Teaching our children to become aware of time is an ongoing and arduous task! Their sense of time is largely directed by their routines — first I do this, then I do that — with little concept of when events occur.
In the beginning, young children have little concept of which comes first — their birthday or Christmas. They wonder if we will be celebrating the 4th of July soon, or how long it is until Thanksgiving.
Ready to introduce your child to the calendar?
- Give your child a calendar page each time we reach a new month.
- Help him to label the days of the week across the top — in order.
- Help him to number the days. He’ll need to understand how many days each month contains. One way to teach this is to ask him to say the months of the year in order. Ask him to make a fist. Now as he says the months of the year, count each month off on his four finger knuckles and the spaces between them, starting with his pointer finger and ending with his pinky and then starting again on his pointer finger. The months that fall in the spaces between have the shorter months (you’ll have to explain February is only 28 or 29). You’ll find another way listed in the resources below.
- Help your child mark the holidays this month. Note any change of seasons.
- Next mark any notable events or family occasions such as birthdays, vacations, or special visits.
- Finally, he can decorate the page in keeping with the season and events of the month.
- Each day your child can put an “x” through the current date. It is also helpful to ask him to say the date — “Today is Monday, January 1, 2013.” — while you point to these words and numbers on his calendar.
- One other fun way to keep track of the date is to have him illustrate the weather on the date instead of crossing through it.
- Occasionally you can ask your child if he could remind you how many days there are until Grandma’s visit, or how long you have to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner. He’ll not only appreciate being helpful but will begin to see the value of his calendar.
Continue these activities throughout the year. Make an effort to refrain from making them “schooly” — they are more effective when they are appreciated as an important part of day-to-day living.
It won’t be long until your child begins to understand time!
Another option from Education World includes .doc files you can edit.
Melissa and Doug Magnetic Calendar
We purchased and used one similar to this when we were teaching our children the calendar. Comes with all of the pieces to keep track of the dates and special days.
Calendar Activity Kit
Free download from MontessoriForEveryone.com with everything you need to print on cardstock, attach velcro, and use for calendar activities each month.
“A Calendar” by Sara Coleridge
Poem that should inspire monthly decorating ideas!
“The Calendar” by Irving Dix
Another poem, but longer, lending itself to copywork and illustrating.
Illustration of the knuckle method of determining the number of days in a given month. (The illustration uses both hands. We prefer to use one hand starting over at the same knuckle you started on, and using the other hand to point!)
Thirty Days Hath September
Another way to memorize the number of days in a given month.
You might also be interested in our Gregorian calendar unit study.