Wednesday, October 13, 2010
How Many More Days?
We got out the fall and Halloween decorations on the 2nd of October. On the 3rd, I realized that B needed a way to track the days until Halloween or his questions might drive me bonkers. We have an advent calendar for Christmas, and we’ve used the wall calendar to talk about vacation plans, Daddy’s work trips, and soccer games, so it wasn’t our first foray into calendar skills - but we’re not experts either. At the end of September, I saw some adorable Halloween calendars over on Tip Junkie, but as my own crafts have taken a back burner to my boys and I wanted B to be involved in his calendar, I opted for construction paper over felt and ric-rac.
Dusting Off My Tools
So did I mention how far behind I am in my scrapbooking? I frequently remind myself that time with my boys is more precious than time with pictures of my boys, so my boxes of pictures and little scribbled notes will wait. However, it tickled me to be able to use some of my tools for B’s calendar. I used my circle and square punches for the letter and number tiles.
Then B used my letter and number punches in the center of each tile.
We started off with only yellow tiles, but as we worked, B told me about the pattern on the calendar at preschool, (apple, apple, book) and so we swapped out some of the yellow tiles for black. We made a little jack-o-lantern to mark Halloween with a black square tile and an orange circle tile, and we used scraps from the yellow number punches to make a face. We’re using tiny Halloween stickers from the dollar store to mark the days remaining until Halloween. He was so proud of his calendar (and its pattern) that we had to take a picture and share it with his preschool teacher!
Days to Months to Seasons
The concept of time is a tough cognitive concept: for toddlers wait a minute and wait an hour sound equally tortuous. Children are experts at living “in the now.” By preschool, most have some concept of present, past, future, but yesterday, last week, and last year sometimes run together. Calendars are an excellent way to make the passage of time visible, and teach all kinds of math skills. There was an excellent calendar post on ABC and 123 this week if you want more ideas. I, of course, love to read our way to concept-building as well, so I have a couple suggestions for pairing with calendar time.
Over and Over, by Charlotte Zolotow, tells the story of a little girl who is too young to quite understand the passage of time. She has snippets of memories about holidays and seasons, but they all run together. Each page describes a holiday or seasonal event, and includes her mother’s explanation of what will come next. The last event is the little girl’s birthday, at which she wishes that it will all happen all over again. So many children frame their understanding of months and seasons around holidays and traditions that this story seems a very familiar and accessible way to talk about the passage of a year. The little girl’s birthday wish is a clever way to emphasize the order and pattern of the calendar.
Circle of Seasons, by Gerda Muller, was one of our serendipitous library finds. I am in love with the concept and the artwork in this book. Each season is described with the changes that take place in nature as well as common seasonal activities. The activities are illustrated with small pictures next to the text, but the outstanding two-page spreads that depict nature and human activity in each season are beautiful and full of their own stories. There are two such spreads for each season, making for much rich discussion beyond the text, and truly a new experience with each reading. I’ll be on the lookout to pick up this one as a used book, but I also found that it was originally published as a four-book series (one for each season) and has been re-published as four word-less board books, a tempting option.
Appropriate for toddlers, preschoolers.
Do you have any fun count-down or calendar activities? B is loving this one, so I’m on the hunt for next month!
I’m linking this post with Show and Tell at ABC and 123, Kids Get Crafty at Red Ted Art, Fun on a Dime, and Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word.
Hope you’ll come back Friday to link up your picks for the week (or get some great ideas) at Feed Me Books Friday!