A few years ago, my sister made a free printable Chinese calendar to teach my kids how to keep track of the months, days, and seasons! A perpetual calendar is convenient and effective for review because it can be reused month after month, year after year. We have since splurged on a beautiful wood Chinese calendar, and my children still update these interactive Chinese calendars each month!
As usual, we are happy to share our printable calendar with you for free in Chinese and English! To answer common questions from parents, I’ve also added calendar teaching tips and question prompts that you can try with your children!
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Teach children calendar and time skills in Chinese
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
- Visual Daily Routine Chart for Kids in English, Chinese, Korean (Printable)
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
Important Calendar vocabulary in Chinese, Pinyin, and English
- 日历 / 日曆 (rìlì /calendar)
- 星期 (xīngqī / week)
- 月 (yuè / month)
- 年 (nián / year)
- 季节 / 季節 (jìjié / season)
- 天 (tiān / day)
Teaching the calendar in Chinese and English
Verbalize the daily routine and schedule
Before introducing physical calendars, my kids were familiar with general calendar concepts and names of various time units. This is something I started narrating before they could even talk!
For example, when it’s the weekend, I tell my kids that it’s Saturday, which usually means that Daddy and Mommy are not working! On Sundays, we go to church, so my kids associate these events with a specific day of the week.
Since we generally follow the one-parent, one-language method, I talk to my kids about the time and date in Chinese, while my husband talks about it in English. However, they’ve also heard me use English because it’s our family language.
Songs that teach calendar concepts
YouTube has many Chinese songs that teach calendar concepts!
My kids like the months of the year song in English, and we sing the months in Chinese to the same tune:
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!
Learning how to count and sequence numbers
Our printable hundred chart is a great introduction to numbers in rows and columns. When a child is comfortable with this, they may be ready to follow a calendar!
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 on the printable calendar or mini clothespin on the wood calendar. If your child is interested and has proper fine motor skills, invite him or her to move the clip to the subsequent day!
Questions to ask when teaching calendar skills
In the morning, we try to start the day by reviewing the calendar as part of the daily routine. Here are basic questions that you can answer initially and later invite your child to chime in!
Months of the year
- 我们在哪个月？/ 我們在哪個月？(Wǒmen zài nǎge yuè? / What month are we in?)
Days of the week:
- 今天星期几？/ 今天星期幾？ (Jīntiān xīngqī jǐ? / What day is it today?)
- 昨天是星期几？/ 昨天是星期幾？ (Zuótiān shì xīngqī jǐ? / What day was it yesterday?)
- 明天是星期几？/ 明天是星期幾 ？(Míngtiān shì xīngqī jǐ / What day is it tomorrow?)
Season of the year:
- 目前的季节是什么？/ 目前的季節是什麼？(Mùqián de jìjié shì shénme? / What is the season currently?)
- 这 季节还剩几个月？/ 這季節還剩幾個月？(Zhè jìjié hái shèng jǐ gè yuè? / How many months are left in this season?)
- 下一季是什么时候？/ 下一季是什麼時候？(Xià yījì shì shénme shíhòu? / 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.
- 到星期五还有多少天？/ 到星期五還有多少天？(Dào xīngqīwǔ hái yǒu duōshǎo tiān? / How many days until Friday?)
- 上周一的约会是几号？/ 上週一的約會是幾號？ (Shàng zhōu yī de yuēhuì shì jǐ hào? / What was the date last Monday?)
- 如果圣诞节是在十二月，那么几个月后是圣诞节？/ 如果聖誕節是在十二月，那麼幾個月後是聖誕節？ (Rúguǒ shèngdàn jié shì zài shí’èr yuè, nàme jǐ gè yuè hòu shì shèngdàn jié? / If Christmas is in December, how many months will it be until Christmas?)
- 几个星期前是你的生日？/ 幾個星期前是你的生日？ (Jǐ gè xīngqī qián shì nǐ de shēngrì? / How many weeks ago was your birthday?)
What you need for the interactive Chinese calendar
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- Wood calendar or *calendar printable – free download in the following language versions:
- Laminating pouches
- Scissors or paper trimmer
- Mini Velcro dots
- Mini paper clip
- Silicone ziplock bag to store extra Chinese months, seasons, years labels
SC = Simplified Chinese; TC = traditional Chinese
How to set up the printable Chinese 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!
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