By: Kristen Antosh, Blogger at Momgineering the Future

We’ve finished ringing in the New Year, we’ve changed out our calendars and we’ve added all of our family activities to it. But have you ever considered using your calendar as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning tool? A calendar is a great tool to practice early counting skills and introduce mathematical and science vocabulary and concepts using simple, real-world examples.


Read on for fun-yet-effective ideas!

Easy Early Counting Exercises

When a young child is first learning numbers and counting, they are actually grasping several different concepts, such as:

  • Reciting the number sequence (i.e. 1-2-3-etc.)

  • Counting one object in a set one time

  • Identifying the number of elements in a set (i.e. they have 2 stacks of M&Ms. One set has 2 red M&Ms and the other set has 3 blue M&Ms.)

  • Recognizing the number symbol and its meaning (also known as number recognition) 

Each step takes time for a young child to learn and understand before they can move onto more progressive counting, like skip counting—counting by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, etc.

How can you help them progress?

Below are five simple ideas to help your child practice early counting skills with your home calendar!

  1. Mark special events, activities and appointments on the calendar and practice counting the number of days, weeks or months until the event or activity. 

  2. Count the number of months in a year, weeks in a month, weeks in a year, and days in the month, week and year. For example, ask “How many Thursdays are in June?” or “How many months start with the letter ‘J’?”

  3. Determine what day of the week something occurs, such as “Grandma’s birthday will be 4 weeks from today. What day is Grandma’s birthday on?” Then help your child count the number of weeks to find the date.  

  4. Allow your child to cross off the days that have passed on the calendar. Circle the number for the current day and say the number together.  

  5. Try to provide additional opportunities throughout the day to find the number you circled on the calendar and recite it together. For example, on the 3rd day of the month, read the story “The Three Little Pigs” together. On day 12, count the number of eggs in a dozen-egg carton.

Sequencing and Vocabulary Drills for Math and Science

In addition to counting, using your calendar to incorporate vocabulary related to sequencing and science can help your child to grasp both math and science concepts faster. Use daily topics like the weather and lunar phases to help your child get engaged!

In need of examples?

Try these fun family calendar ideas:

  1. Become a Meteorologist

    1. Record the morning, afternoon and evening temperatures with your child. Together, work through some simple math to determine how much the temperature has changed throughout the day.  

    2. Have your child note the weather outside each day with stickers on the calendar, or by drawing a picture.

    3. Talk about which season a particular holiday or activity occurs and what kinds of clothes that you wear during that time to highlight changing seasons.

    4. When using the calendar, use sequencing words like today, yesterday, tomorrow, next week, last month, next month, before/after, earlier/later, etc. For example, ask “Next week you will go to the doctor for your appointment. What week is that on the calendar?” By expanding your child’s vocabulary in this way, you can assist them with word problems on future math tests.

    5. Introduce words like ‘integer’ to start building your child's mathematical vocabulary. An integer is any whole number, which would be every numbered day in a month—a simple concept to explain and grasp with your calendar as a visual example.

    6. Study like an Astrologist

      1. Track the lunar phases for the month.  Look at the moon each night, and draw what the moon looks like.

Add STEM Learning to your Family Calendar

If you don’t already have a family calendar, they can be found relatively inexpensive at many stores—and your child will love to help by selecting their own! Monthly calendars can also be found online and easily printed.

Regardless of the calendar you work with, using the above ideas to incorporate STEM learning can help give your child the boost they need to excel in their education for years to come.

Yet the most important aspect of these activities is to make sure your child is having fun!

When working on these concepts, keep in mind that every child develops and grows at a different pace. If your child doesn’t seem interested now, don’t worry. Take a break and try again another time. There are endless opportunities to engage your child in real-world STEM learning!

Are you interested in more fun STEM activities for children? Follow me on my blog and social media pages (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter)!