Teach children about time – make a family calendar

My 3 year old is very interested in time at the moment – what day it is, what was it yesterday and is Father Christmas coming again tonight? Young children live so much in the present that the past and the future can be difficult concepts for them to grasp. When my older daughter was 3 we made our own calendar which worked well in introducing the seasons and months to her, so today I’ve made a similar calendar with my youngest. The original calendar was linear with the months going left to right across the top – which was easier to make but I wanted to emphasize the circular nature of the seasons so this time we’ve made a round version. It’s simple in design but gives lots of opportunity for questions and learning.

You’ll need: a big piece of paper (you could always stick 4 A4 pieces together), a felt pen,  a ruler, a saucer or similar to draw around,  crayons in blue, green, yellow and orange, scissors, a glue stick, photos and drawings to represent family birthdays and events

Start with your big piece of paper. We used white but you can be as colourful as you  like.

Fold it in half

And fold it in half again

Now fold this into thirds as the pictures show

Cut throught the folded paper as the picture below shows

Open out your paper to reveal 12 segments – one for each month of the year

Count them out with your child

Using a ruler and felt tip draw lines along each fold. (If you wanted to you could iron the paper with a very cool iron to flatten out the creases – but we’re not perfectionists here!)

Now think about the seasons. Does your child know what they’re called? Do they know which order they go in? Which season is it now?

Using a saucer draw a circle on a piece of paper and cut it out. Divide into quarters using the ruler and felt pen

Write the name of a season in each section and colour them in. We used cold blue for winter, leafy green for spring, yellow sunshine for summer and rusty orange for autumn. Stick this in the centre of your calendar.

Talk about what happens in each season. When might you build a snowman? When do all the flowers start to grow? We added some pictures to symbolise each season.

Write the names of the months around the edge of the calendar, aligned with your season circle. Does your child recognise any of the letters? Do they know when their birthday is? Now you can personalise your calendar with the events that are important to your family. Stick on photos of people in their birthday month. You could add a heart for Valentine’s day, a pumpkin for Hallowe’en and Santa for Christmas. My daughter loved this bit – she’s a master with a glue stick!

When you’ve finished you can play a game, taking turns to ask questions. Who’s got a birthday in the summer? Whose birthday comes straight after Christmas? Then, stick it up and admire! You can keep refering to it everytime you celebrate one of the events on it, and everytime you child asks ‘Is it my birthday soon?’

happily shared with Joyful Learner



    • Cathy @ NurtureStore says

      Hi Min, I’ve put a note in my diary and will come and join your link when it opens.

  1. says

    This is a wonderful idea. We’ve been reading lots of books about seasons lately. This would be a great activity to go along with all our reading.

  2. says

    i’ve been rummaging in your archives for inspiration and I stumbled on this. This is such a fab idea. Goblin has been asking about time too and this would be a good way to introduce months – i don’t think he has a clue about months yet.

    • says

      Ahh, glad you like this one The Monko. It’s such an old one! It worked really well with L, just enough detail to give her the concept is a simple visual form. I’d love to see yours if you make one.

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