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.)
Play and singHaeschen 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.)
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.
Tree: 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.
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).
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.
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.
* 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:
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.
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 #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.)
Here are some of our top picks for dance / movement songs:
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.
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.)
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.
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!
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!! 🙂
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.)
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.
Want to maintain a GAP-like routine at home at rest time? (Hint: The correct answer is yes! It will keep you and your children SANE!)
The GAP children are used to listening to 40 minutes from our Ruhezeit (rest time) playlist at rest time every day. It is their cue to lie down and relax. (With any luck, once you have established the routine at home, it can also be your cue to get a whole pile of work done, too!)
Here’s our quiet time Spotify playlist for you… GAP Ruhezeit.
Rest time (Ruhezeit, pronounced ROO-eh-site) comes right after lunch and story time at GAP.
For the first ten minutes the children all lie down and relax… no books, no toys… just resting with their heads on their pillows, lights off, stimuli put aside and curtains drawn. Some children like to be patted on their backs. No talking, just meditating and day-dreaming.
After ten minutes, teachers silently mime opening a book (using baby sign language, as depicted below) and those who haven’t fallen asleep then look at books or play with a soft-toy, either sitting or lying on their mattress, for the remaining 30 minutes.
Even for older children who don’t usually sleep at rest time, it is a good recharge and a chance to just relax and day-dream for a while. After their day-dreaming time, they could extend their rest time with an audio book or chapter book.
The GAP children are all pretty good at this, and it is a good skill to have in life.