Montags mit Mama: Color Mixing

Hippo has been so interested in colors lately, so I thought we would do some coloring mixing this morning.

Last night, I prepared the “experiment”. I filled an ice cube tray with water and then added food coloring in red, yellow, and blue. A few drops in each cube was enough to make our three colors.

This morning, we set up our table with the tablecloth, a plate, a fork*, and the colored cubes. I also drew up a quick sheet to see what Hippo thought would happen when we mixed the colors. He was pretty off! But that’s part of the fun ­čÖé

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First he guessed what each mixture of colors would make. Then we put one cube of each color on the plate and let him play with them. As they melted, the two primary colors combined to make the new secondary color. Magic! Then we filled in the Ergebnis circle with the correct answer. In the end, he mixed ALL of the colors together. You can imagine what happened then … a nice, muddy mess of colors ­čÖé

*He started out using his fingers to move the colored ice cubes around. Of course, his fingers turned red and yellow and blue, too! So we got out a fork for mixing the color cubes instead.

Here’s a blank form you can download in PDF: farben-mischen-gita. It looks like this:

farben-mischen-gita-page-001

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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┬á ­čÖé

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 ­čÖé

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….

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!

Space Game

In another attempt to use more German with Froggy, we’ve started a German “date” after school on Mondays. Last week, we went to a cafe for some hot chocolate (even though it was early May, it was still unusually chilly!) and sat at a big table to play a space game.

I found the game on the site Lehrmittel Perlen. I haven’t used the site too much yet, but it has an awful lot of materials. (You do have to pay an annual fee of about┬áÔéČ20 in order to download materials.)

This Space Game (Spiel mit Weltraumw├Ârtern) comes with cards that include an image an description of the following terms:

  • Sonne
  • Milchstra├če
  • Mond
  • Sternbild
  • Teleskop
  • Asteroiden
  • Astronomie
  • Planeten

There is also a set of cards in black-and-white with the image, word, and space for children to write.

The game itself is simple, yet fun. Print out the game board and mini cards with the same images. Cut up the mini cards. Use a game piece (also included as a mini card, but rather large for the game board, so I may just use one of our own game pieces next time) to move around the board. Draw cards to see which space to move to. And of course, have the child say the word that goes with the picture! But watch out – if you get a star, you must go to that colored star, even if it means moving backward!

Weltraumwoerterspiel

Froggy really enjoyed the game, and he was using all the space words!

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