One of my fondest memories from teaching Pre-K and Kinder kiddos is circle time. I loved the shared learning experience and common point it gave to the day and routine. It is such an important skill and I feel like it’s often overlooked at home. Kiddos can start understanding time and planning so much earlier than we give them credit for and a calendar at home is a great concrete reinforcer of a life-skill that it mostly taught at school. This version is made with a cookie sheet and items around the house (mostly!). Fair warning – I get a little teacher-y in this post. I’m having classroom withdrawals.
To start paint or cover a cookie sheet (I used several coats of an indoor/outdoor suitable for everything paint for durability). It would be cute to do it in a light weight fabric or mod-podge paper on it. This cookie sheet had a previous life in someone’s kitchen. It was $0.25 at a garage sale down the street and I just gave it a good scrub down. I’m sure you could find one at a dollar store – or use one from your kitchen that needs replacing.
Print your pieces and cut them out. Click the link below to download a copy. I used KG Sweet N Sassy for the lettering. I like that it looked hand-lettered but was super easy to read.
The weather icons are freebies found here : Free Weather Icons
Lay a strip of packing tape (not more than 2 feet long, trust me on this one…) sticky side UP on a flat, clean surface. Place your calendar pieces on the tape and press them down firmly. I prefer to go face down, but it truly doesn’t matter. Tear another piece of tape the same length and match it sticky side down with the sticky side up tape. Sticky sides should be touching and non-sticky sides are the top and bottom. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly lined up! Cover any spots that didn’t get tape. Press firmly and then trim your pieces leaving a small tape border around the paper. My favorite packing tape to do this with is the USPS tape – It’s SO thick! But any ol’ clear packing tape will do!)
Lay your pieces out on the cookie sheet. I opted to include a monthly calendar as well as the day/date. It’s my personal belief (stepping up on my teacher soap box) that it is SUPER important to teach kids how to use a calendar and plan ahead. Write birthdays, holidays, special trips, soccer practice, parties, dinner with grandma, EVERYTHING on the calendar. We send out kids off to middle and high school and expect them to be forward thinkers and planners – but has anyone TAUGHT them how to do it? This is a life lesson, friends. Start it young! It’s also fun for countdowns (counting forwards and backwards skills) and marking off days. It reinforces the concepts of days, weeks, and months and with older kids a whole year (print off all 12 months and stack them.). This calendar is a basic MS Word version that I made just slightly smaller than 8.5 x 11 to fit on the tray.
Hot glue the piece you don’t want to move to the tray. Before I faux-laminated these I glued them on black and white polka dotted scrapbook paper. You could literally use any color or pattern and make it match your decor. The clothes pins are also hot glued in place. Magnets could be used in lieu of clothes pins to keep the monthly calendar attached. Attach magnet tape or small magnets (I have a stack of the business card sized sticky magnets from school that I cut up for this) to each of the days of the week, months, years, and days as well as the weather icons. If you weren’t going to put the monthly calendar on the tray you could easily make and affix pockets to store the pieces in that space – or a chore chart, or a weekly “what’s coming up” list.
Ta-da! Your very own calendar station.
Other things you can do/ lessons to incorporate with the calendar:
– Graphing: Tally or graph how many days of weather you have in a month (sunny, rainy, cloudy, etc.)
– Counting: count each day by ones, count by twos, or sevens!
-Math skills: “every other” (or third, or fifth, etc.); even and odd; bi-weekly (twice a week or every other week)
One of the skills that is commonly tested in fourth and fifth grade is the ability to use a calendar for practical problem solving, such as: “Carter walks the dog every fourth day. If he walked the dog on October 12, what would be the days of the next three walks he took the dog on?”. If a kiddo is NOT familiar with using a calendar, that problem suddenly turns from a “gimme” to a monumental mountain that must be climbed.
Some calendar songs:
If you have a pre-schooler or primary grade kiddo, ask his or her teacher if they’ll record (or share) the songs they use in class for you. I’ve been recorded on many an iPhone. It’s also ok to use a different song at home! There are a million good ones out there!