create your own perpetual calendar

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perpetual After being away from my kids for a few days I was so excited to spend the whole Monday doing anything we wanted to do.  I did a lot of baking for this week (amazing bread, my heavenly chocolate gelato with the leftover yolks from the bread, double batch of chocolate chip coconut bars and biscuits), cleaned my kitchen, read lots of books to the kids, enjoyed many show-and-tell moments from my weekend's absence, and enjoyed them going in and out to play in the snow.

One thing that has happened quite naturally is watching my youngest three thrive on more structure with me while my older two are drawn to more freedom to fulfill their needs.  I love it when, like yesterday, my older two are completely focused on a project (for hours!) and I notice the twins ready for something "structured".  That is the time when I pull out my list of their ideas and my ideas and the three of us (thank you Rowan for that wonderful nap) can work together at the table.

Creating a Perpetual Calendar was an absolutely perfect project for my almost six year old girls and, in general, would be ideal for children ages 4-8 years old. 

Come see why circular perpetual calendars are so important for young children...

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Perpetual calendars create a visual for time that a standard 12 month calendar does not.  For the young child, they can see that geometry, symmetry, and order of time as 12 months are divided into 4 seasons.

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Perpetual calendars are a physical way children can see the progression and changing of time.  By turning their illustrated wheel, they can match the month with the season, and what visually that season looks like to them.

The child's understanding of larger spans of time are better understood by regularly using their own perpetual calendar.  And the fact that it is a circular calendar, they can understand that "time" is an ongoing cycle, easily comprehended on their wheel year after year.

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So let's make one!

create your own perpetual calendar

You'll need:

  • white sturdy construction paper or cardstock
  • colored pencils (watercolors or crayons work as well)
  • scissors
  • colored cardstock
  • gluestick
  • metal split pin
  • pencil and fine tipped marker
  1. Cut three small, medium, and large circles from the white cardstock.  They should fit inside each other with enough room for your child's illustrations and text.*
  2. Cut an extra large circle from colored cardstock that is slightly larger than your largest white circle.  Glue the large white circle to the colored cardstock circle.  This gives your calendar more support.
  3. Center the now three circles and stick your split pin through the three layers and let your child secure the back.
  4. With a pencil, divide the largest circle's perimeter into 12 spaces for the months and quarter the medium and small circles with your pencil.
  5. Write in the months and seasons for your child or let them write in each space around the calendar.
  6. Direct your child to illustrate one circle at a time, perhaps starting with the months.  If they need help, encourage them to think about the colors they imagine during specific months (Is it hot or cold?), what scenes they think of for each season, and so forth. (I did trace a basic tree shape four times for them to color in and add to for each quarter of their smallest circle.  Your assistance with the tree shape for the younger child will help them keep that circle consistent for identifying later.)

*You can also add another circle for the days of the week, rotation of the earth, etc., to your calendar.  

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When your child has finished illustrating their calendar, you will not only be amazed by how beautiful it is but by how useful it is!  Watch your child line up the month, season, and what happens (visually) to trees in that season.  The concept of a circular calendar will help your child put time into perspective in a more tangible way.

You can hang your new perpetual calendar with a sturdy push pin for your child to rotate monthly (or daily depending on your circles) or keep the calendar out on a work surface your child returns to regularly.

IMG_0051 I can't begin to tell you how much my children loved making these.  More importantly, our discussion through the process of making them and then watching how the abstract concept of months and seasons clicked in their minds after playing with their calendars was amazing.  They really do invite discussion beyond the initial construction of them.

I'd love to hear if you and your child make a perpetual calendar together.  This is the best time of year to introduce the concept of the annual rotation of the calendar, the earth, and time.

Have fun + bond together! 

the sleepy time gal