Create a picture event calendar
“When do we go to the zoo?” “When is Nate’s birthday party?” “When, when, when” is the repetitive question of kids of all ages, but as a parent of preschoolers, it’s especially challenging to answer the “when” questions if eager kids don’t yet read, write or comprehend the days of the week.
That was a parenting challenge for 35-year-old neonatologist and mom of two, Dr. Anna Hedstrom. So, she recruited her mother-in-law, retired fourth-grade teacher Judy Hedstrom, to help her and her husband, Karl, develop a hands-on strategy for their 3-year-old son, Parker, to understand what’s up on their weekly schedule.
To create an event calendar, Judy organized family photos of familiar faces in Parker’s life, and found images of day-to-day routines and outings from free online photos. She used them to make easy-to-handle, Velcro-backed activity cards Parker could attach to color-coded days of the week.
It works! “The Parker’s Week calendar gets him involved in a playful way to understand when activities will take place,” said the parents. Sundays, they talk about the coming week as he attaches cards representing routine events such as school, as well as special activities such as going to the zoo. Now, six months later, he has figured out how to do the “regulars” himself.
Enjoy making one adapted to your family lifestyle with your preschooler.
Here’s the stuff you need:
• 1 22-by-28-inch poster board cut in half widthwise.
• Cardstock sheets in different colors.
• Copied photos and images of people and activities in child’s life.
• Household glue.
• Self-stick Velcro.
• Magnets or art hooks for hanging.
Here’s the fun:
1. For the header section of the activity calendar, print a title such as “Emily’s Week” on a 12-by-4-inch strip of cardstock. Add a photo of the child next to it, and glue in place on the poster board.
2. On the short end of seven 3-by-11-inch tall colored strips of cardstock, print the days of the week. Line up strips vertically in a row, and glue under the title strip.
3. Cut 3-by-3-inch cards for representing routine activities and special events. Print photos and images of outings and glue to cards. Label each activity. For example: School, Library, Soccer, Haircut, Doctor visit, Birthday party, Dad off work, Surprise!
4. Laminate cards and entire calendar at a copy store (optional, but recommended).
5. Attach one half of Velcro pieces in a vertical line under days of the week, and attach the matching pieces on the backs of cards. Hang the calendar with magnets or art hooks at child’s height.
Store cards not in use in a box or file near the calendar.
Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide.