Have you tossed that 2012 calendar yet? Don't!
Like many of you, I switched over to a brand new calendar earlier this month. What to do with the old one? Turn it into a teaching tool/pretend play prop!
My four-year-old is really interested in numbers, counting, and "grown-up" writing lately; so some calendar fun is a great way to reinforce those skills.
When I handed over my calendar to my son, I told him do whatever he wanted with it. I figured he would just flip through and randomly draw in the squares but instead, he spent a long time looking through it, noticing the numbers and the way they were arranged and asking me what I wrote in each square. He noticed that some boxes didn't have numbers and on some pages the numbers went up to 30 and on others they went to 31. It presented a perfect opportunity to talk more about weeks, months and years, and to teach him about one way we use writing in the real world.
My son ended up drawing his plans for the day and pictures to show upcoming events: Going to Grandma and Grandpa's house on Saturday, his snack day at school on Tuesday, etc. My calendar comes with stickers to denote special days, so he stuck a LOT of stickers. :) (After all, every day is special, especially when you're 4!)
Between pretend play opportunities like this one, mapping out the week like this strategy we did at the beginning of the year, and his calendar time at preschool, I can see that the concept is starting to become more clear for my son.
If you're teaching, "Calendar Time" is probably already one of your most important routines. Parents can also incorporate some kind of brief calendar exploration each day as a great way for children to begin to understand how time passes and how we record it. Here are a few calendar activities for school or home:
- Before, After, Later, and Next: Using a Calendar in a Preschool Classroom from Teaching Strategies Blog
- EHow Mom: Activity Ideas for Preschool Calendars
- Calendar Time Printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler
While using my calendar for occasional pretend play is fun for my son, obviously expecting a preschooler to draw and write in small calendar squares every day is not age-appropriate. Instead, I created this Preschool Calendar Journal to use more regularly at home. I wanted something he could use to draw about his day. I have a hard time getting him to tell me about his day at school, but asking him to draw a picture of something that happened seems to work better. I think he'll enjoy re-reading old "journal entries" as a way to review and reflect on the previous weeks. I included space for me to write what he says as he draws, and since I want to reinforce colors, weather and number concepts, I added the crayons to represent each number and weather pictures to circle. You can easily make your own version at home, or purchase mine right here in the new Early Education Emporium!
What are your favorite ways to reinforce calendar concepts?
Erin Wing writes about creating a print-rich home at www.smalltypes.com.