WEEKLY PICTURE EVENT CALENDAR FOR PRESCHOOLERS

“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,” say the parents. On Sundays, they talk about the coming week as he attaches cards representing routine events like 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.

MAKE A PICTURE-PERFECT STORYBOOK FOR A PRESCHOOLER

 

               

Many parents of toddlers and preschoolers wonder, “How can I teach my child to read?” I like to shift the question a bit to: “How can I help prepare my young child to read?” While decoding, recognizing and translating symbols is an essential part to reading, developing comprehension skills is key to understanding what words really mean. Good readers don’t just name and pronounce words, they grasp the meaning and nuances behind them.

Talking, singing, rhyming and sharing stories with babies and toddlers throughout the day builds a background for reading comprehension. As the child grows, daily reading from picture books provides pleasurable learning moments, too.

And when the book is all about the child and chock full of photos with printed descriptions of their everyday activities, the marks on paper come to life.

When family friend Frida Mork turned 3, her Uncle John expanded her library with “THE FRIDA BOOK.” A real page-turner, the personalized homemade publication was created with photos of Frida doing everyday things. Accompanying the photos are questions with clues in the photos designed to:

–stimulate memories: “What are you making in the kitchen with Mommy? Cupcakes!”

–build vocabulary: “Who’s that grilling tasty bratwurst?”

–develop learning skills: “Count to three” with One, Two, Three photos of Frida.

Now as Frida approaches her 4th birthday, the book is still happily clutched in her hands and “read” over and over again. (Thanks to sheets of clear contact paper covering pages, peanut butter and other sticky stuff are easily removed with a damp cloth.)

Here’s how to make a personalized “My First Book.”

You’ll need:

–eight 9-by-12-inch sheets of heavy colored construction paper

–photos of the child with people, places and pets

–stickers

–scissors

–glue

–markers

–clear adhesive-backed paper, cut in eight 9-by-12-inch pieces

–paper punch

–2 loose-leaf book rings or ribbon

Here’s the fun:

Fold each of the eight sheets of construction paper in half widthwise. Stack them one on top of the other with their folds lined up on the right side. The front of the top folded sheet will be the book’s cover. The back of the bottom sheet will be the back of the book.

Glue a photo of the child on the cover, and add a title. Attach additional photos and write text with markers on the remaining 14 pages. Add stickers, if you wish.

Protect the pages by folding a sheet of adhesive-backed paper around the folded right edge of each sheet of construction paper.

Bind the book by punching two equidistant holes along the left side of the pages and attach with the metal rings. (Add additional pages of new experiences as the child grows.)