When my daughter 老大 (lǎodà / oldest child) was 3 years old, my sister made this interactive perpetual calendar to teach her how to keep track of the months, days, and seasons.
Now 老大 is 5 years old, and she still has fun updating it every month. A perpetual calendar is convenient and effective for review because it can be reused month after month, year after year. My daughter can now assemble the calendar printable in a quick minute!
As usual, we are happy to share this free printable with you in Chinese and English!
Teach children clock and calendar skills
This resource is part of a series on how to teach kids clock and calendar skills:
- Interactive Perpetual Calendar (This article)
- Calendar Wheels: Days of the week and Months of the Year
- Months and Seasons Paper Plate Puzzle
- Chinese Zodiac Wheel
- Teach Kids Time with Simple, Hands-On Clock Activities
- 日历 (rìlì /calendar)
- 月 (yuè / month)
- 年 (nián / year)
- 季节 (jìjié / season)
- 天 (tiān / day)
How I introduced the calendar to my daughter
Narrating our routine and schedule to my child
Before introducing any physical calendars to 老大, my daughter was familiar with general calendar concepts and names of the various time units. From the time 老大 was a baby, I have always narrated everything we do in the day.
For example, when it’s the weekend, I tell her that it’s Saturday, which usually means that daddy and mommy are not working! Every Sunday, we go to church, so my daughter learned to associate this routine with a particular day of the week.
Teaching my child calendar concepts in English and Chinese
After learning the days of the week, I taught 老大 the months of the year. When she was 2 years old, we were mainly speaking English together, and she loved the months of the year song.
As we began to learn Chinese together, I taught her the Mandarin translation, and we would sing the months in the same tune. On our easel, I wrote 一月，二月，三月，四月，五月，六月， 七月，八月，九月，十月，十一月，十二月 , 一年有12月. She got used to seeing the months of the years while singing and pointing out the Chinese characters!
Teaching my child seasons through observation and books
By the time 老大 was 3, she had noticed the weather changing with our 3 California seasons (spring, summer, fall). However, since we read many books every day, she was familiar with the concept of snowy winters. We discussed different clothes to wear during different times of the year as well as the different appearance of the trees.
Learning how to count and sequence numbers
At this age, since she was able to count to 100 and also familiar with our printable hundred chart, I knew that she was ready to learn calendar skills.
Developmental milestones vary from child to child
Please note that the specific age to teach calendar skills will vary from child to child. While my daughter understood these concepts precociously, my son is currently 2 years old and only understands before, now, and later!
However, I am still talking to him about the days of the week, and he observes my daughter updating our calendar.
Pre-requisites to teaching calendar skills to children
Calendar concepts can be challenging for young children because they need to understand:
- How to count and read numbers
- Traditional Calendar format
- Columns corresponding to days of the week
How to teach kids calendar skills
Over time, they will learn:
- Number of days in each month
- Months that fall during certain seasons
By using this calendar printable on a daily basis, you can teach your child all of these skills gradually over time.
Involve your child with keeping track of the date
Initially, you can demonstrate how to set up the calendar. Mark the current day with a little paper clip. If your child is interested and has proper fine motor skills, invite him or her to move the paper clip to the subsequent day!
Questions to ask when teaching calendar skills
Every morning, we begin the day by identifying the date on the calendar. Reviewing the calendar as a routine part of the day helps facilitate pattern recognition and comprehension. Here are basic questions that you can answer initially and later invite your child to chime in!
Months of the year
- What month are we in?
- What month is it next?
- How many months till the end of the year?
Days of the week:
- What day is it today?
- What day was it yesterday?
- What day is it tomorrow?
Season of the year:
- What is the season currently?
- How many months left of this season?
- What is the next season?
Real life word problems involving calendar skills
As your child becomes more confident and familiar with the numerical calendar patterns, you can use the calendar for real-life word problems.
- How many days until Friday?
- What was the date last Monday?
- If Christmas is in December, how many months will it be until Christmas?
- How many weeks ago was your birthday?
What you need for the interactive perpetual calendar
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How to set up the interactive perpetual calendar:
- Print pdf file on different colors of paper. Suggest printing the first page on white so that the labels stand out. I also think that white is best for the background, otherwise it will be too busy.
- Laminate each page
- Cut labels for months, days, years, and season
- Affix Velcro dots to labels and calendar template
- Affix labels to calendar
- Place the calendar in a clearly visible location so that your child can check the date everyday!
Here’s a video of my daughter when she was 3 years old, counting and looking for the consecutive dates in the calendar!
More FREE printable calendars
- Chinese Calendar Wheels: Teach kids about past, present, and future!
- Interactive Chinese Zodiac Wheel: Learn about the birth years that corresponds to each Chinese zodiac animal!
Wooden interactive perpetual calendar
If you’re looking for a hands-on, heirloom quality calendar that can be passed down to future generations, I highly recommend the wood perpetual calendar from Treasures from Jennifer! This Etsy shop offers Montessori-inspired learning materials in many languages!
Other educational activities for kids
To see all hands-on Chinese learning activities, please browse our activities by topic with your child(ren)!
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