Friday, January 18, 2013

Preschool Calendar Fun

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:


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


  1. What a great idea! I love that your four year old is into grown-up writing! This is a wonderful idea though so something that is consistent every day!

  2. This is wonderful Erin, and it accomplishes so many things. Children can learn so much about numbers with your special calendar, but also much about time. Children do love to draw and parents can ask, "Tell me about your picture" instead of asking what the child did that day. This is great for those children who never share. I had a child who never said much about her day, and this would have been great to have. I had one child who told me absolutely every detail, and I wonder if this would have helped him focus more and let his sister have a turn, as well. Bookmarking! I pinned this. Thanks so much, Carolyn

  3. Thanks, Eric and Carolyn! Yes. in addition to the calendar and number concepts, it is definitely helping with getting my son to tell me more details about his day. It's a fun little routine!

  4. Hi Erin...what I love is how, by default almost, your calendar play helps young children gain a perspective of time. Perspective is such a critical aspect related to many things like delayed gratification. Great job and wonderful blog. Happy New Year!

  5. Hi Enrique, Happy New Year to you! Very interesting point about learning delayed gratification. Such an important idea, and one I definitely didn't consider when writing this post. Thanks for mentioning it!


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