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DIY Calendar {for Kids}

July 07, 2014

Using a daily calendar with your child opens so many educational possibilities. It’s such a simple and natural way to introduce concepts like yesterday/today/tomorrow, days of the week, months of the year, and numbers. I’ll get into more ideas about using a calendar, but first I want to share how I made my own DIY calendar for way cheaper than buying a pre made one!

DIY Teaching Calendar

Materials:

  • Large foam board (20×30″) Alternatively you could use a poster board, magnetic dry erase board or repurpose some old cardboard or wood, if you happen to have some lying around. I chose to use a black foam board so the black magnets wouldn’t show up as much.
  • Scissors and tape/glue.
  • Adhesive magnetic sheets. You could also just glue on ordinary flat magnets. Another option would be Velcro. 
  • Free printables for your months, days and numbers (see below)

diy calendar - filling up the month

Since I don’t have a printer at home, I had them printed at Office Max. Just upload the .pdf and send it to your local store. (Other office stores have similar printing systems, too.) I went with a heavier paper stock and glossy finish. You might also want to think about laminating them. They will get handled a lot so this cut down on wear and tear.

The adhesive magnetic sheets need to be cut into small strips. Attach one magnet to the back of each cutout number, day and month piece. (I also mounted my months to some spare paper I had. It adds a touch of color and makes the piece more sturdy.)

Then attach the other magnetic pieces to your board. One longer piece goes at the top for your month. Just below it, make a row with 7 columns for your days of the week. I sort-of measured about 1.5″ between each one.

For the numbers, you’ll want to make 6 more rows. The first row needs only two magnets (in the Friday and Saturday columns.) The sixth row needs only two magnets (in the Sunday and Monday columns.) This will allow you to adjust your board for whatever day the month begins.

Then you’re ready to start teaching!

Putting together this DIY calendar took maybe an hour. I did not let my kids help but my 3.5 year-old son did watch for a bit and I explained what I was doing. If you have any little ones around, be very careful of the magnets! Magnets can be very dangerous if swallowed, so make sure the materials are out of reach.

We hung it on the wall near where we usually eat breakfast in the kitchen. My son can reach it if he’s standing on something but my one-year-old cannot.

Once you’d completed your DIY calendar, what’s next?

diy calendar- practicing numbers

There are so many things you can learn with a calendar! I used to teach elementary school, and most all teachers start the day with some version of a calendar. It can be as simple as reminding students the date or as complex as a 30-minute math lesson. For preschoolers, I’d start with the basics. Children are often taught numbers, days and months with rote memorization in a song or rhyme. There’s nothing wrong with that, but they also need to practice using them in a natural context. Doing a daily calendar helps to isolate these abstract concepts and make them more tangible.

  • Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow- Talk about what you did and what you’re going to do. These concepts can be tricky for little ones who don’t quite get delayed gratification yet. Doing a daily calendar will help them mark time and understand what a day means.
  • Days of the Week- Allow your child to remove and put back the days of the week in order. Talk about the days and things that regularly happen on each day.
  • Numbers- I like to put up the new number for each day instead of filling in the entire calendar at the beginning of the month. You can make the date your ‘number of the day’ and count out stickers, beans, counters or whatever for that number.

For older kids who already understand basic calendar concepts, you can add on more. You could include talking about the weather. It’s also a great way to start the practice of journaling. Write a sentence for each day. (If your child isn’t ready to write, you do the writing.) An example would be “Today is Monday, July 7 and we are going to the library.” It would be nice to keep this record and look back on it later!

My son really enjoys this daily activity and he usually reminds me if I get sidetracked. It’s a nice way to begin your ‘school’ day, which can be a sort-of haphazard feeling if you are homeschooling. I like that it’s a signal to him that we are “starting school.” After the calendar he is usually ready to sit and do another small learning activity so I like to have one ready to go.

But– don’t feel like this is just something for homeschool. This would be a great way to reinforce whatever you child might be learning about the calendar at school and make it more personal for your family.

Please click the .pdf files below to open and download.

calendar-printable months-printable

Thanks for reading and please leave me any questions or add your own experience in the comments below!


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