Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Bug counting - with free printable counting mats

It took me more than a month to prepare this activity. In a normal case it would have been 2 days. However, since Baby Sis was born there hasn't been such a thing as "normal case" in our house any more. But now it's finished.

You need bottle tops, minimum 11, for dots from 0 to 10. I made 2 sets as it is more comfortable to make additions later on. (The caps are from Nestea and Cappy bottles)

The truth is I had a little helper who picked and tested all the bottle tops. This is optional, of course.

I used a black permanent marker to make the body of the bugs plus the dots. On the black tops I used white paint to make the dots visible. If you don't use black bottle tops you can skip this step. 

To make them more bug-like and more fun-looking I glued googly eyes on them:

The first time I presented it to E. she wasn't very interested. She opened the envelope quite reluctantly. (This should have been the time to put it away and come back to it at another time. But we gave it a try.)

She was looking at the bugs and started to put them in order but when she reached the six-dotted bug she began to imitate a fight with the bugs.

Then she knuckled them from the table claiming the ladybirds wanted to fly away. I asked her if she wanted to have a look at the mats. She didn't so I packed a month of work away and tried to swallow my frustration.

Then we gave it another try. I didn't even mention ordering the bugs, I rather showed her the mats. She showed more interest than before. As she is perfectly familiar with the numbers, counting the dots made her uneasy a little bit.

But we managed to do 4 of the mats, ...

...then she made a task for me:

The second addition was really tricky as we don't have a bug with 14 don't on them. I asked E. what we should do. And she helped me out in a really smart way:

I thought this activity would be much more fun, and E. would be fascinated by the bugs and counting... well... I was a little wrong. Nevertheless, we did have some fun and I'm sure someone might enjoy it even more than we did.

Download your FREE counting mats from here:

If you try it with your children let me know how it went.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

English camp for the first time - long post, loads of pics

E. took part in her very first day-time camp in the first week of August. Of course, it was an English camp. What else?

Zs. from our old Helen Doron school founded her own HD school and summer camps were organised for kids throughout the summer. On the first week of August E. took part in  fantastic adventures in English.

Every day started at 9 (with breakfast) and ended at 15:30 when kids needed to be picked up (one could arrived later and the kids were taken care of. They watched some animations until parents arrived). The age group was quite appropriate for E.: from age 4 to 8.

Here comes the detailed overview of the week:

Day 1 - Introductory day

This was a getting to know each other day. They stayed in and did a lot of arts and crafts and played games so the kids could get familiar with each other and the teachers (Zs. and Z.). E. was rather quiet on her first day, but I expected that. She always needs time to get used to a new situation.

They painted a mask

E.'s mask

There was English circle time in the morning

...and in the afternoon

They went to a playground nearby and "found" some dinos frozen in eggs

For a while E. was watching the frozen dino and waiting for it to melt... but it was BORING so she went climbing a bit...

Then returned and waited and waited patiently...

The dino is free!!!

As the topic of the day was dinosaurs, dino fossils were also made by the kids.

Day 2 - Tarzan Park

After breakfast there was some English circle time again

They always had some free playtime with lots of fun toys, books and games, too.

They visited Tarzan Park  (an outdoor fun park) after lunch. (By the way lunch was ordered for the kids from Egészségkonyha and arrived every day in the morning. As for food, kids got food 4 times a day - breakfast, snack in the morning, lunch and snack in the afternoon too - got bakery products, cereals, vegetables and fruit. E. liked them all and didn't complain at all. On the first day their chicken nuggets were dino-shaped)

The group in Tarzan Park with Zs.:

E. got really tired after this day full of climbing and moving around a lot. She didn't nap in the afternoon. (After lunch on most days they had some quiet time. Whoever wanted (needed) could sleep but a Disney film was usually shown and E. was more interested in watching it than taking a nap)

She was a little bit braver this time as for talking in English but I needed to motivate her with something. As Baby Sis didn't let me do anything creative I offered her some treats when I pick her up if she spoke more than the day before. And she did. I took her some M&Ms. A rare treat so she did appreciate it.

Day 3 - Rex Animal Farm - E.'s favourite day

They visited Rex Animal Farm where they fed the goats (as well as some rabbits)

...saw some special animals

...listened to a lady talking about how to be a responsible pet owner. 

Your dog has to be vaccinated - just pretend in this pic

They also had a dog agility training session. E. was brave enough to take the dog (called Gesztenye) through the course.

They also had their lunch at the Farm

They had time to enjoy the small playground at the farm

The whole group with their teachers Zs. and Z.

There was no English session at the farm only the HD teachers talked to the group in English but the other days were full of English from morning till the afternoon. The teachers know it well that E. is bilingual and they didn't use any Hungarian to her throughout the whole week.

Day 4 - Picnic

After the usual morning session in English (when they painted some stones and their dino fossils from day 1 with glow-in-the-dark paint) the kids went to Margit sziget (Margaret Island) to have a picnic.

They were watching the big fountain show, 

went to a playground, 

walked on dino feet 

and had their picnic (yummy lángos, E.'s favourite street food). 

The kids were really tired after the long and action-packed week so when they got back they had some nap time. At last E. slept a bit and felt more relaxed in the evening.

Day 5 - Mini show for parents

On the last day a mini show was prepared for the parents to finish the camp with.

There were some arts and crafts: kids prepared their presents for their parents by themselves (and with a little help from the teachers.

The parents received a paper basket decorated by the kids with some hand-made artwork, like an origami frog or the painted dino fossils, plus a greeting card with the best photo of the child taken during the week, stuck in it. The show was great and touching all the kids could show themselves a bit in English.

All in all, the whole camp was a great experience for E. (trying herself in an unfamiliar English environment and meeting new people), packed with a lot of fun activities and programmes in English. It was value for money indeed. We're surely signing up for the next year's camp too. 

Friday, 19 August 2016

A rainy day

One summer day when I went to pick E. up from the nursery it was raining cats and dogs. Huge puddles were formed so I took her wellies and umbrella so she could have some fun. And so did she.

First, we said goodbye the nursery teacher and set off. At that time I didn't know it would take more than an hour to get home (otherwise it's a 15-20 minute walk).

She definitely learnt the difference between deep and shallow.

She made loads of footprints and me too.

Baby Sis was enjoying the ride and was surprisingly calm and quiet.

An easy way to enjoy your time in the second language without any preparation or money spent.

To finish the post with, here is a rainy day song we often sing:

Rain, rain go away by Super Simple Song

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