Fun Ways to Teach Calendar Skills to Preschoolers
Young children are starting to develop a sense of time and sequence, learning the days of the week, and practicing the order of numbers during the preschool years. Looking at the calendar each day is an activity that promotes this learning but it can become tedious week after week. Creating fun calendars can be educational and exciting. Think about your calendar as not only a way to mark time, but to collectively record daily events, experiences, and observations. Here are a few ideas for teaching preschoolers all about the calendar.
Fun Calendars to Make in the Classroom
Loop Chain Calendar
Create an advent-type calendar by making circular loops, one for each day of the month (28, 30, or 31). Number these and link them together. Each morning, pick one child to remove a loop. As the chain gets smaller, you’ re getting closer to the end of the month. By using a different color for each day of the week, the children will have the opportunity to learn the days of the week and sequencing in a pattern. You can also print the numbers of each loop on it for counting practice.
Start off with a large grid calendar on chart paper. Number the days in the upper corner. Each day, pick one child to fill in a square on the calendar. Ask the child what is important about today or what she would like to do. With crayons, invite the child to draw a special picture in the block. The child can then interact with the class telling a story about her picture.
Fill in each day’s section with a traditional classroom song. Each morning, reveal the day’s song and start the morning off with music.
Pick a month for discussing feelings as a theme and how it is normal to have good days and bad ones. Select a child each day to fill in the grid with a happy, sad, or angry face. Talk about what makes the child feel the way he does.
Tracking the weather can help children become more aware of their immediate surroundings. Using the observation approach, check outdoors for the weather conditions and record these on your calendar. Draw pictures of the sun, clouds, rain, snow, lightening, and so on. For older children keep a thermometer handy to record and compare temperatures.
Make and number a traditional calendar on a poster board. You will need clear plastic sandwich bags, one for each day. Fill the bag with small treats, one for each child in your class. Think about small treats such as animal crackers, popcorn, raisins, etc. Each day after discussing calendar facts, pull off the bag and nibble a small treat together.
Calendar Call Game
Tape a calendar page with large sections to the floor. Using a bean bag, invite one child to toss it across to the calendar. The player then recites the month, the day on which the bag lands, and the year. Give each child a turn at this game that is repetitive and reinforces skills.
Teaching your students calendar skills can support their self-expression as well as enhance their self-esteem and problem solving skills.