Category Archives: Remote Learning

Create a Story

It’s fun to make up your own stories (in German and/or English). Story-telling can help pass the time on car journeys, or be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon lying on a picnic blanket, or create a rambling silly bed time story.

If you like, a bunch of random pictures can be used as inspiration for your story. Cut out the pictures below and put them into a little container. Close your eyes and pull a picture out of your container and use it to tell a little bit of the story; then pull another picture out and incorporate that into your story; and so on until your story is finished and you are ready to start another one.

As a family activity, you can each take turns pulling a picture out and adding a bit more to a story you create together.

You can download this here and print it, then cut out the pictures. (Thanks to a kind and lovely Pinterest user for posting the picture sheet.)

Birgit’s Nature Mandalas

Wenn ihr spazieren geht und in der Natur seid koennt ihr doch mal versuchen Mandalas zu machen. Es gibt viele Dinge mit denen man kreativ sein kann. Zum Beispiel: Blumen, Baumrinde, Blaetter, kleine Aeste.

When you go for a walk out in nature (or as our indigenous friends say, when you are “on country”), it is fun to be creative by making natural mandalas. You can try using flowers, bark, leaves, grasses, small sticks or anything you find.

To be even more keen-to-be-green, try to use objects that have already fallen to the ground rather than picking fresh flowers and living leaves .

It can also be fun to use these natural objects to make ladybird playgrounds with slides and mazes, or tiny decorated fairy tents.

Here are some of Birgit’s beautiful nature mandalas

Survival Tips From Families

In our phone calls to GAP families, we asked them to share some of their lockdown survival tips. Here are some of the tips.

  • Alter your expectations and reframe what “a successful day” looks like.
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  • Yes, you know you want to avoid children having screen time, but this is a pandemic. Give yourself a break.
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  • German podcast Betthupferl (4-5 minute audio stories) and other BR.de German podcasts for children of all ages.
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  • When you make dinner, cut up a plate of crudite to put out on the table with dip the next day so the family can graze on healthy stuff during the day when you are too busy to stop.
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  • We ordered a pile of craft supplies from Office Works through click-and-collect, and have been very busy.
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  • I organised with my boss that I do an hour of work, then spend an hour with the kids, an hour of work, an hour of kids….
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  • We are renovating / moving house, and do not recommend this as a tip for families during lockdown!!! 🙂
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  • Netflix has German kids films and programs like Octonauts, Zauberschulbus and Sesam Strasse. Or you can turn on German language on some of the English programs on Netflix.
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  • My child is regressing a bit in lockdown. This happened to some kids in the last lockdown and they all bounced back, so I’m not too worried.
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  • My partner and I tag-team: one parent is with our child while the other works, and then we swap.
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  • My child really felt connected and lit up hearing the German songs on the Spiel und Spass Spotify list.
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  • If you join the GAP Morgenkreis a few minutes early, you can get individual attention from the teachers (but maybe not now that the secret is out!)
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  • We joined the GAP Morgenkreis and I was delighted to see how happy my child was to see her teachers again.
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  • A number of families were really enjoying using the Reading Eggs app (different stages for ages 2 to 10).
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  • Our child is quite keen on Tag the Picture (a card / bead matching game with 5 languages, including German, suitable for 3-7 year olds).
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  • Involving our child in all the aspects of the housework is a good way to make it all work. It takes longer but our child learns and the job at least gets done. We change bedsheets, hang laundry, fold clothes, cook food, make sandwiches, set the table, stack/unload the dishwasher and vacuum together.
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  • Get used to the clutter at home. It is how you know you’re having fun. HOWEVER, if it starts to feel overwhelming, dedicate some time to tidying up – for the sake of your mental health – even if it is just one room that is tidy.
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  • Restrictions permitting: See if any of your neighbours have a friendly dog that would be willing to get patted, played with or walked. What a mood lifter. We call it Vitamin D (as in Dog) or Vitamin T (for Truffle the GAP therapy dog, pictured above, running near the GAP).
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  • With Lisa3’s craft videos, you can still watch the videos even if you don’t do the craft.
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  • Stay connected with others by writing cards and delivering them into people’s letter boxes. (You can augment your education with our mail lesson #1 and mailbox lesson #2.)
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  • If work and homeschooling older kids clash too much, let kids play while you work weekdays, and leave homeschool stuff until the weekend.

Igelchen and Echidna Lesson

The little echidna pictured at the top of this blog lives in Canberra. I took a little video for the children, showing the echidna walking along. She has short bent legs, and it reminded me of a German children’s song about a hedgehog (ein Igel). Hedgehogs and echidnas look quite similar.

Here is my very silly Igelchen action song video (5 min) which includes a little chat, an action song, a silly story and a very simple craft.  

There’s also an Igelchen colouring sheet for you to download and print.

 If you want to sing along to the song, here are the lyrics:

Igelchen, Igelchen, schau in dein Spiegelchen,
Deine Beine sind krumm!
Igelchen, Igelchen, schau in dein Spiegelchen,
Deine Beine sind kurz!

Sind meine Beine auch krumm,
Dreh’ ich mich trotzdem herum!
Sind meine Beine auch kurz,
ist mir das piepe und schnurz!

Make a Crown

Paper crowns are super easy to make, and who doesn’t want to be a Queen, King, Prince or Princess for a day? Schön wäre es, Königin, König, Prinz oder Prinzessin zu sein!

One of our Pfadfinder venturers models the crown she made (… for her Queen Mother, no doubt…ahem!)

Lisa3 has kindly created a fancy crown template for you to download, print and colour in.

Once you have coloured it in, all you need to do is cut it apart along the zig-zag lines, as seen in the photo at the very top of the blog.

Turn one piece 180 degrees and line up the points all in a row, and stick the two pieces of paper together with some sticky tape!

Wrap the length of paper around your head to see how big your crown needs to be, then tape it together at the size you want.

All done, and you’re ready to wear your crown, start issuing orders to your servants, blessing your royal subjects with gracious acts, and generally ruling the world!

Vacuuming Paper Bits

Here’s an extremely simple and fun activity that children (3yrs and up) can do themselves.

Give your child some paper, scissors, a straw and little container.

Your child can cut the paper into little squares (or other shapes). For those who like learning to cut in straight lines, here’s a downloadable sheet of squared paper to print.)

By sucking through a straw, your child can vacuum up the paper pieces, one by one, and them drop them into the container. (The vacuuming can sometimes make a funny noise, which adds to the entertainment!)

Once you have a pile of papers in your container, try blowing down the straw to make a little snow storm in your container! You might even be able to blow the papers out of the container… and start the game again!

Gut gemacht, Gerda! Weiter so! Only 25 more pieces to go! Hee hee hee!!

Bohnenblumen: Bean Flowers

Spring is in the air and flowers are starting to appear! Maybe you can make flowers appear inside your house too…

Join GAP Teacher Gerda in making some beautiful flowers and hearts using beans and lentils! Click on the link to download / watch the video.

As you know, we love art and craft using natural and recycled items!

The educational value here is developing fine motor skills, art and creativity, counting, colours, and the concept of symmetry, if you like.

You can download Gerda’s Bohnenblumen instructions (in German and English) to augment your educational experience by reading aloud and following instructions in German, and be inspired by some of her example pieces.

Please supervise and/or discuss safety with children, as we have heard stories of children putting beans up their noses… and nobody wants that to happen!

Natural objects like beans and lentils make great things to glue to your art work!
Glue on your stem and leaf, and then clutter (ähm! I mean decorate) your house with your beautiful creation!

Once you have made your flower, try some of the variations below.

Variation 1: You could also decorate other shapes (see our activity about learning geometric shapes).

Variation 2: Hunt around the house and garden for other little objects to glue on: grass, pine needles, tiny flowers, wool, cereal, pasta shapes…

Try different shapes!

Vogeldrachen: Bird Kite

A craft and an outdoor activity in one! Here is Lisa3 to show you how to make a super bird kite that you can take to the park or play with in your garden!

Download and watch Lisa3’s awesome Vogeldrachen instruction and demo video.

Tip: Before you punch the hole for the string, reinforce the area with sticky tape. Try to make sure the hole isn’t too close to the edge of the paper too.

Craft variation: You could decorate your kite to look like a rocket, astronaut, butterfly or anything else you fancy.

Song: You might also like to try learning this German children’s song about flying kites! (The lyrics appear on the screen, the singing is fairly slow and each line is sung twice, making it easier for beginners to learn.)

Kite vocabulary: In German, we say “einen Drachen steigen lassen” (to let a kite rise). For fun, when you are letting your kite fly, be sure to call out, “Alle Vögel fliegen hooooooch!” (This actually refers to another popular German children’s game, the instructions for which are below.)

Game: Alle Vögel fliegen hoch!
Alle Mitspieler sitzen an einem Tisch. Der Spielleiter beginnt indem er ruft. „Alle Vögel fliegen hoch!“ Die Kinder trommeln während er dies sagt leicht mit beiden Handflächen oder de Fingerspitzen auf die Tischplatte. Bei „…fliegen hoch!“ heben alle Mitspieler die Hände mit aus gestreckten Armen in die Luft.
Danach ruft der Spielleiter ein weiteres Tier, zum Beispiel, „Alle Pferde fliegen hoch!“
Die Mitspieler mĂĽssen nun blitzschnell ĂĽberlegen, ob das Tier fliegen kann. Kann es dies nicht, dĂĽrfen sie auch nicht die Hände hochstrecken. Hält jemand fälschlicherweise doch die Hände in die Luft, sagen alle “Ausgetrickt! ___ [Tier] können nicht fliegen!”
Nennt der Spielleiter wieder ein Tier, das fliegen kann, schnellen die Hände wieder nach oben. Vergisst dies ein Mitspieler, sagen alle “___ [Tier] können fliegen!”
Ein spaĂźiges Spiel bei dem man blitzschnell ĂĽberlegen und reagieren muss.

Potato Prints

Here is a great craft you can do indoors or outdoors: Kartoffeldrucken (potato prints)!

Parent supervision / help will be needed with the knife and cutting part, but the rest children can likely do themselves.

You can download and watch Lisa3’s lesson about Kartoffeldrucken in German.

Tip 1: If you plan to do letters, make sure to cut out the mirror image so when you print it, it will be the right way around.

Tip 2: If you are ready to make a new print shape, just slice off your old shape and start again on the same potato.

Tip 3: After a good wash, your potato scraps are ready to make delicious German Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes)!

Dancing Stick Figures

Lisa3 has another great activity for you to try at home: These dancing stick figures she made are so cool!

You will need:

  • Eine Auflaufform mit eine ganz glatte Oberfläche — Glas oder Keramik. (A flat bottomed casserole dish — preferably glass, but ceramic will do.)
  • Whiteboard-Markers (keine Permanentmarker) (Whiteboard markers (not permanent markers))
  • Ein Becher oder Kännchen Wasser. (A little cup or jug of water.)

Tip: Whiteboard markers are available at supermarkets, in case you want to add one to your ‘essential groceries’ list.

Download Lisa3’s Tanzende Strichmännchen Video and Lisa3 will explain what you need to do (in German). For non-German speakers it is easy to follow along by watching.

You can make dancing flowers, animals, birds, whatever you like. Send us your photos!

Viel Spass!