Winter Activities

Here on the east coast, winter has made a very loud arrival! Two days with no school – and this the first week back after a long break! Then I realized I’ve never posted any winter activities! So here are a number of random worksheets and craft ideas you can do in German 🙂

Schneemann malen nach Zahlen

This simple color by number is great for the little ones just learning their numbers and colors. The color words are written in the corresponding color, making it easier for them to do on their own. Download the PDF here: Schneemann Malen nach Zahlen GitA

Schneemann Malen nach Zahlen GitA-page-001

Tierspuren

Here are two simple worksheets to talk about the tracks that different animals leave in the snow. There is a black and white version. And if a little extra help is needed, there is a colored outline version. Then the colors can be easily paired up.

Tierspuren GitA-page-001

Download the worksheets as PDF files here:

For a follow-up activity, see if you have any little animal figures. Winter animals would be best, but whatever you’ve got! Then get out the play-doh and roll it out. Let your child walk the animals through the play-doh to make tracks. Then compare them. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about animals in German!

If you have snow and it isn’t brutally cold, go for a walk and see if you see any tracks. Before you go, talk about the kinds of animals that live in your area. Maybe look up what their prints look like, so you can identify them when you see them.

Winter Wortschatz

Here are five winter word posters you can print out full-sized or print 6-to-a-page to make flashcards. Print two sets to make a game of memory!

Download the PDF file here: Winter Wortschatz GitA

There is also a coloring page of all five words to go with them.

Winter Wortschatz Malvorlage GitA-page-001

Download the PDF here: Winter Wortschatz Malvorlage GitA

Winter Labyrinthe

I just put up a post with 10 easy German winter mazes! You can find them here 🙂 Here is an example:

Schneeflocken fangen GitA-page-001

Other ideas

There are tons of great craft ideas out there! I’ve been collecting them on a Pinterest board for years. Check it out here!

I also saw a list of 40 snow day boredom busters on Mommy Poppins. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration there?!

Viel Spaß!

Kling, Glöckchen!

I’m teaching a Christmas lesson in Pre-K/Kindergarten tomorrow morning. I like to bring in some of my favorite German Christmas things. This year I’m keeping it simple. So I’ll bring in just a few things:

  • der Nussknacker (nutcracker)
  • der Hampelmann (jumping jack)
  • das Lebkuchenherz (gingerbread heart)
  • der Räuchermann (smoker)
  • das Adventskalender (advent calendar)

Last year we received a musical advent calendar from our Swiss au pair’s family. You open a little door and press the button and get a song! And there is a switch on the back, so you can choose between German and English carols. It’s called Der klingende Adventskalender.

I’m going to read a sweet book about being together to celebrate. It’s called Frohe Weihnachten, kleiner Elch by Anne-Kristin zur Brügge (Oetinger, 2016).

Frohe Weihnachten, kleiner Elch

Then I’m going to teach them the song “Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling”. I thought I would teach them just that much to begin. We’ll see if they can catch on to the rest!

We’ll craft some jingle bells, because you can’t sing that song without some jingle bells!

2016-12-16-09-08-39

You can find the simple instructions in this post.

I’ll send them home with a coloring page that has the words to the song.

Kling Glöckchen coloring page-GitA

You can download the PDF here: Kling Glöckchen coloring page GitA

 

Teaching Colors with Elmar dem Elefanten

I’ve had a hard time teaching colors to my pre-K/kindergarten class in the past. I needed a book that had something of a story to hold the children’s interest and more importantly, I needed a color song.

For the book, I am going to try out Elmar mag alle Farben by David McKee (Thienemann-Esslinger, 2015). (If you are familiar with these books in English, you’ll notice that the spelling is different: Elmer with an “e” in English, Elmar with an “a” in German.)

It’s very simple, which I really like. But it isn’t just page after page of Elmar mag rot … Elmar mag blau … und, und, und. It isn’t exactly a story, but each set of pages tells a kind of mini story. For example: “Der Schneemann ist weiß. Sein lila Schal hält ihn warm.” Nice and simple, but still interesting.

Elmar mag alle Farben

Before I get to the book, however, I need to introduce the colors. I made a rainbow out of felt pieces that stack on top of each other. That way, I can introduce each color individually, but I can also stack them up to make my rainbow. Now if only I had remembered to get myself a felt board! I’ll have to improvise a little here 🙂

I still have not found a simple song to teach the colors. So I finally came up with my own! It’s to the tune of “Ten Little Indians” and just repeats the colors:

rot, orange, gelb, grün, blau, lila
rot, orange, gelb, grün, blau, lila
rot, orange, gelb, grün, blau, lila
in dem Regenbogen

Just make sure you sing the word “orange” on two notes (one for each syllable). I’ll keep my felt rainbow out to point to the colors as we sing it. Easy peasy!

I always end with a book and then an activity – usually a coloring sheet. So I made up a very simple checkered Elmar coloring page to include all six colors.

 

Elmar Farben GitA-page-001

Each of the colored crayons points to a box to color in, so that Elmar ends up looking like a checkered rainbow.

You can download the coloring page here: Elmar Farben GitA

Viel Spaß!

Bewegungen – Action Words

For three weeks, I’ve been doing numbers in the Pre-K/Kindergarten class. I was wondering if the repetition was good, or if the children needed a little variation! So I came up with a compromise for today’s lesson. We still included number, but we also added some new vocabulary.

We have been starting each class with our Hallo-Lied and working on ich heiße.

As a quick review, we sang “Meine Finger” again. Just like on the first day, we used klatschen and patschen. I added schnipsen this time, too. And to review numbers, we counted to 5 as we did the actions five times each.

Then I introduced some verbs. We already talked about schlafen with the song “Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo,” but we repeated that one again here. Then we also added gehen, essen, spielen, and steigen (to walk, to eat, to play, to climb).

In addition to the word posters, I created a coloring sheet for the children to take home:

Bewegungen AB GitA-page-002

I chose these words because of the book we read: Mein 1-2-3 Mäuschenbuch by Alexandra Dannenmann. In addition to counting from 1 to 10, each page shows a different action. I decided to select just five of the action words to introduce.

mein-1-2-3-mauschenbuch

Usually, I read the book last. But I wanted to end this class with a fingerplay that the children always love! It’s called Die Mausfamilie. You can read the text and download it on this post from last year.

The action word posters and coloring page are free to download here:

Viel Spaß!

Vehicles

I can’t believe the school year is almost over! And I can’t believe I haven’t done a vehicles topic for the children yet! So I grabbed one of my favorite books for inspiration: Kikaninchen’s Wer fährt heute mit (arsEdition, 2011). It doesn’t necessarily have the most common of vehicles (a submarine and a soap box car?!), but it’s a cute little story. It also includes days of the week and animals.

I began the lesson by introducing the vocabulary to the children. I couldn’t find a picture of a soap box car, so we skipped that one for now! And since I planned on singing “Die Räder vom Bus” we had to include a bus. I like to keep the new words to only 5 or 6. But I created word posters for 9 vehicles:

  • das Auto
  • der Bus
  • der Heißluftballon
  • die Rakete
  • das Schiff
  • der Traktor
  • das U-Boot
  • der Zug

 

You can download the PDF file here: Fahrzeuge Posters GitA

Then we sang “Die Räder vom Bus” (Wheels on the Bus). There is more than one version of this song. But here is one that I have:

Die Räder vom Bus

Die Räder vom Bus, die rollen dahin
rollen dahin
rollen dahin
Die Räder vom Bus, die rollen dahin
Stundenlang
Die Türen vom Bus gehen auf und zu...
Die Wischer vom Bus machen wisch wisch wisch...
Die Hupe vom Bus macht tut tut tut...
Die Leute im Bus schaukeln hin und her...

Finally, we read our book:kika-wer-fahrt-heute-mit

And of course, I sent the children home with a coloring page.

Fahrzeuge Malvorlage GitA-page-001

Download it here: Fahrzeuge Malvorlage GitA

Happy Mother’s Day!

We celebrated Mother’s Day in the pre-K class this week. We read a book called Bist du meine Mama? about a little chick that goes looking for its mother. It was perfect, because they were actually hatching chicks at school!

The book takes place on a farm, so first we reviewed our farm animals and what they say. The children love to hear the different animal sounds, especially ones that are very different, like the frog that says “quak” like our English ducks!

  • das Küken sagt “piep-piep”
  • die Katze sagt “miau”
  • der Hund sagt “wau-wau”
  • das Schwein sagt “oink-oink”
  • die Kuh sagt “muh”
  • der Frosch sagt “quak-quak”
  • die Henne sagt “gack-gack”
  • der Hahn sagt “kikeriki”

I have several sets of farm animal word posters. Sorry there isn’t one easy document for this story! And even though there isn’t a horse or a duck in this book, I’m including those, too.  You can download them here:

They look like this:

Songs about animals or the farm have been hard to come by. And I couldn’t really think of a song about a mother that would work. These songs in the pre-K class have to be very, very simple! So in the end, I thought of doing a lullaby 🙂 We sang “Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf” and I had the children do simple motions with it:

  • Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf  –  pretend to sleep
  • Dein Vater hütet die Schaf  –  use arms to “gather” the sheep & then pretend to hold a sheep
  • Die Mutter schüttelt das Bäumelein  –  hold arm up like a tree trunk with the hand as the branches and wave the arm & hand, as if the tree is shaking
  • Da fällt herab ein Träumelein  –  hands slowly “rain” down a soft dream (think “Itsy-Bitsy Spider rain!)
  • Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf  –  pretend to sleep again

They really enjoyed it. And – bonus! – it also settled them down a bit 🙂

We ended with our book, Bist du meine Mama? by Christiane Hansen (Oetinger, 2006):

Bist du meine Mama

Then I sent them home with a coloring page: Alles Liebe zum Muttertag (PDF)

Alles Liebe zum Muttertag-page-001

 

Nikolaus – Free Coloring Page

As we prepare for a visit from Nikolaus, we will be making our lacing boots today in Story Hour. (If you missed that post, you can find it here.)

If you’re looking for something quick and easy, I also made up a coloring page with Nikolaus along with the words to the first verse of “Lasst uns froh und munter sein”.

nikolaus-malvorlage-gita-2015-jpg

You can download the PDF here: Nikolaus Malvorlage GitA

We are expecting some little ones in Story Hour today, so while the older children are lacing and decorating their boots, I thought our young friends could have this picture to color.