Teaching months of the year and days of the week to young kids.

Homeschool Calendar door with a rose made out of construction paper and tape made by oldest daughter.

In the process of preparing my oldest for Kindergarten I’ve been having a hard time finding an engaging and organized method of teaching her the concepts of Months, Days of the weeks, Seasons, and Weather. I’ve made her several Daily Activity Journals. In which had pages she was suppose to fill out daily in which she was prompted to circle the day of the week, month of the year and circle the corresponding number that represented which day of the Month we were on. I realized days later the attempt was a fail because I forgot the number 22. I was able to get her to participate some days, most days she’d roll her eyes and reluctantly filled out the page.

I tried buying a magnetic calendar to hang on the kitchen wall I was optimistic until the first week went by, and I stared at the horrid mess of numbers and months scattered all out of place all over the board, and down on the floor. I threw it away several months later when I had finally accepted it was a fail after my daughter looked at it with me explaining the calendar is a mess and to messy to play with.

When I set up our main homeschool wall I made a simple sheet to fill out daily. In which prompted me to ask my daughters which day of the week we are on, and to recite the months of the year to my daughters daily.

I’ve been debating on buying a pocket chart calendar that way I’d have something large and easily readable for my daughters to see and help me update daily. With the small size of my house and the limited wall space left I wasn’t sure if I could accommodate a calendar. Ultimately I went ahead and bought it placing it upon our front door. My husbands first comment was this is going to be a mess to clean daily. The youngest is going to take everything out of the bottom pockets.

Although he was right and the cards end up all over the floor it works much better than the magnetic calendar we had because the cards are large enough that they’re easy to find and durable enough they should hold up to typical toddler curiosity. As of now I really enjoy it as an addition to our homeschool set up. I’ve been trying to find items that helps my daughter accept a more non traditional approach to school. We’ve recently enrolled her in an online school that starts in September therefore I’m really trying to rethink our current set up to accommodate Kindergarten rather than only preschool. My husband and I wanted our daughter to get the best education she could in the midst of recent events due to Covid-19.

I hung the pocket calendar using 6 command hook clips. The calendar comes with storage pockets at the bottom in which I used to store the extra days of the weeks, months, weather, and birthday cake cards. The rest I placed in a bag that I hung on a clip above the calendar to keep the storage pockets form being overfilled.

The bag I used to place the extra pieces from the calendar in come in three color assortments, plain black, plain white, and assorted colors. I bought them in plain white because I often use them as present bags for my daughters grandparents. In plain white my daughter is able to draw all over them with fabric markers as an extra sentimental present to go along with their other presents. (I am a participant in the Amazon affiliate program and any qualifying purchases made through links throughout post I may earn a commission on at no extra cost to you.)

Hedgehog emotional cards.

Hedgehog themed safe spot to calm down wall upgraded with emotional cards.

I posted awhile back my daughters hedgehog themed safe spot to calm down. I’ve recently made emotion cards to go along with the wall. To give my daughters and I more opportunity to talk about and safely deal with our emotions.

Free emotional hedgehog cards printable towards bottom of page. : )

The cards are meant to be used as a way to explore my oldest daughters feelings and why she feels the way she does. Also it gives me opportunities to teach my 20 month old the words for different emotions.

Simply my daughters can grab a card from the pile and for example if she gets the word angry I can ask my daughter, “Tell me a time you were angry?” and she tends to respond with, “when my sister takes my stuff.” Which happens often because at 20 months she’s always trying to grab everything. It gives me a chance to explain to her it’s normal to be angry about that although she is 20 months old therefore if she reacts to the situation by yelling and shouting at her little sister it’ll teach her little sister that when upset it’s appropriate to shout at the person and rip the item out of their hands. Which that isn’t the best route to take.

Other cards in the set are suggestions of how to calm down when upset and or angry. If my daughter pulls for example the listen to music card out of the pile we talk about what music she likes and makes her most calm and happy when she listens to.

There are different ways to use the cards. I simply laminated the set I printed out, and placed them in a laminated pocket sleeve to hang on the wall with Velcro command strips. Also if you wanted they could be used as magnets for a magnetic fridge. In this case I opted out of making them into magnets if I had I would use them on my daughter’s educational magnetic wall. Made with a black chalkboard like sticker that goes directly onto the wall instantly turning any spot into a magnetic chalkboard.

We have switched out the type of seating that we use in our safe space to calm down corner many times. I’ve recently went on a search for some sort of chair anything that would be safe for both my daughters. My youngest loves to stand on all chairs and books anything at all. She makes me super nervous therefore I bought wobble cushions that as my oldest points out doubles as a great exercise tool. Also works great during my daughters makeshift obstacle courses.
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If you want to check out the rest of the emotional hedgehog printable posters on my daughters calm down wall click here to see that post. : )

Animals We See Outside Graph.

Now that it’s summer I have been trying to find fun outdoor activities to keep up on our preschool lessons. To make sure my oldest is fully ready for Kindergarten. We’ve been keeping up with our reading lessons, daily. We also try to count to 100 most days. Besides counting to 100 my husband and I find ways to sneak in counting and simple addition activities. I’ve been focused on pre reading and reading skills that math got lost in the shuffle of it all therefore I’ve been trying to be more proactive in fitting it in much more often.

Again; being summer I’ve been trying to find a way to bring our lessons outside as we breath in the fresh air and soak in nature. My youngest enjoys watching birds, squirrels, and bunnies. Luckily for her our backyard is full of tall trees and is the perfect place to look for small critters. I figured a way to keep both my daughters more excited about nature I’d make something I could laminate and take outside with us to mark off what we see.

I laminated the Animal Tracking Sheet to use again and again.

My daughter pointed out the lady bug on the chart and asked why a lady bug? I told her it just represented bugs in general she reluctantly accepted that fact. My daughters have short attention spans, therefore I only did 10 boxes to mark because I figured after they spotted the first several bugs they would be over looking for bugs. Bugs are abundant in our backyard if they pay attention they could find 100’s in seconds if they wanted, again I just kept it at a broad spectrum and told her we can look for any specific bugs we want. For example if she wanted to look only for spiders we could do that.

After filling out the chart and coming back inside for the day my daughters and I sit down and we talk about our data. I have my oldest count how many boxes she marked in each category. She had found 0 bunnies and 0 frogs, so I asked her which animals were spotted the same amount of times. Then I asked what animal was spotted the most times, the least? I made a graph to go along with the chart to fill out and see the data in a more visual way.

My oldest daughters graph filled out.
The graph I filled out to explain how graphs work to her.

I work best myself if I have a visual aid to remind me of everything I need to explain to a child that is learning basic information. I made a demonstration graph to keep me on track to talk about the key points of a graph to my daughter as we did our graphing activity. Also for her reference in the future.

I laminated the reference graph so it would last longer.

I laminated my sheets for durability, instead of wasting laminated pouches or if you don’t have a laminator reusable dry erase pockets are a perfect solution. The other items above are helpful visual aids when it comes to counting and or math skills. (I am a participant in Amazon affiliates and any qualifying purchases made through Amazon links above I earn commission on at no extra cost to you.)

Learning Colors With Nana Hedgehog.

Learning Colors With Nana Hedgehog synopsis; Nana Hedgehog invites your young ones to class. The subject of the day colors. Young ones will get to join in on all the color fun, as they explore Nana Hedgehogs classroom as a helper for the day. Filled of activities to spark enjoyment and engage them within the learning process.

I’ve been thinking about creating an early educational book series for awhile. I wanted the books to be interactive and engaging for young children, I knew I wanted to have tangible printable activities that would correspond with the books itself. To further reinforce the elements of the book.

Since it was my first book I wanted to start off somewhere simple, in which I chose colors.

When writing and illustrating the book I wanted to really drill the color words into my daughters head. My oldest is at an age in which reading is a center focus, although she can recognize her colors visually I want her to also be able to read the color word. With her in mind on the first page I placed the colorful hedgehogs in random order, and wrote their names in alphabetical order. Each hedgehogs name is the color in which they are for color learning purposes. I wanted her to focus on reading the words rather than visualizing the colors themselves.

My youngest on the other hand is at the age in which repetition is most important, and during any sort of lesson she ends up digging in and throwing things around. Which is another reason I chose to switch up the order of the colorful hedgehogs throughout the book. To continue saying each hedgehogs color name, over and over.

I made two basic drawings of people for young kids to color, decorate, and use along with the book to make kids feel as if they are really a helper in Nana Hedgehogs classroom. My daughter and I colored the people out one for her and one for her little sister. She cut off her little sisters characters arm in the process. Although the arm wasn’t salvageable I went ahead and laminated both the characters anyways.

Coloring activity to go along with page 3.
Colorful Hedgehogs and food to print out goes with pages 6 and 7.

This color sorting printable goes along with pages 6 and 7. I believe learning sinks in better when a child has something tangible to play with and physically able to sort. I printed and laminated my copy for my children to use when we read the book together allowing them to physically give each colorful hedgehog their snacks.

An additional printable to go with the colorful hedgehogs and colorful food sort activity.
Coloring activity to go along with page 8.

On pages 9 and 10 Nana Hedgehog invites a special visitor (Prism Creature) to her classroom to teach her colorful hedgehog students about prisms and rainbows. For added fun you can conduct a simple prism activity at home. If interested I found a simple prism experiment here.

On pages 13-15 I made simple mazes upon my oldest daughter’s request. She is obsessed with mazes and told me the book wouldn’t be complete without any. I know it can be frustrating trying to follow a line on a touch screen device therefore I made a printable version of the mazes to print out to go with the book.

If your interested in purchasing the book Learning Colors with Nana Hedgehog its available for purchase on Amazon here.

All printable activities that correspond with the book Learning Colors With Nana Hedgehog are free to download and print for personal use only. I made them to pair perfectly with the book, although they work well as stand alone activities.
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Week 7 Spain

My oldest daughter has been wanting to learn Spanish, we have several books we read throughout the week that teaches simple words in Spanish. At bedtime she likes to go through a board book and tells me to quiz her as I read the word in Spanish and she tries to name what it is in English. Therefore I figured it made sense to study another Spanish speaking country. We had already studied Mexico for week two, week 7 we studied Spain.

The books above are Spanish books we have been using for the past several months to study the Spanish language. Both my children enjoy the My First 100 Words in Spanish, it’s great to use with my one year old because it is short simple and a board book therefore she can’t rip it into pieces.

Lets Learn Spanish, is a great book because it gives a brief introduction to Spanish in the first pages, helping a beginner to understand the basics of the language. Making it perfect for children and an adult trying to teach a child all awhile teaching themselves at the same time.

Both the board books A Book in Four Languages are in English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin. They’re perfect for using with my children being they have a four year age gap. My youngest wants to be involved in everything my oldest does however she’s at the age where she wants to rip everything up and doesn’t understand the word gentle.

Throughout the week we used the books I mentioned above during our foreign language lesson, and I used this simple chart to introduce the country of Spain to my daughters because of their young ages five and one I kept it simple.

I always make coloring pages to go along with the country of the week. I choose simple concepts with simple sentences to push my daughter to read throughout the weekend. A way to sneak reading in separate of her designated reading times.

I try not to add to much detail into the coloring pages, and leave empty space because it gives my daughter the opportunity to draw and add in whatever she wants to the coloring page. She chose to draw a tree, a net for the ball to go into, and she added a line informing me that she was drawing the kids leg kicking the ball into the net. Her tree is the tiny green patch with orange lines all over it.

When we’re finished coloring the pages my daughter and I cut them out and place the pages into my daughters country of the week journal. (I am a participant in the Amazon affiliate program and any qualifying purchases made through Amazon links throughout post I may earn a commission on at no extra cost to you.)

Country of the week 6 France.

I chose France for week 6 because I’ve been reading my daughters two books that are in four languages English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin. We’ve studied in previous weeks countries that spoke Spanish, and Mandarin therefore it felt fitting to talk about a country that speaks French.

My daughters are five and one, therefore I keep it simple when introducing the country we are studying for the week. I used this simple chart to read to my daughter’s about Spain.

Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays we go over the country of the week, and have a brief foreign language lesson. For France we studied the French language. We watched this video, and read the two books I mentioned earlier. A Book in Four Languages My colors, and A Book in Four Languages My Numbers.

We end the week by recapping what we learned for the week, by using coloring pages and cooking a dish that corresponds with the country we studied. For France my husband made ham and cheese Quiche. My oldest is five and a huge part of my husbands and I focus is trying to help her read. I tend to incorporate simple sentences in with her coloring pages to keep her reading outside of her designated reading time.

This was mine and my daughter’s attempt at conveying an impressionistic style.

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Preschool toy store scene. I want to buy a ______ at the toy store.

I recently ran out of ink for the printer, my daughter kept asking if I had ink yet because she had a request. Naturally when my husband came home after work with ink my daughter immediately informed me of her request. She wanted a store, and people with masks, because of course masks are mandatory. She said the masks were the most important. This is what I made.

After my daughter and I colored, I laminated, and she cut out the pieces.

I chose a simple sentence “I want to buy a ________ at the toy store,” to fit in a little reading with play time. I’ve been trying to get my daughter to really focus in and learn to read number words. I decided to use this as an opportunity to casually throw that concept in. Originally the people each had a number one, two, three, and four. My daughter cut out all the pieces herself except for the person with the word two, which means my intentions fell short. She got in a short scissor practice so not a total loss.

I chose to refrain from using color because it saves on color ink and currently I’m still out of that because black and white was the only in stock. Also it gives us a chance to sit down together as we color and talk about the picture. I can ask her to read the sentence and look at the words with their corresponding images.

I’ve been making people with shapes recently because it gives me more opportunities to plug in shapes with my youngest daughter. Who will grab anything my oldest is playing with.

Besides the toy scene I made a printable to go along with it. A simple circle the correct number. It looks like this.

I apologize for the crumby state of the images, I had forgotten to take a picture before giving the sheets to my oldest, when my youngest was wide awake and ready to snatch anything. I could have reprinted, or taken a picture from my computer, I figure that’s real life though. I’m just a mom trying to educate my children all awhile dealing with the chaos that comes with it.

Printable isn’t in color, pictures taken after my daughter and I colored the pages.

I always laminate the scene and people to make it durable and last more than one use. (I am a participant in the Amazon affiliates program and any qualifying purchases purchased through links above I may earn a commission from.)

Farm scene from an earlier post. I see a __ on the farm.

Click here if you want to check out the “I see a _____ on the farm.” post.

Playground scene from an earlier post. I see a __ at the playground.

Click here if you want to check out the “I see _____ at the playground.” post.

Country of the week 5 Tanzania.

Week five the country we chose was Tanzania because I’ve been trying to find a way to bring everything we are working on during the week into one cohesive unit. As of now I’m failing, and we’ve been bouncing around different subjects and concepts.

This month we received our monthly Science Junior box and the theme was all about Jane Goodall studies of chimpanzees in Gombe, Tanzania. It felt fitting to incorporate Tanzania within one of our weekly studies of a country and it was a good start to trying to tie all our lessons together.

Eventually I plan on finding a way to create my own concept for all important preschool and eventually Kindergarten subjects into one place, rather than an overwhelming amount of info without any cohesive approach so I don’t rely on several different monthly and or yearly subscriptions for all the various topics of education in which I’m doing now. It adds up rather quickly between subscription boxes, and products my husband and I buy to keep our children up to date with their education.

On Monday we start off with a simple introduction to the country were studying for the week. I used this simple chart in order to incorporate the key points to my daughters all about Tanzania.

After the chart we tend to follow up with a foreign language lesson, this week I went with kiswahili in which I played this video for my daughters to watch several times during the week. I tend to pick a video or two that is appropriate to watch many times because repetition is important in order for information to sink in.

On Friday we went back over our Tanzania world culture chart and watched the same video from Monday and Wednesday, after that we enjoyed a meal cooked by my husband. Tanzanian Coconut rice, that he paired with chicken. He’s recently stated the only reason I started this is so he’d cook me a meal once a week, I couldn’t deny it. I’m not really the cooking type. When I cook I don’t do anything fancy cut up frozen precooked chicken, and toss it in microwave rice and that’s enough for me. In a family of picky eaters the conversation of what we’re having for dinner is often unbearable to endure. Once a week it’s all about trying something different, and it keeps us all more accepting to eating whatever is made.

Finishing the week up on a fun note I printed out my daughter coloring pages to fit the theme of Tanzania, and help tie in a brief reading lesson.

After my daughter and I colored together and read the short sentence.

The learning resources puzzle globe is something I’ve bought around a year ago, it’s a simple way to introduce the concept of continents to young children. Although for some reason Australia never seems to stay attached when not in use and it drives me a bit crazy, it’s a neat globe. My daughter’s love taking the pieces off and placing them back on. It also is cute enough to use as a toy/decoration sort of thing. If your living in a house with little ones you know they don’t differentiate between décor do not touch and a toy. Therefore I’ve embraced that and have gotten use to incorporating toys within décor.

If you were to buy the three pair of toddler scissors and think why would anyone ever recommend this crap they barely cut through paper. I know I thought that, although the worrier in me loves them for that reason. With a five year old and a one year old it’s hard to keep the youngest away from all the cool stuff her sister plays with. If she leaps in and wants her sisters scissors I can feel a little less stressed about it. As with anything adult supervision always required.
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Country of the week 4 China.

Country of the week 4 my daughter spun her puzzle globe and landed upon the continent of Asia. A few months back I bought a really interesting book My First Book of Chinese Words, An ABC Rhyming Book of Chinese Language and Culture, by Faye-Lynn Wu. It felt fitting to go with China and use that book as a gateway for our lessons.

After the short lesson about the country on Monday we took a break before leading into a foreign language lesson. The foreign language lesson we repeat on Wednesday and Friday. During our foreign language lesson this week we studied mandarin a dialect of Chinese.

Our lessons consisted of two books and a video. I tend to repeat the same books and video throughout the week so it all sinks in better. I don’t expect my daughter to be fluent in several languages at the age of five its more about teaching her respect for other cultures and languages so she doesn’t act rude towards someone not speaking English simply because she’s never been introduced to another language.

Both the books used for this weeks lessons are written in four languages. A book on numbers and the other a book of colors. They’re short and simple, and give children a sense of how numbers and colors differ in different languages.

On Fridays we try to end the week by making a recipe from the Country we studied. For this week my husband made chicken fried rice, and chicken with broccoli. The idea behind it was to taste culture and my daughter and husband cook together she loves helping in the kitchen. The issue being I’m a huge germaphobe and my daughter around raw meat, no way. Or be near a hot stove, I am not a cool relax parent I’m super up tight. Therefore my daughter didn’t participate in the cooking this week. My husband spilt chicken juice all over the floor I was in a huge panic and wasn’t even in the kitchen. Lets just say if it was up to me we would be vegetarians I could live with out raw meat in my life.

Anyways since it’s Fridays a fun day and concludes the country of the week we end it with a party and coloring pages. That my daughter tends to finish coloring over the weekend. I try to use simple sentences because if I can casually slip in a reading lesson that carries through the weekend it makes it that much better. It gives us something casual to do together that holds her attention and has a little bit of reading involved.

My daughter decided to cut out and hole punch a dragon.
She asked for a string so she could lace the dragon.

I allow her to lead the coloring/craft time we have on the weekends. Sometimes she’ll just color the page, other times she’ll cut them out, and this week she decided she wanted to use the hole puncher. She chooses which she wants to put into our country of the week journal and which she wants to leave out.

I recommend the odd shape crayons if you have toddler age children and fear them putting crayons in their mouths, they’re much safer and less of a choking hazard than other crayons. The twistable crayons are great because they don’t have to be sharpened, although if over twisted they fall out and are a pain, besides that they’re great. I recommend the three pack of scissors as a great beginner scissor they barely cut paper, which makes them a great distraction for my youngest as she’s trying to steal her sisters scissors. (I am a participant in the Amazon affiliates program and any qualifying purchases through any of the amazon links in this post I may earn a commission on at no extra cost to you.)

I see a __________ at the playground.

My oldest daughter recently told me she missed going to the park, although things are opening back up nothing is quite back to normal. My husband and I just continue to explain to her that we have to continue taking precautions. Wearing masks when we go out in public and continue practicing social distancing. To a five year old all that sounds like nonsense and often she replies with “The stupid Coronavirus.”

Last week she wanted me to make her a farm with farm animals, this week I made a playground upon her request because she missed going to the park as she puts it. I’m not ready to take her to a park playing on playground equipment yet, therefore I made a playground themed scene. It’s not the same obviously, it does however help me with getting her to read a short sentence and reading several other words in the process. Although it’s not a an active activity, it’s a great activity for her imagination. She loves making up stories with the people, she even paired it along side the farm we made last week for more story telling ideas.

After my daughter and I colored, cut out, and I laminated everything.

I printed it out without color because it allows my daughter to color it however she wants, and gives us something to do together. She even drew her own sun up to Velcro in place upon the other sun in the playground scene. As we color I ask her to read the sentence and the words. When finished I laminate it all myself then she cuts the people out, and she helps place Velcro pieces where she wants the people to go. The use of Velcro dots help keep the pieces from going missing when stored away and brought back out.

I made the people with various shapes to sneak in a short simple lesson about shapes with my youngest, a way to remind myself to talk about various shapes.

Failed first attempt.

After my daughter and I colored the playground scene I had a mishap with the laminator and also burnt waffles at the same time. I’m not the best multitasker apparently. We went ahead and colored another playground scene that attempt was a success. It all worked out she grabbed the first copy and decided it was a perfect scissor practice and began cutting it into light sabers.

My daughters played together with the park activity, and then next thing I knew there was lacing cards out and stuff animals that according to my oldest were injured and she had to sew them back together. The park scene held her interest long enough to incorporate a reading lesson during play time. Often in our house we start off with one thing and next thing I know it’s off to another.

I also made two work sheets to go along with the playground activity. A simple match the pictures to the correct word worksheet. One page covers the words boy, girl, mom, dad. The other page covers things seen at a playground, seesaw, slide, swing set, and a sun.

Farm scene.

Above is a farm scene I created previously. If interested you can download directly from download button above or click here to go to the I see a _____ on the farm post.

Please keep in mind adult supervision is required especially with a one year old like my youngest for example, when playing with the park scene especially if using Velcro dots. (I am a participant in the Amazon affiliates program and any qualifying purchases made through amazon links above I may earn a commission on.)