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Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer School: DIY Kid Calendar

Although it now seems like a lifetime ago, I was once a kindergarten teacher.  I still have all of my teaching materials stored away for if and when I return to the classroom.  Sometimes I do catch myself saying things I used to say to my students and looking for "teachable moments" (nerd alert).
I am making a conscience effort to do at least a couple of crafts and educational things with my sons this summer.  Moose and Zee are great teachers but I figured I'd better get in on the action too!  I am not sure if your kids do this, but my 4-year-old wakes up everyday asking, "What are we going to do today?"  I wanted a way for him to be able to answer that question for himself sometimes and to get excited about some of the fun things I have planned for him this summer.  I thought up an idea that will help do what I just mentioned along with help him practice his writing and number recognition.  Its the teacher in me, I guess!  This is a great activity for any child that is pre-school age or even for review before first grade.  It can be tailored to your child's level.

Here is "Oliver's Summer Calendar" 

Here is how we did it:

Step 1:  Create a table in Word (or similar program or just hand draw it with a ruler) that is a 7x4 grid.

Step 2:  On a separate piece of paper draw numbers 1-30.  Make them large (@ 1 in.) and in your best print.    

*Your child's age and abilities will dictate how independently they will do the next steps.

Step 3:  Get your child involved: ask him which color to use for each word, to tell you some things he would like to do this summer, to recite the days of the week.  

Step 4:  Have your child number the boxes (I would suggest using pencil for easy corrections).  She can reference your number sheet for help if needed.  Another great practice tool for beginners is to lightly draw the number with dots/dashes and have your child trace it.  If your child is ready for more advanced writing practice do the same method for the letters in each word.

Step 5:  Discuss some fun things that are planned for the summer.  Have your child choose a color for regular activities like, the pool, to serve as a key.  Soon they will associate the word with the color, for example blue=the pool.  In our case it was crucial that we had a big event to which we could count down.  This helped get my son excited about using the calendar and gives Mommy a great bribing tool!

Step 6:  The last element of the calendar is the countdown number.  This is just another place that my son will practice writing his numbers.  Each morning when he gets up he checks the calendar for the day's activity, marks it through with an "x" and writes the new number of days until the "big event!"  In our case this is having a friend sleep over...I will be installing the rubber walls in the playroom next week!

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