Category Archives: Mental Health and Well-being

sniffles and coughs: When Is It Okay To Come Back?

This winter (2020) the advice is clear: stay home if you are sick. This applies equally to adults and children. It applies whether it is a simple cold, flu or the dreaded corona virus.

How long do you need to stay away from playgroup, playschool or scouts though?

We have sought advice from our resident doctor and infectious diseases expert to help us all clarify when children with sniffles or coughs can return to their groups.  His advice is paraphrased here:

The short answer is that people can be infectious while they have symptoms. … In most cases, children will be infectious for around 5-7 days (but perhaps up to 2 weeks). Even after people have recovered, some may have a persistent cough for quite a while. This is usually not because they are still in any way infectious, more a reflex to the damage done to the airways that causes them to be extremely susceptible to any kind of irritation. More information about catching and caring for colds can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/common-cold/

So, the rule at Spielwelt is this:

Stay home if you are sick. You can return when you are symptom-free. The only exception is for a lingering dry unproductive cough IF it has been 14 days since your cold started AND all the other cold/flu symptoms have cleared up.

There is no requirement from Spielwelt to present evidence that you have been tested for corona virus and returned a negative results in order to start attending sessions again. (Obviously, you should stay home and get tested if you suspect you might have the virus, though!)

Children who have an asthmatic cough can attend, and are likely to have their puffer with them. Asthma is not contagious.

Sorry to make you stay home when you are busting to join us, folks. We know it is hard, especially for our GAP families needing to get back to work after so long – but you are doing your bit to help protect everyone else and we all appreciate that.  

Choc Chip Cookies / Schoko Kekse

Looking for a nice treat? A baking session with your child is always fun.

Here is Gerda’s super easy recipe for chocolate chip banana oatmeal cookies.

They are vegan and gluten-free. The photo above is one Gerda took when she baked these delicious chewy bikkies.

Download the recipe in German (with pictures for children).

If you need to cheat and look at the English version, you can.

While you wait for them to come out of the oven, you could sing along to this traditional German children’s song about baking cakes, which we sing at GAP, called Backe backe Kuchen.

Here’s some handy German vocabulary for any baking session.

Vorbereiten – to prepare

die Schale – bowl
messen – to measure
die Tasse – cup
der Löffel – spoon
der Essöffel (EL) – tablespoon
der Teelöffel (TL) – teaspoon
der Spatel – spatula
der Ofen – oven
backen – bake

Combining ingredients

entrahmen – to cream
mischen – to mix
rühren – to stir
kneten – to knead

Common baking ingredients

die Butter – no prizes for guessing what this is
das Mehl – flour
der Zucker – sugar
das Ei – egg (Eier – eggs)
die Milch – yes that’s right, milk
das Backpulver – baking powder

After baking

putzen – to clean
schmecken – to taste
lecker – yummy, tasty
süβ – sweet

and hopefully you don’t need this word:

gebrannt – burnt!


The Good Jar or Nudelglas

At GAP, we have a Nudelglas (MonTues class) and a Good Jar (ThursFri class).

At the end of each day, we take time to reflect on some of the positive things that happened during the day. The aim is two-fold: to notice good behaviour and to think of things we are grateful for.

Children and teachers come up with all sorts of things, for example:

  • We enjoyed going to the park in the beautiful sunshine, so we are grateful to have such a nice park and great weather.
  • Alex was especially helpful at tidy up time and picked up all the blocks that got left behind.
  • I saw Leon being a good friend and waiting for a friend to put on their shoes before going outside to play together.
  • Christiane gave a big beautiful smile at roll call and it made me feel happy.
  • I felt lovely and peaceful when we were all sitting together for morning tea.
  • We felt thankful to the teacher who made us delicious warm Kinder-Tee to drink when we came inside from the cold weather.
  • Susanne held the door open for her friend, and that was kind.
  • Everyone did such lovely dances and were careful not to bump into others, which was respectful.
  • We are so grateful to have wonderful friends and families who show us that they love us.

For each positive thing, we put a piece of dry pasta in our Nudelglas or a note in the Good Jar.

Our Good Jar and Nudelglas

Want to try this at home?

Decorate your jar. Prepare a handy bowl or box of dried pasta or paper slips and a pen, ready nearby.

With help of das Nudelglas or Good Jar you can recognise the child’s and each others’ good deeds and things you are grateful for, each evening (e.g. at dinner time or any other time that suits you).

Once the jar is full, reward yourselves with a little party to celebrate, another fun activity or a delicious fruit salad you make together.

The gratitude/good jar is a way to highlight children’s positive behavior and goes beyond rewarding the child for completing age-appropriate chores and instead encourages the child to work at being kind, generous, grateful and helpful.  

You can read about the health benefits of practicing gratitude here.



Get Ready for Mothers Day

Hallo Papa! It’s time to help your child prepare for Mothers’ Day…. and the GAP teachers are hereby offering their loving support for mums and dads to guide you through with craft and breakfast ideas.

Hopefully all GAP children will have received their second envelope in time, as this contains some of the things that Papa and children will find useful in making the following Mothers Day gifts. (If you aren’t enrolled at GAP or your envelope is late arriving, we hope you can find or substitute craft items from home.)

Make a wool-wrapped heart ornament

Here is Gerda’s video to show you how to make a wool-wrapped heart ornament for Mum. You will need a bit of cardboard from home, and there is 4 meters of multi-coloured wool in your GAP envelope for you.

Make a paper flower garden

Lisa3 has provided the complete instructions and materials in your child’s envelope so you can help your child to create a paper flower garden. For non-GAP families, you will need a variety of coloured paper and here are the instructions for you.

Make a beautiful rainbow heart ornament

Here is Gerda’s video to show you how to make a rainbow heart ornament. You will need cardboard, paper and a few colours of paint for this. If you don’t have paint, coloured markers or pencil crayons could do the trick. Or there might be enough coloured paper left over from your paper flower garden.

You can guess at the sizes of hearts or use our handy heart sizes template.

Breakfast in Bed

Here’s a super simple and really cute breakfast idea so children can make something pretty much all by themselves for Mama on Mothers’ Day (and if that goes well, then they can make it on all the other days afterwards!)

This is toast with peanut butter, banana and raisins. I guess the luxury version has almond butter, banana and choc chips. I have it on good authority that Germans love peanut butter though, so go nuts! Serve warm!

Adding a little paper heart (or a small flower from the garden) at the side of the plate will elevate your creation from “breakfast” to “present”.

The response you are looking for from Mum is “Oooh, lecker!” (Oooh, yummy!)

I made this toast teddy for you. By the time I finished uploading the photo, I’d eaten it! Hee hee!

And here’s what to say in German

You’d think “ich liebe dich” would be just perfect… but that’s only used between, well, lovers. You wouldn’t say it to a child, nor would a child say it to their parent. So what CAN you say? Here are some suggestions that won’t raise any German eyebrows:

“Ich hab dich lieb, Mama” or “Mama, Ich hab’ Dich so lieb”

“Alles Gute zum Muttertag” or “Alles Liebe zum Muttertag”

“Mama, Du bist die Tollste von allen!’

“Mama, Du bist wunderbar!” or “Danke Mama, Du bist die Beste!”

“Fuer die beste Mama auf der ganzen Welt!”

Here are some other fun sayings or poems you could make use of.

Happy Mothers Day to all our Spielwelt mums, from the teachers, leaders, committee and director.

Lisa-Marie’s Bewegungsgeschichte

Former GAP teacher Lisa-Marie has produced a Bewegungsgeschichte for us all to enjoy! Children from the class of 2019 are sure to remember her, although I’m sure all the children will enjoy her story.

Watch her video to hear her story and follow along with the actions.

Parents can download Lisa-Marie’s story (as a PDF) and read it at home with their children, too.

We thank Lisa-Marie (and her little family) for volunteering to do this for us. She was even brave enough to include some of her out-takes at the end of her video for us! 🙂

Mental Health During COVID

Are you finding the COVID pandemic is having a less-than-helpful effect on your mental health?  There is help out there!

  • Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing and Support Service is a dedicated website with information, advice and strategies to help manage your wellbeing and mental health during this time. 
  • #InThisTogether The Australian government’s Mental Health Commission has worked together with leading mental health organisations, experts and spokespeople to develop a national online conversation sharing practical tips to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians during #COVID19.  
  • WHO COVID-19 Mental Health Considerations for the public, health workers, parents and people in isolation.
  • Head to Health have a dedicated landing page for mental health information to help you and your loved ones cope with feelings resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Life In Mind and the National Mental Health Commission have developed a landing page consolidating resources available in one spot. This will be updated regularly.
  • RUOK? have shared a message on the importance of staying connected and how to recognise the signs that someone may be struggling.
  • ReachOut have developed resources and practical tips to help young people look after their wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as specific tips for parents about how to talk to their teenagers about COVID-19.
  • headspace have developed tips for young people on how to cope with stress related to Coronavirus.
  • UNICEF Australia have developed resources to support teachers and parents in talking to children about COVID-19 as well as  information on how employers can support working parents during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Emerging Minds have a video for parents on talking to children about disasters, traumatic events, or worries about the future.
  • Phoenix Australia have tips for taking care of yourself and your family as well as for those that need to quarantine or self-isolate and when to seek help.
  • WHO Social Stigma Guidelines for COVID-19 outlines safe language to use when discussing and reporting on COVID-19 to avoid social stigma. For those reporting on mental illness, we encourage you to refer to the Mindframe Guidelines.
  • SBS has Coronavirus health and mental health information for those that speak a language other than English. 

Thanks to Scouts ACT for sending us the list above.

Mail Lesson 2

One of our GAP families told us they went for a really long walk in their neighbourhood, looking at all the mailboxes they could find!

They loved finding different styles of mailbox, and naming the shapes (Formen) they could see in German. Some children might like to identify the numbers they see as well.

Truffle loved this idea, so she took her handy German shape cheat-sheet (below) and went searching for mailboxes too.

Here are some of the mailboxes that Truffle liked. Which shapes can you see? How many more will you see on your walk?

This was Truffle’s favourite! A mailbox planted in a pot!

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.)