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Monday, June 19, 2017

DIY Visual Calendar for Kindergartners

Summer is the time for home projects! I've been itching to update my daughters' visual calendar now that they've graduated preschool and are headed to kindergarten in the fall. If you have any children who thrive on predictability and routine like mine, this project is really quite simple and has been a really helpful tool for several years now in our house!

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I've been using a visual calendar at home with my daughters since they were 2, mostly because of one of my daughters who was (and is) very resistant to change and likes to anticipate what is coming next. When I first started using it, I had a weekly calendar at the top and a chore chart just underneath. Over the years I've gradually changed the board to reflect the information that the girls needed for their ages, and I've made a few more changes to get ready for elementary school! First, here's what the whole board looks like:

The main weekly calendar at the top of the magnet board (aka car drip pan) is staying pretty much the same. I first started using a visual calendar when the girls started daycare, primarily to help them see when they would be with the daycare provider, when they would be with their dad, and when they would be with me, so I basically had meals, nap and bedtimes, and when they switched caregivers on the schedule. When they started preschool, I took pictures of their school teachers to indicate when they had school and also added a monthly calendar.

With kindergarten on the horizon, I started thinking about which items the girls would want to see on their schedule. I made a few new magnets to use in the fall:

I made some magnets for field trips, their various specials, and the rotation day for their school schedule, and I got rid of the napping magnets (so sad!) and the preschool teacher magnets. I've decided that for elementary school, I'll just put up the letter day of the rotation rather than a picture of the teachers.

The section just below the weekly calendar is brand new- I made a couple of simple to-do checklists with each girl's name at the top (names are blocked out in the photos). I figure it will be a good way for us to keep track of homework assignments and other to-do's each of them needs to do throughout the week. After printing the checklists, I stuck them onto the board and covered them with a single-sided laminating sheet right on top to make it dry erase.

Just below that, I've moved the monthly calendar (which I added when they started preschool) to the side to make room for another magnetic clip. I am planning to keep any papers from school etc that we need to keep track of there, whether it's information about an upcoming field trip, homework assignment, or lunch calendar. Now that the girls can write, they do the majority of the monthly calendar themselves- read more about how we use that for memory keeping and planning ahead in this post.

Having a visual calendar has been really helpful, especially with my daughters' schedule between two houses, and it has been fun to see the girls gradually take on more responsibility in putting together their calendars and have more of a sense of ownership through the process. If you want to see how the calendar board has evolved over time, from toddler to preschool to now, or if you want more details on how I made the original board (very cheap and easy!), check out my previous posts below:

If you're wondering where the chore chart went, I now have a family chore chart in the kitchen instead- read about that in this post. I guess we're actually getting ready for elementary school now! If you have any ideas for how to help elementary age students anticipate their schedule and keep their assignments and to-do's organized, please leave a comment below- I'd love to hear them!

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