One of my daughter’s favorite questions is “How much longer until…?” This is a tough one to answer for a kid who has little concept of time vocabulary. I often refer to things that are days away by the number of “sleeps” she has left which has seemed to work. Punky has gotten better about relational time words such as today, tomorrow, and yesterday, but still struggles with the concept of a day versus a week or a month. Sometimes I will show her the family calendar and point out the current day and have her help me count the days until the anticipated event.
Shorter spans of times have proved more difficult though. She is still working on recognizing her numerals, so clocks have little meaning to her right now. And even if she got that down, she doesn’t have much reference for how “long” an hour is. How else do you explain that it takes 30 minutes to drive to her friend’s house but 6 hours to drive to Ducky’s house? It has gotten to the point that I relate the amount of time it takes to drive to town to the number of episodes of cartoons she could watch before we get there…epic parenting, right?!
It got me to thinking though, that maybe some calendar and clock practice could help alleviate this struggle. If you take a stroll down memory lane, I would bet that one of the finer points of your preschool and kindergarten days was calendar time. I wanted to recreate this at home in a way that made sense for our family. First, I did what I would assume most Americans do: I Googled it. I found many calendar pocket charts and bulletin board sets, most of which touted durability, cute graphics, ability to change themes, etc. In other words, they were designed for a classroom of tiny destroyers to play with it. My kids aren’t exactly the most careful with everything, but at least there are only two of them so maybe I wouldn’t need the industrial strength calendar to accomplish what we needed.
I stumbled across a couple of sites that had great ideas and free 😀 printables, but none of them were quite what I was hoping for and most of them required materials that seemed a bit much for our family. So in true teacher fashion, I used pieces of several to create something that is mostly our own and fit better in our dollar store budget. The final product came out pretty nicely. Check it out, then scroll down for the tutorial.
Materials I used:
- poster board
- 3 push pins
- 8 bobby pins
- 2 wooden clothes pins
- hot glue
- duct tape
- dry erase marker
- printables (see links below)
1. Print all the pieces you like from the lovely ladies at Mama Jenn and Bugaboo City. I chose the days of the week, months, dates, and years from Mama Jenn and the “Today is” and “What is the weather like today?” as well as the thermometer graphic and weather cards from Bugaboo City. I also printed some blank clocks (image from mathwire.net that I adjusted to fit four on a page) for the important times of the day, which you can download here. Finally I picked a Bible verse we would work on memorizing each day and printed it as well. I laminated everything for better durability, but I’m sure using some decent card stock would work for most kiddos. I also hole punched all of the date cards and the weather cards.
2. Set up the calendar board. I used a piece of green (mine and Punky’s favorite color) poster board from the dollar store. It took me a bit to figure out a way to hang the date cards so it would be simple for even little Bay to help change the date, but wouldn’t break the tiny tiny piggy bank with all those removable hooks. I came up with bobby pins. Everybody has some stuck in a drawer somewhere, but if you happen to be one of the few who doesn’t, you can get a pack of about 50 from my favorite place for, you guessed it, a dollar! Much cheaper than the aforementioned hooks! I bent the bobby pin to form a 90 degree angle (L shape) then bent the side without the wiggles back up to form a J shape. I then used a push pin to poke a hole where I wanted the hanger and pushed the wiggly side through to the back. A line of hot glue held the back in place.
The extra bend in the front keeps the cards from sliding off and I don’t have to worry about so many push pins making holes in the wall or falling out for someone to step on – OUCH!
3. I hot glued a clothes pin that had been colored and was left over from a previous project to the middle of the board to make changing out the Bible verse easy and to add some visual interest to the board.
4. Glue/Tape the remaining weather pieces and the clocks. I hot glued the title piece and the thermometer to the board. Another left over clothes pin with an an arrow drawn on acts as a pointer, so I made sure to glue the thermometer close to the edge of the board. A little laziness and a little indecisiveness about set-up led me to just tape the clocks in place. I might go back and hot glue them later. I’m definitely glad they’re laminated though because now I can use dry-erase marker to write on them and change them as our schedule changes.
5. Finally, I reinforced the top edge with some cute duct tape and pinned it to the wall. Ta-da! DIY calendar station.
Easy Peasy – Super Cheapy!
We’ve just gotten started with this calendar, but the littles love it so far. Punky’s favorite part is asking Alexa what the weather is and changing it accordingly. Bay’s favorite is taking everything down and making it rain dates! Luckily his attention span is as short as he is, so he should move on to destroying something else soon!
Are you planning some calendar time with your littles this summer? Could be a fun way to create some structure to avoid burnout and couch-potato-itis. I’d love to hear how you’re using calendars and clocks to pass the time – leave me a comment below!