March 29, 2013

Creating Calendar Cards

Almost every morning as we sit down to breakfast we discuss what day it is and what we have planned for that day.  We sing our songs and change our calendar accordingly (see my other post to read in further detail).  One thing Addi really likes to do is swap out all the numbers on the calendar at the end of the month.  One of the ways I try to teach her the difference between the months is by using different sets of numbers for the days.  One month we may use a set of numbers with a fun-looking font and the next month we may pick a set that corresponds with a particular holiday that will take place that month.  
I had a friend who visited about once a month and she eventually asked me,  "How many sets of calendar days do you have?"  I didn't really know how to answer her, because well...we have a lot; not because they are cheap (because if you buy them in the store they're not), but because they are easy and fun to make.  There are endless possibilities and you can get as creative as you want with them.  The process is simple and but there are two ways to begin.  

The first option, which is the easiest (if you can find the right product at the right price), is to find calendar cards.  Last fall, right before school started, I scoped out the Dollar Tree near my house.  Somewhere hidden within the piles of teacher supplies I found a pack that had not one, but TWO sets of calendar cards for $1.  They had several different packs too so I think I bought three different packs (each with two sets).  They are cute too.  Both of the above sets were included in one of these packs.  The problem with these sets is that they are cardboard and easily tear if not handled with care.  

The second option is to make your own set of numbers.  This is where you can get as creative as you want.  You can cut out a shape and write the numbers on the shape.   The set below is a set that I made for February.  They are simple hearts that I cut out and used number stencils on.  Easy peasy.
Another option when making your own is to pick out a pack of post-it notes that you can "dress up."  Each of these post-it note sets I got on clearance for $0.30 a pack.  There are so many varieties you could do just about anything.  If you wanted you could even use scrapbook paper that you really like.  Seriously, anything will work.  All you need to add are the numbers.  You can free hand it.  You can use stickers.  You can use stencils. Whatever you think looks best.

After getting them just the way you want them, pull out your laminator!  Let me reirriate  from a previous post that small at home laminators are not as expensive as you might think.  I was given one for my birthday last year.  The actual laminator was only $25.  It works great, is easy to use, and I use it quite frequently.  The laminator sheets can be bought cheap too if you shop around.

Anyway, back to the calendar cards, I can usually get between 6-9 numbers per laminator sheet meaning that at most I use 5-6 laminating sheets. This means that at most I would be spending about $1.50 on lamination.

Next, I buy a pack of velcro (not the kind that has adhesive on the back, but the kind that would be used if you were sewing it onto a product).  I bought two packs for $1 at Walmart.

All you have to do is cut the velcro into squares, pull out your hot glue gun, and place the squares exactly where you want them. 

I used the coarse side of the velcro for my calendar board so anytime I make any new number cards I have to make sure to sure the soft side of the velcro.   This is very important if you actually want your numbers to stick to the board.

One thing to remember is that if you pull the numbers off quickly the hot glue will not hold the velcro on as well as you might like.  Be gentle with it and, if it does pull apart you can fix it simply by pulling out your hot glue gun again.

All in all, you can make a set of numbers for as little as $3.  This is a great deal when you see that some sets at a teacher supple store run as steep as $15.

In addition, I wanted to show you some of the extras I got in my Dollar Tree packs.  All these special cards were included and I thought that was so cool.

Finally, I wanted to remind you that if you didn't want to write the numbers on the cards before you laminated them, you would use Expo markers to write on them afterwards.  Sometimes when we play counting games I'll use a set I have left blank and I'll write numbers on them as we go.

I hope you've been inspired to get creative and I would love to hear about some of your successes!


Jennifer Shelby said...

I love dressing up post-it notes myself! This might be due to a few boring jobs with a desk well-stocked with them and a tendency to doodle...

Our busy bag prize arrived in the mail today! We are really looking forward to learning so much with them - thanks again!

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