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Monday, July 24, 2023

Visual Calendar for Preteens

I never thought I would still be using a visual calendar for my daughters when they were this age, but they're now 11 and we're still going strong! Between extracurriculars, parenting schedules of when they're with me or with their dad, and their class rotations at school, there's a lot to keep track of for each of them, and I want them to take part in keeping track of those things for themselves rather than me tracking it for them on a family calendar. I recently updated their magnetic visual calendar to be more tailored to the needs and tastes of my budding preteens- here's what it looks like now (and how we're using it)!

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I completely started over from scratch with their new visual calendar and now it is so much more geared to their needs and tastes! 

  • Changed the scrapbook paper to match their current style/ taste
  • Gave them each their own space for daily schedules
  • Updated the magnets to be more sophisticated
  • Added a space for self-expression

If you aren't familiar, I made a DIY magnetic visual calendar for my daughters 9 years ago (!!) when they were 2 years old. I used an oil drip pan as the "board", used scrapbook paper and stickers to mark off the different sections, and made magnets using these adhesive magnet sheets. In addition to their weekly calendar, I also had a chore chart for them- here's what it first looked like (click on the photo to see the original blog post where I explain in more detail):

When the girls were a little older and starting preschool, I adjusted the chore chart so they each kept track of their own chores they had done, and added a monthly calendar at the bottom (click on the photo for the blog post):

When they started Kindergarten I added magnets for their school classes, swapped their chore chart for dry erase checklists to keep track of homework etc, and added a spot to keep school papers and flyers:

The board pretty much stayed the same after that- I changed some of the magnets for new extracurriculars, but that was about it. It was definitely time for an upgrade! I decided it was time to start over completely- I took off all of the old scrapbook paper and stickers that marked the days, and the checklist papers, and decided to rethink the entire board. 

I wasn't even sure the girls still needed a visual calendar at all, but when I asked them they said they still wanted to have one to keep track of their own schedules. But I did rearrange it so they now each have their own sides for their individual schedules, and I made it dry erase by adding single-sided laminating sheets on top of the paper, since they can read and write now. We picked out scrapbook paper that each of them liked too, to fit each of their styles.

The monthly calendar stayed the same- they still draw their own pictures to add to the top and write in the major upcoming dates on the calendar each month (highly recommend as it has become a super fun tradition to look back at them all around new year's- here's the blog post about our calendar). But I also knew I wanted to add a way to encourage self-expression, have another way for us to communicate when they're hesitant to talk, and also encourage positive self-image. One of my daughters in particular is really into writing and poetry, so I got some poetry magnets to add to the bottom as well:

The pink container at the bottom holds the extra magnets, and I added some dry erase markers there so my daughters can write down things on their schedules. The magnets got a major update as well! The old clipart I had picked out years ago was too childish so we looked at clipart together and decided to go with a watercolor theme for all of their icons. They picked out their own clipart for their activities, and they're now so much prettier!

We're all really happy with this update- it's much more grownup looking and it fits their growing needs perfectly! I am so glad we've been able to use this still, all these years later.

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