Category Archives: GAP

Maus Tag – Mouse Day

By special request from one of our children, here are some mouse themed activities and a mouse story for you!

Mouse Story:
Here’s Opa Chris reading the German classic, Frederick die Maus

Mice Fingerprint Pictures:
If you have paint or an ink stamp pad at home, you can decorate a piece of paper with loads of fingerprints.  Once the fingerprints dry, use a black marker to add eyes, ears, tails and legs to make your fingerprints into mice.  

If you are feeling really creative, you can create an artistic scene with your mice.  Maybe start by drawing a venue of your choice (the local playground), or a bus or train,  or Telstra tower, or Oma’s house, or your bedroom….  then let your child fill in the fingerprints, and help them to add the ears and tails to turn their fingerprints into mice.

Lisa’s Fingerprint Mice Playground (yours will be better!)

Edible Marzipan Mice:
Make mice from delicious home-made German Marzipan. Here is a little lesson about the cultural significance of marzipan and the recipe in English but better yet, follow the exact same lesson and recipe auf Deutsch. Children can definitely be involved in putting this simple three ingredient egg-free recipe together.

Once you’ve made your marzipan, take a ball about the size of a teaspoon of marzipan, and roll it into a pear shape. Poke a tiny bit of string or thread into the fat end as a tail, and stand two half almond slivers near the pointy end as ears. Add tiny currants or mini choc chips for eyes.

The recipe will make more mice than you need, but it keeps well in the fridge, so hang on to it for another GAP-at-home lesson coming up soon.

Marzipan Maus

Mice Finger Puppets:
This craft will need parent involvement but creates a fun mouse finger puppet toy for your child to play with afterwards. Here is Wie man eine Papiermaus Fingerpuppe macht.

Stand-up Paper Mouse Craft:
Fold a piece of paper in half. Cut out half a heart shape. Using the excess paper, cut out two identical circles for the ears.

Glue or tape the circle ears onto the paper heart around about where the ears should go (see picture of completed mouse). 

Give your folded paper heart (with circle ears) to your child to colour in the eyes, ears and whatever else they want on their mouse.

When your child is finished colouring, open up your folded heart and glue or tape a piece of wool or string in for the tail, as in the diagram below.  (If you think the diagram is rubbish, blame Lisa, as she drew it for you!)

Lisa’s fabulous attempt at a diagram for our paper folded mouse craft

Ignore the original fold line in the middle, and create two new fold lines, as in the diagram.  The space between the two new fold lines is going to become the base of your mouse, so that the mouse will stand up when propped up on the table.

Fold the two outer edges together and attach point A to point B with a tiny bit of tape or glue.

Stand your mouse up and admire!  Repeat to make a village of mice to play with. 

German vocabulary from today’s mouse lesson:
Mouse: die Maus
Mice: die Maeuse
Ears: die Ohren
Tail: der Schwanz
Circle: der / ein Kreis
Heart shape: das / ein Herz
Wool: die Wolle
String: die Schnur
Glue:  der Klebe
Scissors:  die Schere
Almonds:  die Mandeln
Icing sugar:   der Puderzucker
yummy: lecker!!!

For those looking to be super GAP-at-home educators: Make a mouse themed poster showcasing today’s vocabulary. You could use a few of today’s craft items and ideas. By using pictures, you won’t need the English text… just put the German words on and look awesome! Send us your pics for bonus points!

Easter Lesson Plan 3

Frohe Ostern!

Here are some lovely Easter ideas for you.

Make bunny pancakes!  Here’s the how-to video and recipe for you and your child to follow along.  Here is a similar one auf Deutsch.   


Make bunny-ear head bands.  Make a strip of paper to go around your child’s head, and staple some card/paper ears on it, like in our photo.  You can newspaper if you like. Here’s a slightly fancier version.  (Tip: if you are using staples, put a little piece of sticky tape over the staple ends so they don’t get caught on your child’s hair.)

Make a bunny hand-puppet using an old bill envelope

Play and sing Haeschen in der Grube (rabbit in the burrow).  When we sing and play this at GAP one child goes into the middle of the circle and curls up as the Haeschen while we sing. We all go into the middle of the circle and gently pat the Haeschen during the line “armes Haeschen bist du krank, das du nicht mehr huepfen kannst?” then quickly run back into our circle spots for the next line to allow space for the Haeschen to jump up and hop. Here is the song sung with the lyrics

Ready for a quiet story time?  Die Haeschenschule (Rabbit School): a very old classic story, read aloud.  (We usually skip the bit at 3:43 because we don’t have naughty children at GAP, and even if we did, they wouldn’t be treated in that old-fashioned way.) 

Frohe Ostern!

Gerda’s Bunny Craft

Hallo Kinder! Our gorgeous GAP teacher Gerda has made a fun bunny craft video for you all.

Click on the link here to enjoy Gerda’s bunny craft video.

Want more rabbit fun?

Jump and wiggle your ears to this fun action song/dance about Hoppelhase Hans

Imagine if the wrong Easter bunny had come along. Find out what happens in the video story of Der falsche Osterhase (7:29) – there are even English subtitles. 

For those who like to print out a story text and read it aloud to their child, here is Wie das Angsthäschen zum Muthasen wurde

Perhaps your child would like to draw a picture or write a letter to the Osterhase (Easter bunny) to say thank you for a nice Easter.  

Viel Spass!

Easter Lesson Plan 2

Today’s activity is creating a German Osterbaum (Easter tree). This is a very German way to celebrate Easter, so enjoy!   

You’ll need eggs (or card/paper) and a few branches (either indoors or outdoors). 

Eggs:  Decorate some eggs for Easter and hang them in your Osterbaum (Easter tree). 

Option 1: Real eggs.
Either blow them out or hard boil them first.  Hard boiling them makes them less fragile to handle, of course.  Decorate your eggs using either crayons, paint, glueing little bits of coloured paper on, pencils, stickers, or food colouring dye. Attach or thread a bit of wool or ribbon around the eggs to hang them once they are dry.   

Option 2: Card/paper eggs.
Draw some egg shapes on some stiff paper or card. Let your child colour them in and decorate them. Remember to decorate both sides.  Cut them out, make a little hole in the top and help your child to thread a piece of string or wool through a hole in the top.  See picture of our paper eggs here

You can either hang your eggs on a real tree outside, or you can go for a long walk and collect a few small fallen branches to bring home with you. 

One of our teachers made this Osterbaum at home

Are you eggs-austed after your walk to collect branches and all that Osterbaum decorating?  You might like to get comfy and watch a 20 minute episode of the Weiss du eigentlich wie lieb ich dich habe rabbits (while mum or dad get some work done).

Viel Spass!

Easter Lesson Plan 1

Today’s lesson plan has a story, some craft, a rhyme, a song and a game… all on the Easter theme.

Here is a short story for you to read aloud to your child, about Pips das Osterhasenkind:  Hilfe für Pips, das Hasenkind.

Here is an Easter colouring in sheet.  Talk about colours, shapes (will you decorate your egg with triangles, circles, stars?).

For those with glue and coloured tissue paper at home, here are the instructions so you can craft das Küken (the chick). (Little torn up bits of birthday crepe-paper-streamers work too.)

Try this little German children’s rhyme and finger playHäschen Löffelohr.

Our song for today is Stups der kleine Osterhase (Stups the little Easter bunny) by Rolf Zuckowski. The lyrics are here.

Ready for a bit of action? What about playing the Fangspiel: Hase und Jäger? (Fangspiel = chasing/catching game.)  This game is pretty self-explanatory ;-). One person is der Jäger (hunter, pron yay-ger) and the other player/s is/are der Hase/die Hasen (the bunny/bunnies, pron hah-zen).  The hunter runs around and tries to catch the bunny/bunnies. When you catch a bunny, you call out “Gefangen!” (caught!) and cuddle them.  You can have as many players as you like.

Enjoy your day!

Make The Most of Your Mail

Here is how you can augment the education factor  (and feel like such an awesome home school teacher) before you even open the envelope of ANY mail! (Children who are lucky enough to be enrolled at GAP will be getting some personalised mail this week, too!)

Spend time talking about:

* what does it say on the envelope?

* who is the envelope for and how can you tell?  (address, always in the middle)

* who sent it and how can you tell?  (return address, always either top left or on the back, and smaller than the TO address)

* who brought it to your house (the postie) and how did s/he bring it (on foot, by motorbike)? what do posties wear so you can tell they are posties and people can see them on the road?

* how did it get from the teachers to you? The teachers put things inside the envelope and sealed it and wrote the address on it, and then we took it to the post office. The post office sends it to a sorting station. The mail sorting is done by robots and people. The mail sorters don’t read the address from top to bottom like we do when we are reading a story; they read from bottom to top. First they sort the mail by country; then they take all the mail for our country, Australia, and sort that into different boxes for states/territories. Then they sort all the ACT mail into different postcodes. Then they sort by suburb. Then they sort by street and by the postie’s route, and put it into the postie’s bag to take out to the people!   Look on a world map or globe to see how that all works. 

* look at a map of Canberra, and see if you can figure out where the letter journeyed on its way to you?  There’s a postmark showing which post office it started it. Where is your local sorting station? Mitchell? Fyshwick?

* what’s on the pictures on the stamps? does anyone in your family collect stamps? what do other stamps look like?  would you like to draw your own design for a stamp?

* what do the stamps mean?  (they mean that someone paid the post office to deliver that envelope)  how much did they cost?

* is this a brand new envelope or did the sender use recycled envelopes? why is it good to use recycled envelopes? what else can you use your envelope for now? 

* sing along to the traditional German children’s song Kommt ein Vogel geflogen, about a little bird delivering a note (ein Zettel) to a child. Fly around the room like a bird, flapping your wings and delivering letters.

* want more? Here’s a kids’ video (in English) explaining the journey of a letter through Australia Post.

* now that you know how the postal system works, maybe think about leaving a note or picture on your mailbox for your postie to show your gratitude for their great community service. 

Lisa’s SUPER HOT TIP for parents wanting something to keep kids busy for HOURS for DAYS!!!
Get empty tissue boxes (or some sort of big envelope) and have your kids make mail boxes/pouches for each person in your house (to prop up outside each person’s bedroom door).  Kids can then spend HOURS drawing pictures to “post” to their family members. You can even supply some envelopes (recycled from your bills).  Be sure to check your personal mailbox regularly and make all the right noises when you find post there: Oh WOW! I got mail!!!  “Ich habe einen Brief bekommen!”

Useful German vocabulary:
ein Brief:  a letter
eine Briefmarke: postage stamp 
ein Briefumschlag:  envelope
der Brieftraeger (or die Brieftraegerin): postie (or lady postie), letter carrier
Adresse or die Postanschrift: address
ein Briefkasten: a mailbox

When you make your own mail box, you will surely want to have the German or Australia post logo on it!  Here they are:

Viel Spass, everyone!!

Six Animal Stories

Looking for School at Home story ideas? Here are three nicely told and illustrated quiet time stories by Eric Carle, and three classic German children’s shows. You could play them as audio only, or watch the video as well.

Quiet Story #1: Caterpillar
You can’t go past this classic story: It has numbers, days of the week, names of foods, and a biology lesson.  Here is the beautifully presented video of Die Kleine Raupe Nimmersatt (The Very Hungy Caterpillar)

Quiet Story #2: Chameleon
If you watch and listen to Chamaeleon Kunterbunt together, you can pause the video and ask your child to identify the chameleon’s various colours as the story progresses. There are lots of animals to pause on and identify as well. 

Quiet Story #3: Cricket  
Die kleine Grille singt ihr Lied, is about a cricket singing her song, and teaches about insects.

Classic German Children’s Show #1: Mouse
If you want to feel really German, you can join loads of German children (and parents) watching episodes of the hugely popular Die Sendung mit der Maus.  If the German is too complex for you/your child, there are also MausSpots which don’t have much text. 
The mouse has his own page (Die Seite mit der Maus!) where you can download games and short audio-books and all sorts of stuff. 
No doubt many German parents will remember it from their own childhood.  If you are interested, you can educate yourself culturally about the show here

Classic German Children’s Show #2:  Rabbits
For fans of the Guess How Much I Love You rabbits, there is a whole series of Weisst du eigentlich wie lieb ich dich habe stories online. 

Classic German Children’s Show #3:  Polar Bear
Lars der kleine Eisbaer is quite a gentle series. Letting your child enjoy Episode 1, for example, will give you 26 uninterrupted minutes to sterilise your house and hold your video conference for work…. uh, I mean, give your child 26 minutes of German education (!!!).  (Actually, if your child is sensitive maybe sit with them for episode 1 where Lars learns to swim and later accidentally floats away from his family on an ice raft and through a storm, to start his adventure…. from memory, it should be okay after that.  Spoiler alert: He returns safely to his family in the end.)

Tanzen und Turnen – Getting Exercise

Been on your Baerenjagd walk and found all the neighbourhood bears for now?

Tanzen und Turnen (dancing and gymnastics) to music at home is a great way to lift one’s spirits and stay fit and healthy.

 The ABC has some great advice for young and old about staying healthy during the shut down.  

Here are some of our top picks for dance / movement songs: 

  1. Das Lied ueber mich (one of our teachers Katja’s favourite song) covers vocabulary for different parts of the body, and a few animals as well. 
  2. Aramsamsam mit Kinder.  The lyrics are nonsense words but it is very popular with children in Germany. It even has been performed for children by the Frankfurt Opera Company. Have fun with it getting faster and faster! (I wonder if adults sing it in the giant beer tents at Oktoberfest?! Could be a lot of fun… But I digress.)
  3. So ein schoener Tag will have you zooming around the room like an airplane, flexing your tiger-strong muscles, stretching up like a giraffe, jumping, swimming and dancing around holding hands to the music because it is such a beautiful day.
  4. Das Zappellied (the wiggle song) which is also good for vocabulary and concepts like beside / in front / behind / sit down / lie down… when you just can’t sit still on a chair!
  5. Tschu Tschu Wa.  Most GAP parents have participated in this action song at pick up time already, so they can enjoy a reprise at home.  You’d better all know this one off by heart when we get back together later this year!! 🙂  
  6. A-E-I-O-U is another great one for movement. Here’s a version with subtitles, but even if you don’t know the words following the teacher in the first link will give you a pretty good workout. 🙂  (Here is the original of that song with good old Volker Rosin who must have written about a billion children’s hits in Germany since the 1980’s.) 
  7. Ich bin ein Einhorn. I’m not sure what sort of actions you and your children can come up with for this last song, but this one is especially for our unicorn fans.

Viel Spass! (Have fun!)

Prepare Your Home School

Here are a few staples that it would be great for each child to have at their home-school. 

The basics:

  • crayons  (wax crayons; don’t go with oil pastels as you will never get it off your carpet/walls/furniture/work clothes/dog’s fur)
  • pencil crayons (the little tiny packs you get on airplanes are rubbish… invest in 12 or so long ones of a reputable brand like Crayola)
  • a normal pencil
  • a pencil sharpener
  • a pair of children’s scissors
  • paper (lots of white is great, some coloured if you can) (it doesn’t matter if it has Department of Finance stuff or whatever on the back… it can still be used for drawing and colouring)
  • glue and/or glue stick
  • sticky tape

Optional highly desirable items

  • a pack of children’s textas (any size) to colour on paper
  • chalk (for drawing outside)
  • a blank A4 book to draw in
  • an old paint brush (1 to 2 inches wide) to ‘paint’ on the pavement outside, using water in a bucket / empty container
  • a ball of coloured wool (the thicker the wool, the better)
  • a stapler
  • some envelopes (recycled from your bills)
  • a 246-inch screen and unlimited subscriptions to Netflix and Foxtel  (NO! I’m KIDDING!!)
  • bottle of wine and big block of chocolate (for Mummy) (Again, NO! I’m KIDDING!! Put that back!)

In the craft and activity ideas we provide on our website during our COVID closure, we’ll try to give you craft ideas that involve things that can be found at home.

Good luck, everyone!