When my daughter was 3 years old, I made a family calendar. Her dad and I had recently divorced and she needed a way to visually see that she was always going to see both parents, and how far away each visit was. It helped a lot! Now that she’s 7, we still use it to help her see when there are special events, school functions, extra curricular activities, or changes to the custody schedule.
I have the calendar up in a common, main traffic area of the house that we pass by all the time. Additionally, I only fill out 2 weeks so she’s not overwhelmed with too much information. Every once in awhile if there’s something further out that she’s excited about we’ll put it on the calendar so she can see how far away it is and stop asking me 🙂
To fill out the calendar you could just write things in, but the best part about our calendar is the magnets! When she was 3 she couldn’t read yet, so the pictures were super important, and having the magnets made it so easy to update the calendar without having to redraw all the time. I do write in special one time events with either pictures or words.
- A magnetic, dry erase calendar. Ours is 14″ x 14″. Some examples are:
- Round magnets roughly 11/16″ across like the Creative Hobbies 100-Piece Round Ceramic Disc Magnets, 11/16-Inch
- Fine point dry erase markers in fun colors like the Board Dudes SRX Magnetic Dry Erase Markers
- Something to hang the calendar to the wall if it doesn’t come with it’s own mounting solution.
- Plain computer paper
- Optional: computer, printer, image editing software (can be free – just need to crop, resize, etc)
- Mod Podge
Instructions to create the magnets:
Note: these instructions are for creating the images with a computer. However, if you don’t have access to a computer you can hand draw them on paper. Then start at step #7 below.
For image editing programs, I’m on a Mac and recommend iPhoto and Gimp.
- Find images: In order to get the images you can either hand draw them, or find images on a computer (search on the web!). For the Mom and Dad magnets I hand drew them, then scanned them into the computer. I’ve also considered using real photographs but worry they are so small it would be hard to see them. Simple images tend to do best.
- Clean up: Do this only if your image looks messy. Open your favorite image editing software and remove the bits you don’t like, edit as needed, etc. For my hand drawn image the scan added some messy bits to the blank areas. Since it was just black and white I increased the contrast on the image and it reduced the mess.
- Crop to square: Using your favorite image editing software, crop your image to a perfect square. Some images may not fit well in a square. In this case, you’ll first want to add more blank padding around the image so there’s more room to work. Or just find another image.
- Scale to size: Using your favorite image editing software, scale the image to the same size as your magnets diameter. Round down if you need to, it’s better to be a bit small than too large.
- Shape to circle (computer method): Some image editing software programs have the option to put a circle matte around your image. Sometimes this is called a vignette. Do this until the edge of the circle lines up with the edge of your image. If you don’t have software that does this, no worries, you can do it by hand in step #7.
- Print: Print as many copies of your image as you need. Make sure your scale is set to 100% so they don’t print bigger or smaller than your magnet!
- Shape to circle (by hand): If you weren’t able to use the computer to shape to a circle in step #5, you can do it by hand. Take one of your magnets and place it over your image. Trace around it.
- Cut: Cut each of your images out around the circle.
- Glue: Put a layer of mod podge on your magnets. I use a paint brush to easily apply it. Then put one of your image circles on the magnet and let it dry.
That’s it! Hang your calendar on the wall, write in dates and special events, add magnets, and show your family!
If you want more details on how to edit the images on the computer, just let me know in the comments! And share any cute magnet ideas you created!
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