Schneemann Lesen & Malen / Snowman Read & Color

Our winter break has ended, however we are taking a week of remote learning before heading back into the building. And so I wanted to give my students some activities to get German fresh again without having to use screen time. They are getting enough virtual meetings and online assignments already.

Since my 5th & 6th graders really like to color, I created a snowman read & color activity. To help them along, I added a second page of vocabulary.

To make sure I had set it up correctly, I had Hippo try the activity for his at-home German lesson yesterday. It went very well!

Download the PDF for FREE here:

Viel Spaß!

Meine Sommerleseliste / Summer Reading Log

!Sommerleseliste 2018 GitA

As Froggy gets ready for 3rd grade (what?!!), he has been asked by his teachers to keep a log of the books he reads over the summer. I thought it would be fun if he helped me create one for him. So he chose the frame and the font.

I’ve created the log in English and in German. You choose!

Download the PDF file for FREE here: !Sommerleseliste 2018 GitA

What books will your children read over the summer? And in what language will they read??

Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

Valentine Mazes

A while back, Froggy was really into mazes. I mean, REALLY! We all got good at drawing them. And I used to make them on the computer, too. So I thought I would post a week’s worth of Valentine mazes! If your child is starting to read, this is a fun way to get them to read a sentence, too!

You can download all 7 PDF files here in a zip folder:


Here’s an idea of what they look like:

Elmar loves all weather!

Today for our weather unit lesson, Froggy read a book called Elmar mag jedes Wetter. It’s a pretty simple book. But at this stage, simple is good!


At the same time, it wasn’t quite enough to fill out a full lesson. So I created a worksheet to go with it. It, too, is rather simple. Since Elmar likes all weather, the answer to each question is Ja! But I added a bit more to personalize it:


It also sneaks in a little work on how to say that you like something!

You can download the PDF here: Elmar mag jedes Wetter – GitA


Morning Routine

Now that Hippo is going to school, I thought he could use an aid in helping him get ready in the morning. So I created a visual checklist for him and also included instructions in German. As he starts learning to read, those words will become more helpful!


The routine includes the following four steps:

  • Zieh dich an (get dressed)
  • Wirf deinen Schlafanzug in den Wäschekorb (put your pajamas in the laundry basket)
  • Mach dein Bett (make your bed)
  • Putz dir die Zähne (brush your teeth)

You can download the PDF document here: morning-routine-2016

Summer Experiment: No English Books

Before school ended, I came across a post on Multilingual Living (a great resource for multilingual families, if you’re not familiar with it!). The contributor wrote about her summer experiment: NO ENGLISH BOOKS! Well, at least for the summer. She packed them up and stored them in the guest room, so her kids had only German books to read all summer long.

Now, her boys are older than mine – 9 and 7 compared to mine at 6 and 3. My older son is a good reader in English, though, and my little one loves to be read to. So I decided to try out her experiment.

I thought my kids would revolt when all the English books disappeared on the last day of school! Well, they didn’t entirely disappear…. They were packed up in boxes, but the boxes never made it out of the hall where we have our bookcases, between the boys’ rooms:

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Without the English books, the shelves look a little bare! And you can see, the boxes have been reopened as summer winds down.

I even took it one step further and packed up the English DVDs. Alas, I couldn’t pack up YouTube and all the marble run videos my kids like to watch! In the car, we had only German music and stories.

So how did it go??

Well, we made it through the whole summer … almost. I finally gave in with just over a week to go before school starts. But the boys went along with my experiment!

I’m not sure that I saw an improvement in their German. But then, we didn’t work much on actually speaking German this summer. Tja. We’re still working on it! Still, I’m pleased with all the exposure they got.

We also kept the Dutch books out, so my husband had something to read at bedtime. The only trick was what to do when we had a babysitter or my mom putting the boys to bed, since they only speak English! I think my mom managed Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt (The Very Hungry Caterpillar) in German, since she’s heard it so many times! And Hippo helped her  🙂

I think the most successful part of the experiment for us was listening to German in the car. I have a CD of Eric Carle stories. They are not too long, about 7 minutes each. It was by far the most requested playlist in the car all summer!

Eric Carle CD

We also have a CD called Nimmersatt Singspiel by Viktor Christen, but I can’t find it anywhere online now. Froggy loved singing along with the somewhat quirky musical adaptation of the story!

Now that school is about to start, I have started opening up the boxes of English books. Froggy was so happy to have his Kids First Big Book of Space back 🙂

However, we also made a deal. My husband and I take turns putting the boys to bed (and then our au pair gets one night a week while we go out on a date night!), so I have 3 bedtimes each week. And we agreed that one of those nights would be a German night. So the experiment continues….

Koffer Packen: Kids’ Packing List

Koffer Packen GitA-page-001

Last year when we went to Europe, I found some great packing lists for kids online. But of course, they were all in English! (See for example: this one from Lemon Lime Adventures; or this one from Stuffed Suitcase with images for non-readers.) They worked great for our preparations last year. But this year, I just had to make my own!

Here is what they look like:



There are three packing lists:

  • Kleidung (Clothing)
  • Toilettenartikel (Toiletries)
  • Rücksack (Backpack)

You can download all three of them here: Koffer Packen GitA (PDF)

Only the Kleidung page has images. I haven’t decided yet if I want the images on there or not 🙂  For Hippo (age 3), the images make sense. But if the goal is to get Froggy (age 6) reading as many German words as I can put in front of him, then the pictures may be doing him a disservice. We haven’t actually done the packing yet, so I’ll see how it all goes! If I think they could use some adjusting, I’ll edit the pages and repost.


A Few Summer Tools

What a whirlwind it’s been since school ended! Just the week before the last day, Froggy broke his arm! He’s been amazing, actually. After the initial pain wore off, he was such a trooper! And he’s hardly complained a bit about being in a full arm cast. Luckily, it only hast to be on for 3 weeks. Then hopefully we’ll move on to something a little easier….

In the meantime, that meant no swim lessons! And I decided not to sign him up for any camps, since I didn’t want him overdoing it. What to do instead?!

Well, I made up a kind of guide for our week. There are a few things to be checked off each day. And then I made three more lists: things to do at home/inside, outdoor activities, and outings. I posted those on our cork board in the kitchen. No excuses for being bored around here! (Before I wrote them out, I went over them with Froggy to see if there was anything he absolutely was not interested in.)

Beneath the lists is our Wochenplan. In addition to that, I made up a reading log, so he can keep track of what he reads each day, for how long, and who does the reading (in prep for 1st grade, the teachers asked the children to read 10 minutes per day, but it didn’t matter if the child read or was read to).

If you’d like to use these two plans as a template, you can download them here:

Wochenplan blank (Word document)

Was lese ich in der Woche blank (Word document)

You may notice that the books on the list are either in German or Dutch! We are trying an experiment I read about on someone’s blog: no English books for the summer!!! By the last day of school, I had packed up all the English books. There has been a bit of grumbling from Froggy, but he’s going along with it. Hippo doesn’t seem to mind at all. The only exception is that I left out a few books about Germany and the Netherlands, since we’ll be heading over there for two weeks this summer. So far, we are seeing improvement in Froggy’s reading and pronunciation!

Any questions or ideas to add? I’d love to read your comments!

German Date #3: Planet Activity

Our space fun continued today on our third German Date 🙂

I hadn’t had time to create anything snazzy before I picked up Froggy from school. So while we dug into our fro-yo, I whipped up a quick worksheet to go with some stickers I’d picked up at the craft store. The planet stickers are by Mrs Grossmann’s. They come with six planets, so I created questions to go with them.

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Don’t look too closely! When I got home, AP2 found a few mistakes! Well, I wrote up the activity in a more formal document – with corrections! – and you can download it here:

Space Sticker Activity (PDF)

We also used the activity as an opportunity to practice German letters. Once Froggy came up with the answer, I spelled the planet in German for him. Those vowels get a bit confusing!

I tried to get him to play Hangman (Galgenmenschen) with me as well, but I couldn’t persuade him. It would be another great way to practice those letters!

Instead, we brought out the Space Cards again. This time, we played Fische! (Go Fish!). We used two sets of the cards. He chose to use the set with pictures and words plus the set with just pictures. I think it might have helped to put out the set with pictures and words, since I’m still learning which planets are which! Then we could have matched picture cards to word cards. But the game still was lots of fun. We played twice! Here you can see my hand, the deck of cards for “fishing,” and Froggy’s matches.

2016-05-16 15.55.20.jpg


Another Reading Trick

As I said in my last post, I’m always looking for ways to put German in front of Froggy, so his reading skills don’t fall too far behind his English reading.

Another trick I use daily is to write a note for his lunchbox in German. I always put the date at the top. Ideally, I would have some topic that we’re working on (but I haven’t done that in a while), and the notes would use vocabulary from that same topic. Mostly, my notes have something to do with what is going on at school, the weather, or something he might be looking forward to. Here are a couple of examples:

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  • “Mittwoch, der 10. Februar – Lieber Froggy, wir sehen Schnee weit und breit! Bis bald! – Deine, Mama”
  • “Mittwoch, der 17. Februar – Lieber Froggy, spielst du heite draußen? Viel Spaß! – Deine, Mama”



His teachers say the notes have been working great this year. He not only reads them but often shares them with his friends. A couple of months ago, the school counselor had a number of special lunches with the kindergartners to talk about friendship, and she also said that Froggy would read and translate the notes for the group 🙂  At least for now, German is cool enough to share with friends!