antibody hat, i.e. her thermo-hat against ear problems) we moved to the balcony door and E. stuck up the leaves on the tree.
She was really proud of herself and also, gave a kiss to Santa :) (then to me)



-------- Update: 03/12/2014---------

Here is a photo taken of our Tree of Gratitude in daylight... well, you can see a little (!!!) more.

Unfortunately we didn't have time for the Turkey of Thanks wreath. Well, we need something for next year, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you want some cute and funny Thanksgiving songs, here is a small collection:

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Story box - Vet Vicky with props

A green box with stuffed animals, a stethoscope, some gauze, a medicine box, a rope, cheese and a flower. Story box - reading fun.

I can't remember where I found the idea but Pinterest's story box ideas are endless.

I picked a book from the Ladybird series (Little Workmates) - Vet Vicky.

The story is about Vet Vicky's day in her surgery treating a dog, a cat and a mouse. Then she goes to Farmer Fred's to have a look at Daisy, the cow, who is not eating well, but the cow has gone. Vicky finds her near the school munching on some flowers. Vicky takes Daisy back to Farmer Fred and suggests feeding Daisy with some flowers every now and then.

It was a hit at once. E. likes playing doctor, and loves animals, so even without the story box she would have loved the story. However, with it she was thrilled and did everything like Vicky in the book.

checking the dog over

giving him a pill

checking the cat over

She enjoyed following the activities in the book - five times in a row. At least I could take some photos...

Finally, she matched all the characters with their images in the book.

We'd spent nearly an hour reading the book, playing the story, when our nanny arrived.

E. wanted to do it with her too.

Ssssh! - showed Vicky to the school children when she went behind Daisy with a rope

Some body parts, like the udder, the hooves and the horns, were identified on the cow.

What's this? - This is the cow's udder.

E. is very interested in the other booklets of the series.

We have some of them, like Farmer Fred, Builder Bill, Hairdresser Hanna. Unfortunately, the stories are not the best for the story book idea as there can't be so many easily available and varied props. I'll try to do my best.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Crafts for Thanksgiving - Chapter 1.

I'm not sure if E. understands the concept of being thankful, though one night when we talked to the Angels I wanted to say good night and she said:

- Wait, Mommy!
- Yes?
- I want to say thank you.
- What for?
- For the skeleton costume.

So I might be wrong. She can also say thank you whenever I give her some food or a toy. Sometimes she reminds Daddy to say thank you.

I told her the Thanksgiving story very basically though we focused more on being creative this time.

Colour your turkey - letter recognition

I mentioned to E. that American people celebrate Thanksgiving with turkeys, like we celebrate Martin-day with geese.

So we coloured a turkey. I printed an image of a turkey from the net, but before we started I added some letters to different parts of the turkey. With some of the dot markers I signed orange, yellow, red and purple next to the turkey. She immediately understood how to colour it. We have no brown dot markers so we used a crayon.

identifying the letters

staring with yellow

our colourful turkey

Bubble wrap paint turkey

I found this idea on . I'm not going into details as you find easy-to-follow instructions on the site.

It looked great, so we tried it. It's a little too complicated with a 2 and a half year old. You need to wait a lot for the paint to dry. E. had no patience. But she enjoyed the painting. I had no dark brown coloured paper so we painted the body too. (The thermo-hat is due to an ear infection)

painting the body

adding the eyes on the stool - where else?

finished with the beak too, though there's no snood
I cut the feathers - she did the sticking

Turkey without legs and snood

Autumn tree variations

The first tree idea came when E. enjoyed looking at me punching leaf shapes with this.

So while she was asleep in the afternoon I punched some more leaves (yellow, red, orange, brown and creamy colours) and I put them together with some real dry leaves next to a drawn tree. With the help of some glue we put the leaves onto the tree's branches. She wasn't interested in the real ones.

Broken leaves had to go on the ground, under the tree

Our nanny arrived and they went on together

Have you noticed that some leaves are falling down ;) ?

"Nice tree. Can I pee on it?"

The second tree is based on the same idea as the dot marker turkey. I drew a tree and on the branches I wrote the first letters of some colours. Dotting fun.

I'm planning to do some more Thanksgiving activities. So come back for the autumn tree of gratitude.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Starting the nursery - Mini Klub

E. started nursery in September (at the age of 27 months), but I haven't had the time to finish a review on this issue. Here it comes:

Hello, this is my first day in nursery
We decided on a private nursery as opposed to a state one because of our bilingual journey. This option puts a greater financial burden on our family in the long run but hopefully it'll be worth it.

Mini Klub is a bilingual nursery. There are two nursery teachers who speak Hungarian to the kids and one who speaks English only all day long. Although the English speaking nursery teacher is a native Hungarian, we are lucky enough, as her English is on a high level and her pronunciation is native-like. She is also a dedicated teacher and prepares a lot to entertain and "teach" the kids English.

We first met her (Ms. B.) in August before the official start when every week in the afternoon we visited the nursery's playground. E. could meet all the children and nursery teachers.

Ms. B. played with E. in the sand pit and I also had a chance to chat with her a little about the routines and English usage in the nursery. I made it clear to her that the reason why we come to this nursery is because of E.'s bilingualism.

After almost three months now, Ms. B. hasn't been talking to E. in Hungarian at all, although in some emergency situations Ms. B. needs to talk in Hungarian to other kids. Another relevant point is E. likes her a lot. (So much that in October we had several evenings when I had to play Ms. B.'s role during bath time at home.)

On the first official nursery day they hit it off. (sorry about the quality of the photos, most of them were taken secretly)

Exploring the nursery garden with Ms B.

The first few days and weeks went without any problem. I guess I was more worried and nervous about the transition than she was. Evidently, she enjoys playing there, loves the teachers and some of the kids, too.

On the first day with Ms. L. - 
Of course, we couldn't avoid the initial illnesses, which gave me more possibility to increase the English time (at home).

Look, Daddy this is my box. My sign's on it.

There are quite a lot of educational activities every single day (crafts, learning shapes, colours, rhymes and songs, circle games, story time etc.) on the basis of the Montessori Method that keep them busy and occupied.

Weekly routine:

Every day:

  • doing exercise
  • developing movements
  • shapes, colours
  • feeling by touching
  • concentration
  • improving perceptibility
  • numbers 1-10
  • communication
  • rhymes and story telling
  • learning verses and poems
  • circle games
  • songs
  • auditory development
  • developing rhythm and a sense of music
  • fine motor skills
  • arts and crafts
  • modelling clay, painting, gluing, threading etc.
  • love of nature
  • exploring our environment
  • plants and animals
Until the end of October every Tuesday the kids went pony-riding in the other premises of the nursery (Duna Ovi). From the middle of November (next week) they are starting ice-skating. E. just can't wait. I hope she'll like it. I'm not sure if she has understood what ice-skating means exactly.

The nursery also has a daily routine:

7.30-8.45 arrivals, free play time
8.45-9.00 doing exercise
9.00-9.05 changing nappies or toilet time
9.05-9.30 breakfast, teeth brushing
9.30-10.15 educational sessions (20 mins in English, 20 mins in Hungarian)
10.15-10.30 snack time (fruit, vegetables)
10.30-11.30 playtime in the playground (depending on weather conditions)
11.30-11.40 toilet time
11.40-12.15 lunch time
12.15-14.30 quiet time, sleepy time
14.30-15.15 waking up period, snack time
15.15-15.45 educational session (15 mins in English, 15 mins in Hungarian)
15.45 - free play time, departure

Food: healthy and varied (Daddy asked me one day looking at E.'s weekly menu  if he himself could sign up for lunch at the nursery ;) - we receive the menu every week. 

Educational sessions:
  • crafts
Look, that's my horse
  • preparing for special occasions like grape harvest festival, Halloween, Santa Claus day (Dec 6) or Christmas

  • I have a video about the educational session in English (and in Hungarian), but E. was ill and didn't take part. What's more, I should ask the nursery for permission to put the video up on my blog. So it might come later on.
-----o-----o-----o------o------o-------o------ Permission received----o-----o

Play time - if it doesn't rain cats and dogs they go out to the playground for at least an hour in the morning and another hour in the afternoon.

All in all, I am more than satisfied with this nursery and the English language input E. has been experiencing there. She plays a lot with Ms. B. and sometimes when I go to pick her up she tells me that we are in English. Every now and then, Ms. B. comes to the same direction as we do on the way home and we chat in English. E. has already made friends with another English speaking kindergarten teacher (Mrs. M.). She asked her the time in English (as I went to pick her up a little later that day).

I hope everything will go on like this in the future. My expectations were high but this nursery managed to meet them. If you have any questions about daily life in Mini Klub, just feel free to contact me.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Dem bones - the skeleton craze

Let me start with THE song, the small pebble that started the avalanche:

(Around Halloween it is quite relevant)

E. got crazy about bones and the skeleton itself. So it's time for us, parents, to learn a little too.
I didn't have the faintest idea about the names of the bones. I used to have problems with them in my native language, not to mention English. However, I did everything to satisfy my little one's hunger for knowledge.

I made skeleton cards for her. I found a blog (montessoriworkjobs) where there are black and white skeletons with the major bones highlighted in red. So I printed them and made flashcards.

Cotton bud skeleton - craft
Cotton bud skeleton craft can bee reached in another post in more details.


sticking and pushing


Child size skeleton puzzle
I found a child-size printable skeleton on a colouring site. You need to print about 8 A/4 pages. You do not need much colouring ;) I laminated the bones as I want to use them next year too.

the skeleton puzzle
after mixing the puzzle E. put the bones in place

"I'm a skeleton"

The book - The skeleton inside you

It's a funny book with a lot of information on bones. When it says "your skeleton helps you run, jump and stand", I added some more actions (squat, walk slowly, sit, roll, make a bridge, kick, clap etc.)
 and E. needed to do what I said. She enjoyed it a lot.

You have 32 bones in your arm

the rib cage and the skull protect important organs

Halloween costume skeleton

"Look Daddy, this is the femur"

Skeleton as food
E. was absolutely amazed when she saw this snack on her plate. Since then I need to cut skeletons out of everything.

Last but not least: Skeleton costume for Halloween

These are H&M skeleton pyjamas and gloves

I do not need to comment this. Or if you wish you can read about our MEC Halloween party we had.

I hope you found some ideas useful if your little one is also obsessed with bones and skeletons.

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