We do not speak a lot of Mandarin at home, so my kids have very little exposure to telling days and time in Chinese, except when they learn it in school. For #3, who does not attend a preschool, I created a kind of ” Chinese calendar” for him to practise telling days and dates in Chinese. I put it on our “school wall” and every day, he is supposed to work out the date for the day. I find that kids who do not come from Mandarin speaking families tend to have issues with “today”, “yesterday”, “tomorrow”, “the day before”, and “the day after”, especially those beyond “today” and “tomorrow’. So this calendar is created to specifically for #3 to practise using these terms. Apart from learning the terms for days, I have also included the common terms for weather, e.g. “Sunny Day”, “Cloudy Day” and “Rainy Day”.
The catch to this calendar is that the parent should take out all the Day Cards for “today”, “yesterday”, “tomorrow”, “the day before” and “the day after”, and ask the child to place them in the correct place. Otherwise, the kid will easily learn to just shift all the cards by one square every day. The tricky part is at the weekend when the positions of the Day Cards are a bit jumbled. The kid should also learn to read the words, which should not be a big problem if the child is doing the Siwukuaidu 四五快读 series.
I did not put Sunday as the first day of the week because in Chinese, Monday is 星期一, which is like saying “Day 1”. So I feel that it is clearer if it is the first day of the week.
At the bottom of the Calendar Table, there is a sentence “今天是 [ ] 月 [ ] 日。” The child should stick the correct numbers for the month and day in the sentence and practise saying the sentence every day.
This is actually a “Day Calendar” as I did not include months and years in it, except for the Date part. I may create an add-on later on, when he has mastered the ‘days’.
For additional practice, for every piece of work done, e.g. worksheet or writing practice (习字), get the child to write the date (if he can write), or say the date out and you write it down for him.
Print out the calendar on thick paper. Laminate. Cut out the individual words and numbers for the days and dates. I simply use BluTac to attach the Day Cards, Weather Cards and Date Cards to the Calendar. It is the cheapest option compared to things like 3M temporary wall sticker or velcro dots.
I created 3 different designs so that I won’t offend the boys nor the girls. 🙂 And in view of the latest Panda craze due to the arrival of Kai Kai and Jia Jia, I created a Panda design for the young panda fans too. Apart from the colour and the picture, the calendars are exactly the same.
1. Flower (Pink)
2. Train (Blue)
3. Panda (Green)