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Month: April 2020

Bilingual Story basket – Fairytales

fairy tale topic box

This week was fairy tale week. Fairy tales are important for a child’s development. They learn to identify good and bad, it teaches them morals and gives them ideas to develop their own fantasy world, and in turn, helps them to understand the world around them. Fairy tales also teach culture background and gives children a common language as lots of fairy tales are translated.

Contents of story basket

  • Fairytale books
  • Frog
  • Animals which are common in fairy tales
  • Fairy
  • Witch board game
  • Torch-projector with fairy tale stories

Wolf sense-box

Little Red Riding Hood is our favourite fairytale at the moment. The bad wolf uses all 5 senses to explain to Little Red Riding Hood why he doesn’t look like her grandmother.

wolf - senses - box

Materials

  • Box
  • Coloured paper
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape or glue
  • Other craft materials

We read each sentence and then decorated our wolf-senses-box

1. The long arms (so he can grab Red Riding Hood better) - touch

2. Bg eyes (so the wolf can see her better) – sight

3. Big ears (to hear her better) – hearing

4. Big nose (to smell her better) – smell

5. Big mouth (to taste her better) – taste

On the back of the box we cut a hole so we can feel items inside the box or put little pots inside to guess what smell it is.

Senses walk

On our daily walks we try to use all our senses to see how often we use them. What can we see, smell, hear? How does the grass or the stone feel? How do the berries taste?

Gingerbread house

Hansel and Gretel are so hungry that they eat the gingerbread house they find in the woods. As we did not have the patience to bake a gingerbread house and to decorate one, we printed one from twinkl.com. We practise cutting and talked about the different shaped sweets on the house and how they would taste

DIY Dove

The doves are an important messenger in Cinderella as they help the prince to find the right princess.

To use some of our toilet rolls we decided to make our own Marionette-dove. (looks more like a swan but we finished it – which is a win anyway!)

Materials

  • 2 toilet paper rolls
  • Wool or string
  • Googly eyes or a pen
  • Red/orange paper for the beak

Toilet paper rolls projector

We chose The Princess and The Frog as the fairy tale for our fairy tale cinema

Materials

  • Cling film
  • Permanent marker
  • Sticky tape
  • Scissors
  • Fairy tale book

Put the cling film on the book and trace with the permanent marker around your chosen pictures - make sure it is not bigger than the diameter of the toilet paper roll. Cut the cling film and put it over the toilet roll and fix it with sticky tape.

Put a torch in the open end and project the picture on the wall. Tell the real fairytale or make up a new story.

Body/ Germs topic box

The body, and how it works, and germs are always a big topic to talk about in our house. As we learn as best we can via interest-learning, we go with the flow. With the current situation around us we made a germ/body box to talk about it when we want or need to. For example, to answer questions like “Why do we have to eat? Or “Why are there good and bad germs in our body and around us?”

Books, puzzles, experiments, crafts and pretend-play helps our little ones to understand the world and how it works. For this topic we used a lot of lift-the-flap books because they are a firm favourite and allow us to explore a certain topic in a bit more detail.

Contents of the box

  • Book - 'In meinem Koerper ist was los' - Dr. Med. Sybille Mottle-Link, Frederic Bertrand
  • Book - 'Was ziehe ich heute an?' - Was ist das? Ullmann Medien GmbH
  • Book - 'Vor dem Essen Haende waschen' - Usbourne
  • Book - 'What is Poo?' - Usbourne
  • 1 good germ ( DIY)
  • Doll's bath
  • Body puzzle
  • Baby doll
  • Towel for baby
  • Soap
  • Pepper or other herbs
  • Doll's potty
  • Doll's clothes

I put some options together as, with our ASD daughter, nothing works for definite, so for us it is always a trial and error as to what works and what she enjoys. It depends on the mood she is in but also how messy the activities are and any potential smells which can put her off easily. In this case we use a mixture of German and English books to make it more incorporating for the whole family.

Craft activities

Good craft activities are DIY soap dough – makes washing hands a lot more fun.

You need the following for the DIY soap dough

  • 100g cornflour
  • 50 - 60ml shower gel or liquid soap
  • A few drops of food colouring (only if you have clear shower gel or liquid soap)
  • Cookie cutter

If you want to colour your liquid soap or shower gel, mix it first with some drops of food colouring then add the cornflower and mix it well. Put some cornflour on the work surface and roll out the dough. Then use the cookie cutter to cut out different shapes.

DIY bath crayons

  • 1 bar of soap
  • Food colouring
  • Cheese grater
  • Cookie cutter or silicon shapes
  • Water

Use the fine edges of a cheese grater to powder the soap. Add some drops of food colouring and water and mix it well with a fork. We used silicon shapes and pressed some of the mixture in. Smoothe it out as much as possible and put it in the freezer for about an hour.

Make your own sock-germ

  • Sock
  • Cotton wool
  • Googly eyes
  • Permanent marker

Fill the sock with cotton wool until it has the shape you want. Use your creativity to decorate to your heart's content. To avoid the disappointment that it doesn’t look as it should, we used a sock with a funny face already on it.

Know your body

Outline your child’s body (if they can lie down for 5 minutes!) and colour body parts in or decorate with body organs. We did a simple picture about how the food goes through our body, in the hope our food battle will be easier 😉

Experiment “germ vs soap”

  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Herbs / spices
  • Liquid soap

Take a bowl and fill it with water, add some herbs and let the children dip their fingers in. Watch and talk about what happened - the 'germs' (herbs) stuck to their fingers, didn't it?! Now try dipping another finger in soap first before the 'germs' bowl.

What cleans a coin the best?

  • Coins, preferably dirty.
  • Different liquids (water, soapy water, vinegar, or whatever the children want to test)
  • Clear jars or glasses

Fill some clear containers with different liquids and put a coin in each glass. See what happens, check regularly if the coins have changed.

Paint your hands and see if cold or warm water or soap or no soap clean the hands the best.

Pretend play / Sensory play

Pretend play / sensory play is always a good way to practice what we learned and use our Imagination. A bowl or a doll’s bath and some toys (plastic animals or cars) or a doll and a bit of soap will keep the little ones entertained for a while.  We use a cheap shower curtain to protect the floor from water spills and rough play.

Daring Adventurer – Raising a bilingual ASD child

To honour April as the Autism Awareness month I want to share my thoughts about raising a bilingual child who is on the autism spectrum.

First of all, I do not regret raising my daughter bilingual. I do not think she struggles with two languages or she can not cope to switch between two languages.

We started our bilingual journey before she was diagnosed. We have to think outside of the box to cater for her interests sometimes, but this would be necessary for monolingual or bilingual upbringing anyway.

She taught me to communicate more clearly, give more precise instructions and think about how we use our languages in general – but is that really bad?

She sees the world in a unique, quirky way and sometimes I wish I would understand her world better. I keep trying and that is really all she is asking for.

The memory my daughter has is amazing and frightening at the same times. This makes communication sometimes difficult as I have no idea what she is talking about half the time because I forgot long ago that we talked about certain things or we owned specific items (e.g. goodies out of a magazine).

To be honest I was dreading the shutdown, but it surprised me how well my daughter is coping. She is much calmer, has fewer meltdowns and in generally happier. She loves nursery but all the stress which comes with it (getting dressed, doing her hair, getting out of the house when she is not quite ready) makes the afternoons difficult and not pleasant for her.

I enjoy the calmer atmosphere at the moment and happy to see her growing confident in both languages.

Every parent will admit that raising children is not easy sometimes and we all have days where we quite happily would take a day’s holiday from this parenting lark, or the mummy/daddy guilt. Special-needs parents, I dare say, experience it even more so, but I would not change it for anything.

This is the 13th awareness/acceptance day/month and I wish people would stop judging too quickly and stop picturing an “autism child”. Every child is different – on the spectrum or not. It is a hidden disability, so there is no particular look. Those children are amazing in their very own way – if we give them a chance to show us. So please can we stop being too judgmental and make parenting a bit easier.

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