How to teach calendar skills to kids is something homeschooling parents of early elementary kids will most likely encounter at some point.
Learning to read a calendar is an important math skill kids need to learn. It’s a math skill usually taught and worked on in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade.
There are 2 options parents have to teach calendar skills to their kids. Either:
- wait till “Calendars” and “Time” is covered in their child’s math curriculum
- or incorporate some form of calendar time into the child’s daily homeschooling schedule
If you choose option 2, then the next step might be to decide on a kids calendar to teach with. The calendar you choose will probably depend on the child’s learning style, age, interests, your own preference, and how in-depth you wish to teach this skill.
What Is A Calendar For Kids
It seems obvious, but the first step to teaching kids about the calendar is to make sure we explain to them what a calendar is.
A calendar is a series of pages that shows the days, weeks, and months of a particular year. It is a tool we use to help us keep track of each day, and allows us to visually see when different events will happen.
Teach Kids How To Read A Calendar Lesson Plan
The next step is to teach kids how to read a calendar. This could be split up into 4 different lessons.
Lesson 1: Days & Weeks
The objectives to cover in this lesson are:
- each square represents one day
- a group of 7 days in a row is called a week
- one week is equal to 7 days
- each day of the week has a name
- show where the names of the days of the week are shown on a calendar
- each square in a column under the name of a day of the week represents 1 day with that name. i.e. all squares under Wednesday represent 1 Wednesday
- “If we are this day” (point to a square), “1 week later would be” (point to square underneath)
- ask them which square would be 2 weeks later, or 3 weeks later
- explain that a square above shows 1 week ago (in the past)
- ask them which square would be 2 weeks ago or another number of weeks ago
Lesson 2: Order of Days of the Week
Today’s objective is to work on learning the order of the days of the week and also to realize that the days go in a continuous cycle (i.e. after Sunday is Monday again).
Lesson 3: Months of the Year
- 30 or 31 days is grouped into a month
- each year has 12 months
- order of the months
- after we get to the end of the last month we go into a new year and start the months back from the beginning
Lesson 4: Order of the Months of the Year
The goal of today is to spend a few minutes learning the order of the months of the year. Mastery isn’t the goal, it’s just to spend time working on this skill. Think of it more as an introduction.
Daily Calendar Time
Not to worry if your kids aren’t experts at reading the calendar by the end of those 4 short lessons.
The concept of time is something that is taught over time. So with that in mind, we do daily calendar time.
Benefits of Daily Calendar Time
There are a variety of benefits of daily calendar time:
- it takes only a few short minutes each day
- it’s an enjoyable part of the day
- a bit of writing practice
- solid math skills are being mastered
- skills are learned best when they apply to child’s real life
How We Do Calendar Time
Our calendar routine includes 4 simple steps:
During calendar time, my daughter gets to practice her writing skills, by adding important dates in her life. Dates such as:
- her birthday
- days she has her dance classes or any other class
- beginning of a new season
- any appointments (i.e. doctors, dentist, hair, etc.)
- other special activities or plans
We only add a few things each day, so that it doesn’t become a chore and it remains enjoyable.
On days when we have no new activities to write, we might instead go over the days of the week song and/or months of the year. Frequent repetition helps with mastering the order.
Stickers add some additional fun. She loves going through all her stickers to find one that she feels matches with an event.
I bought a variety of stickers in addition to the ones that came with my daughter’s calendar. I found a variety helps keep things exciting for her.
Every day she colours the number of the current day as a way to indicate which day it is.
And finally she verbally answers a few calendar questions I ask her.
I usually begin with a few calendar questions that relate directly to her life like:
“How many weeks before (or how long until) we leave for our trip?” or “How many days before your next dance class?”
Then I will ask a couple other calendar questions. I have created a printable list of 91+ calendar questions to ask in each grade from 1st to 3rd. Once they are able to effortlessly answer every question on the list, they will have successfully mastered reading a calendar.
Here’s a link to a printable calendar worksheet that asks kids a daily calendar question, using the current month. It’s meant for students in 1st and 2nd grade.