ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: 10 Creative Ways to Use Calendars

Monday, January 10, 2011

10 Creative Ways to Use Calendars

Happy New Year! We are finally back in posting mode and looking forward to 2011!

Last year Elise shared with us a wonderful post listing 10 very different ways to use calendars to play and learn. We were thrilled to hear she was on it again this year with a new post full of fun. Thanks so much for your willingness to share!

Calendars are one of those resources that are versatile and come in handy for all different types of play and learning activities. The best part of all is at the moment calendars have been heavily discounted.

This year we plan on learning more about other countries and artists so I have stocked up on calendars that have pictures featuring these subjects.
As well as the ten ways to use calendars with young children that was I wrote about here we also used our calendars in the following ways throughout 2010:

1. We used some pictures from our calendars as part of a sensory experience to learn more about Australian animals and their habitats.

Photo below: For the aforementioned activity I used pictures of Australian animals from a calendar, together with some texture cards I made using household items and bits and pieces from our craft cupboard, as well as four habitiat cards that I also made.

Photo below: The texture cards

Photo below: The activity - Choose a picture of an Australian animal, then look at the texture cards to see if you can find a card that would feel like the animal.

2. Pictures from calendars can make inspiring backdrops for imaginative creations. As part of our Imagine theme last year, I made up an outdoor scavenger hunt. The Outdoor Creations Scavenger Hunt can be accessed from the link below:Outdoor Creations.

We used our treasure collected from the scavenger hunt to transform into all sorts of creations. We used some pages from a fairy calendar to inspire some of our creations made from flowers, bark, twigs and stones.

Photos below: A page from one of our fairy calendars provided the perfect setting for our creations.

3. A scene from a picture in a calendar could also be a perfect backdrop for play dough creations. Alternatively, you could use a calendar picture as a stimulus to create creatures, houses, transport etc for the place featured on a calendar picture.

Photo below: This was a play dough billabong that we created one morning. We used bubble wrap in this case for our setting, but I am thinking that this year we may use pictures from our calendars to complement and inspire some more of our play dough creations.

4. Pictures from calendars can be used as part of giant game board.

Photo below: Calendars could be used to learn about colours. Use masking tape to draw up a large grid on your floor. You can then place a different coloured calendar picture in each grid. Simply name a colour and have your child jump into the box containing the picture featuring the colour you mentioned. Calendars are excellent because you can have a set of coloured pictures that your child is interested in.

Photo below: We have also used our giant game board to play different versions of twister. I have not yet used calendar pictures for this, but I think this year we will. Simply put a picture in each square and then have your child place their left hand and/or foot etc onto a certain picture. Perfect to reinforce left and right.

5. Last year, I used some of our calendars featuring animals to make up an activity where the kids had to use their detective skills to observe and then draw conclusions about animals.

Photo below: I selected pictures of various animals from calendars. I then temporarily secured numbered strips of paper onto the picture. The numbers indicated the order in which the strips of paper were to be removed to try and identify what animal was featured. The first strip of paper (labelled number 1 was usually a tail, paw, foot etc), the second strip of paper would reveal another feature of the animal and so on.

The beauty of this activity is that it is appropriate for various ages and it is easy to simplify. Also, it is versatile - the pictures could be of places, landmarks, famous paintings, objects, or be used to fit into a particular theme.

6. This year we are going to use some of our recently purchased calendars to learn more about the world around us. I am thinking about using some of the calendar pictures together with Venn Diagrams. I used Venn Diagrams often in my classrooms when I was teaching as they are an excellent way to assist learners in comparing and contrasting ideas. A Venn Diagram involves constructing two circles (or using two hula hoops) which intersect. Each circle is used to record the characterisitcs of the item, animal, place etc that you are analysing. It is in the intersecting section where you record the common characterisitcs of the two ideas you are comparing. Another useful tool that I have used with is a Y chart. A Y chart involves drawing a large uppercase Y and labelling the three sections, "Looks like"; feels like" and sounds like". Graphic organisational tools are easy to introduce to young children and help organise ideas when you are brainstorming. A visual stimulus, such as a picture from a calendar would complement activities using graphic organisational charts.

7. The small pictures, usually on the back of the calendars, could be used to make story telling dice. Story telling dice are a fun way to encourage imaginative story telling.

8. Our puppets need a good work out and I am thinking that puppets and pictures from calendars could also work well together for another variation with story telling. You could also use some of the pictures from calendars to make popsicle stick puppets.

9. Create an artwork using pictures from calendars. You could use a portion of a calendar picture and use it to complete a painting or drawing. You could also consider using sand (perhaps even colour it), leaves, buttons etc for a creation.

10. Use calendar pictures together with photos to create fun scenes. Now I have 20 ways that we can enjoy our calendars this year. Money well spent I say.

For the complete post visit Inspiration Surrounds, Creativity Abounds.

1 comment:

  1. So many great ideas! I picked up a bunch of calendars when they were in the dollar spot at Target before Christmas and now I have a ton of ideas on how to use them! Thank you!