When my daughter 老大 (lǎodà / oldest child) was 3 years old, my sister made this free Chinese 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 our interactive perpetual Chinese calendar 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 her Chinese calendar printable in a quick minute!
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As usual, we are happy to share this free printable with you in Chinese and English!
This post was originally posted in June 2017 and has since been updated with calendar teaching tips and question prompts.
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
Important Calendar vocabulary in Chinese, Pinyin, and English:
- 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 in Chinese and English
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.
Since we generally follow the one-parent, one-language method, I talk to her about the time and date in Chinese, while my husband talks about it in English. However, I also talk to my daughter in English because it’s our family language.
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 老大 was able to count to 100 and familiar with our printable hundred chart, she was ready to learn calendar skills.
Remember: 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 in Chinese and English
By using this calendar printable on a daily basis, your child will learn calendar skills gradually.
Over time, your child will learn:
- Number of days in each month
- Months that fall during certain seasons
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
- 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 xīngqí jǐ? / What day is it today?)
- 昨天是星期几？/ 昨天是星期幾？ (Zuótiān shì xīngqí jǐ? / What day was it yesterday?)
- 明天是星期几？/ 明天是星期幾 ？(Míngtiān shì xīngqí 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 left of 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 xīngqíwǔ 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 xīngqí qián shì nǐ de shēngrì? / How many weeks ago was your birthday?)
What you need for the interactive Chinese calendar
Please review the Terms & Conditions before downloading any materials.
- Calendar printable (free download in simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, and English)
- Laminating pouches
- Scissors or paper trimmer
- Mini Velcro dots
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 Chinese calendars
- I taught my daughter the concepts of past, present, and future with our printable Chinese Calendar Wheels!
- Our Interactive Chinese Zodiac Wheel is a fun way to learn about the birth years that corresponds to each animal!
Wooden interactive perpetual Chinese 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!
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