one of the benefits and curses of homeschooling (combined with my husband being a shift w0rker) is that i never really ever know what day of the week/month it is. i’ve never thought of/acknowledged this as a problem before, but now that my kids are supposed to know this stuff, something had to be done.
there was no way i was going to buy a cheap-o bristol board one to tape to my wall, and i wasn’t going to spend $40+ on the “calendar systems” offered at educational stores. i knew i could do this one, i just needed to DO it.
- mod podge
- scissors for paper
- scissors that can cut felt.
- lots of felt (i bought a mix of normal and the pre-stiffened stuff)
- felt sticky-backed numbers
- foam project display board (20″x30″) from walmart
- big sheet of white “basic felt”
- and my glue gun came in handy too.
all of the above came from michael’s accompanied by coupon magic. except for the thing that says it’s from walmart, that was by the crayola markers. i feel the need to tell you where i found it because i spent a really super-long time getting lost looking for it– so unacquainted with that place!
step the first:
i sketched a very basic idea of what i wanted onto the back of the board, then took a picture of it so that i’d remember my initial plan. then i laid the foam board on top of the basic felt and cut it to size, leaving about 3 inches extra on each side.
after that i slathered mod podge (but any adhesive would work here) all over the surface of the foam board, and smoothed the foam out over top of the goo, making sure there were no wrinkles or bubbles.
i pulled out my glue gun and started at the corners, bringing them in at a 45˚ angle. i remember math. after that it was just a matter of glueing down the excess fabric to completely wrap the foam board in soft squishy felt.
applying some more of that math stuff, i started measuring out 2¼ x 2¼ squares from my main felt pieces. these are the number squares that make up the basic calendar, and i chose to use repositionable squares and use the white space as a frame because it just seemed easier both to build, and to customize for each month. also in the background of the above pic you can see the bare tree that i cut out. i just free-handed it, but i’m sure that you could also print off a picture from google images and just trace it onto your felt before cutting it out.
to make the digits on the number squares, i used pre-made felt stickers. they were kind of pricey even with the coupons, and since i’m el-cheapo, i refused to buy the necessary number of packages for all of those ones and twos that the calendar requires. so i ended up piecing together a bunch of twos from different letters (hook of the J plus the two bottom strokes of a ZED = number 2). to make the days of the week, i had neither the money nor the required letters nor the necessary space to use the same technique. so i used one on my favourite fonts (porky’s) to print off the days of the week and the names of the seasons. i cut them out and modpodged them to a piece of felt and then hoped it would turn out alright. when i found the dried fabric the next morning i was jubilant, and kind of wished i’d done the numbers on the squares the same way.
i stuck it all together.
it’s really just a matter of cutting and pasting to make stuff like the sun & clouds. i also made storm clouds, a lightning bolt, and several rain drops so that the kids can look out the window each morning and copy the weather onto the felt board, and there are different leaves to decorate the tree with for when the seasons roll over. as the seasons and days progress we move contrasting colour blocks to highlight the appropriate item. i free-handed the letters/numbers for the month and year, but again– you can find that stuff online and just trace it if you don’t feel super-confident in your scissor skills. i’m really just too impatient to bother with extra steps!
so there we have it: with one simple interactive display the kids can learn/review the days of the week, seasons, weather, months of the year, and most importantly– i know what day it is!