Calendars are a great tool for learning many different math concepts. The added bonus is that many kids love to use the same tool that they see so many adults using. It makes them feel more grown up. Add in a calendar that includes a favorite animal, character, or subject, and you have a a built-in daily math lesson that your child won't mind (or even notice that they are) doing. Whether you purchase or make a calendar, make sure you use one that shows the whole month at a glance - not a page-a-day calendar.
The key to working with your child on a calendar is consistency. There are many simple and quick activities that you can do in the morning or the evening, or both. Their effectiveness - as it is with many things in learning - increases dramatically with daily usage. The activities below are appropriate for children across a wide range of skill levels, but all may not be appropriate for every child at every age. Use your judgement about your child's ability when deciding what skills to simply discuss, and what skills to have your child actually work on.
Daily calendar activities to increase math skills:
- Discuss what today's date is using the calendar as a reference. Have your child tell you the day of the week, month, day, and year.
- Ask your child to tell you what day was yesterday, what day will tomorrow be? Older children can do this with the day of the week and the date.
- Ask your child what month last month was, what will next month be? Your child might benefit from a list of months posted next to their calendar for this activity.
- In the evening, cross the current day off on the calendar. Ask your child to count how many days there are left in the month. The rhyme "30 Days Hath September" can be fun (and useful) to learn with this skill.
- Ask your child what day of the week a certain date will fall on during a particular month. What date will next Tuesday be? What date is the 3rd Thursday of the month? What day of the week will the first of the next month fall on? What was the day of the week for the last day for the previous month?
- Extend the learning by including the seasons. What season are we in now? How can you tell? What season will be next? What will that look like?
You and your child can have a lot of fun exploring time and math with the help of a simple calendar. What are some ways in which you like to use a calendar with your child?