This is such a nice project (and apparently a ‘very Dutch‘ thing), making a birthday calendar with kids, especially as you will keep the ‘final product’, the birthday calendar. In fact, it will actually be useful: you’ll never forget a birthday!
Think about each month
For each month, sit down with your child and discuss the season, special traditions that happen in that particular month or memories of previous years. Or are there special birthdays (the child himself, BFF, siblings, parents, grandparents). Prompt the child to think as well, let them make associations. For example, snow in January (depending where you live..), Easter in April, strawberries in June, Halloween in October, Christmas in December – you get the idea. A small session will go a long way and it will it will give give inspiration for the that month’s illustration.
You can assist the child on this project, depending on his/her ability. Young kids can just make the illustrations, whereas older kids can also make the lines (good practice to measure with rulers!).
Take this moment to teach your child about the months, and how they relate to the year, the seasons and the weeks. You’ll find a handy free printable year overview here, displaying winter, spring, summer, fall, all months and weeks in a single scheme.
It’s also a great project for the classroom: each pupil or student can add a small drawing to the month of his/her birthday, making it a shared artwork. When you arrange all sheets next to each other, you’ll have an overview of all the birthdays in class.
Never forget a birthday!
We have our birthday calendar pinned next to the fridge, so whenever I get some yoghurt my eyes spot upcoming birthdays of friends, family, relatives, and the friends of my kids. On time to send a card or an app.
“But I don’t need a birthday calendar..”
Yes you do. Well, perhaps you don’t NEED need one, in the way you need a good night’s rest or dark chocolate, but it certainly comes in handy.
Surely your iphone or facebook feed keeps you alert for birthdays, but usually you find out just a little too late.. Too late to send a card or too short notice to buy a present. And some people deliberately use fake birthdays on social media because of privacy concerns ( I know a few!). Why not simply ask them once and write it down? You won’t be the person sending birthday wishes on the wrong date!
Anyway, you’re already here, so I don’t need to convince you. Let’s just get started.
Tutorial for a DIY birthday calendar with kids
Below you’ll find an easy tutorial for making that DIY birthday calendar with kids, with step-by-step instructions. Perhaps you could even encourage your kids to make it themselves by following the instructions, depending on their reading and crafting abilities.
In this tutorial you’ll make a perpetual birthday calendar, that you can use it year after year!
What you’ll need
- 12 sheets of coloured paper (identical size, at least A5 or half-letter, in pretty colours)
- 12 small sheets of white paper for the artwork (roughly 1/3rd of the other paper sheets)
- glue or double-sided tape
- pencil, eraser
- hole punch (for paper)
- piece of ribbon
Step 1. Take 12 sheets of paper (any size, in pretty colours)
Take 12 pieces of coloured paper, in pretty designs. I suggest a minimal size of A5 (this is A4 halved) or letter size halved. You need enough space for the artwork, the title and 31 lines.
Step 2. Layout
Decide how big the artwork (the child’s drawing) should be. If you take a sheet of white paper that is roughly 1/3rd of the length (of the coloured paper), you will be fine. This is usually large enough for a drawing, while leaving enough space for the numbering of the days, and writing down names of the birthday boys and girls.
Tape or glue the white paper to the coloured paper (see figures for layout). This will be the space where the child will make his/her drawing.
Write the ‘title’: the name of the month on the sheet, above the artwork, So.. January, February, March, .. etc. If your child can write, this is an excellent opportunity to show off their handwriting skills!
Step 4. Make a grid
So – the hard part. No, just the most laborious part. But it will be over soon! We will make a table or ‘grid’ of 3×11 (c columns and 11 rows).
Use a ruler to measure the space you have saved for the numbers. You need 11 lines to write down the numbers (1 to 28-31, representing the day of the month).
Have a look at the empty space underneath the artwork (the ‘lines & numbers area’) and divide its length by 11 (or, if you’re cheating: divide by 10 and leave a little space for that 11th line, to write down day 31). For example, if you have a length of 12 cm, you can draw 10 rows that are 12 mm apart.
Draw those 11 lines using a pencil and ruler. Press softly – we’ll be erasing these later. (Daredevils, you can use a pen straight away!)
Step 5. Draw the lines
Start drawing the lines using a pen! Make each line a few centimeters long, so there’s enough space to write down a name (when actually using the birthday calendar, when finished).
Erase the pencil lines.
Step 6. Write down the numbers
Write down the numbers 1 to 28-31. These represent the days of the month. Make sure you use the correct number of days. Good exercise for the kids! Write down the numbers in the 3 columns:
column 1 from 1 to 10,
column 2 from 11 to 20,
column 3 from 21 to 28-31.
Explain the months and the number of days to kids kids. They will notice that not all months have and equal number of days (do they know the trick with the hands?), and that February in the odd one out. Oh, and those ‘odd’ years!
This is the best bit! Sit down with your kids and discuss the month that they’re going to illustrate. Ask them if they know of any traditions or happenings in that months, or if they have certain feelings. Perhaps they even know a few birthdays (of a sibling, a grandparent or a good friend)?
There’s no need to hurry the artwork. 12 drawings may seems quite overwhelming to a child. Just make 1 per day and your birthday calendar will be finished in 2 weeks. No rush – it will be on your fridge for years!
Step 6. Add a ribbon
Place all sheets on top of each other, in the correct order. Punch to holes at the top of the page and tie a ribbon through all pages. Fini!
Proud to have a useful piece of art
And the best thing is: the kids will be so proud that their artwork is actually being used! Imagine when a friend comes to play, your child enquires his/her birthday and writes the date on his/her own home made calendar!
And useful for you too!
The year, seasons, months and weeks
This may be a good time to have a look at the year and its seasons wit you child. Check out this post for a circular calendar that displays the year, seasons, months and weeks, and how these relate to each other.
More arts & crafts? Check out this section with plenty of ideas!
Love playing games? You’ll find screen-free pen and paper games here!