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A Calendar Fit For a Child


I'm referring to this gem I scored, made by Melissa & Doug, a while ago. Now that Little L is 3.5, she is really getting into helping change our daily magnetic calendar, and anticipating events while she learns about time.

Of all the calendars out there, this one best resembles the "calendar time" I did daily with my Grade 1's. That's not to say that it's too old for 3.5 year olds, however; my kid is able to do most of it with just a bit of verbal promoting and some guided questions.

The calendar's features include:
- separate boxes for year/month/date and season (lots of number practice and learning the months of the year and seasons)
- a section for yesterday/today/tomorrow (to learn the chronological order of the days of the week and identify the words)
- a thermometer with an arrow to indicate temperature, a weather box to identify the weather pattern (sunny, rainy, windy...)
- a blank "activities" section that you can either add magnets to or write in the day's events with a dry erase marker
- a holiday box to identify if the day is a special occasion
- my favourite: an "I feel" area to aid in identifying and vocalizing emotions.

Each section comes with magnets, and an additional magnetic board attached to the calendar to store and display all of the unused pieces. I've seen other calendars that offer a pouch for the extra pieces, but having them in plain view makes them all the more accessible for my girl.
Some things that I really love about this calendar:

1) Magnets are colourful against a white backdrop. I find too much colour to be visually-overwhelming, and the neutral borders and background of the calendar help balance out the colourful magnets

2) Fonts are simple and easy to read. Some other calendars have very small print or busy pictures on their magnets, but this one has high-contrast, larger fonts that don't overload the eye

3) The focus is equally on the date and time and season and weather, not just the activities and events of the day. We aren't that organized, and our days are pretty spontaneous (child-led, play-based), so a calendar that mostly focuses on a day's activities simply isn't helpful for a family that isn't focused on scheduled activity.

4) Magnetic boards are suspended on a sturdy wooden frame. We could just hang ours up on the wall with one tiny nail; we didn't need to find some magnetic surface to apply the calendar to. This design means that we are able to use the calendar despite having brushed stainless appliances.

5) As mentioned earlier, there is a second magnetic board to hold the numbers and other magnets. Out of sight, out of mind; this addresses that problem, and allows kids to see their options and access the magnets easily. It is a great way to promote independent play, and I'd be lying if I said that Little L didn't often mess around with the calendar (especially the temperature arrow and the "I feel" faces) to play on her own. Sometimes, she will even change the "I feel" face to sad when she's upset, and switch it back after she feels better!

I'm a big fan of Melissa & Doug, who did not sponsor this post (but I wish they did)! The calendar will set you back a few dollars (anywhere from $17.99US+) but it is well worth the investment. Once Little L is too old to do calendar time, she will still be able to use the wooden magnetic board for other things. If you're looking for a kiddie calendar, this teacher-mommy is rating the Melissa & Doug First Daily Calender an A+ (or two thumbs up, or "greatly exceeds expectations")! :)





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