Thursday, March 5, 2015

DIY Toddler Felt Calendar

For a long time, I have wanted to make Lemon a felt calendar, but just never had the drive (or time) to really do it.  Now that she's a bit older, and is started to grasp "tomorrow" and "today," I thought that now was the perfect time to make something we could use, together.  She loves the "days of the week" song on one of her CDs, but doesn't fully understand what that means (she still sees letters, says "ABCs" and then starts to sing the ABC song).  Also, calendars are taught in school so I knew that if I made her one, she would get a jump on this necessary skill.  And, I wouldn't have to explain to her when Brittany is coming and when she's not, she would just know (and also know when we were home for breaks and summer too!).  I first saw my friend Julia make one for her kids here, and knew that when we were ready, I would make one for Lemon too!

I am a super organized person, we have a family calendar now and it was a lot to just get my husband to start adding his events and then looking at it when he had something he wanted to do.  So, having a calendar for Lemon, and all of her activities, just fit in with my organized brain and it was something I got really excited about doing, I just didn't know where to start.  I looked all over Pinterest for a felt calendar and found nothing I liked, most are Advent calendars or were just too simple (or too complicated) and just didn't fit our needs.  So, I started thinking of what I wanted mine to look like.

Thank goodness for Miranda, showing interest in making Jonah one too, because that is what really prompted me to finally do it!  I started by drawing out my design, and then deciding what I wanted to put on it, what was most important for Lemon to know, and find out herself while using the calendar.  This is how I decided on the number of pockets/dots and placement of felt pieces for the date/day of the week, holidays and weather.  I also knew I wanted to do just a weekly calendar, instead of monthly, because this would be enough for a toddler's mind to grasp, and she doesn't really need to know what she is doing beyond one week at a time.

Miranda and I then met at Michael's one night (after bedtime) and picked out some felt to start with.  They had a big 3x3 foot pack and then some smaller 1x1 foot pieces so we picked out a background color (the big pack) and then 3 different, smaller pieces for pockets/dots.  I went with a neutral color and then some girly accent colors.  (Of course I got excited and opened everything and started cutting before I could snap a pic!)

Later, I laid out my big piece of felt and decided how big I wanted to make my calendar.  I had originally intended to hang it on the back of our front door, at toddler level, but eventually found a wall to hang it on instead.  I guess I picked the width of mine based on the door size, and then created the pockets/dots to fit on the square I planned for the background of the calendar.

I started by cutting out all of the felt pieces and placing them where I wanted them.  Then, I had to cut out the dots (using a glass jar) and place those to make sure they were evenly spaced to accommodate 7 days (a week).  (TIP:  Start in the middle and work yourself out, don't glue until everything is where you want it.)  Then, I glued all of the felt in place with a hot glue gun.  I ended up folding down little flaps for the pockets too, just thinking that it would look nicer once glued on.

Once I had everything in place and glued, then I had to work on the months, days, numbers and pictures for the calendar.  I made a file on my computer, printed it and then had it laminated at school.  I kind of wish that the laminate was a bit sturdier (it's kind of flimsy) so if you are getting this done at a print shop, opt for a thicker laminate.  I cropped IG pictures for the pictures of events/places and thought it would be fun to have pictures of Lemon actually at each place, so she knew where she would be headed that day.  After cutting them all out I showed them to her and had her tell me where she was in each and she got it, so much more fun that just a picture of the zoo - her actually AT the zoo  (If you would like to use my days of the week, days of the month and numbers, go here for the document.)

After laminating (and realizing I forgot the weekends and October), I cut out each of the days, numbers and pictures and put a small strip of velcro on the back of them.  You can buy a roll of velcro at Michael's and you really only need the rough side, because it sticks really well to the felt (you don't have to put the soft side on the felt, the sticky doesn't actually stick as well as it does without it).  I also added three pockets to the back for extra numbers, extra pictures (of events) and the months, so that they weren't crowding our pockets on the front, making them easier for toddlers to pull things out of, or find the right number for the date.

Ian had a small, round dowel at home (for some random wood project), so I used that to hang my calendar.  I folded the back over, glued the edge and then inserted the dowel, tying some string to it, depending on the height I wanted my calendar to be.

Then, I went to Michael's and search for some holiday symbols, weather symbols and sticky letters for the days of the week.  They had a few options and I figured I would just buy the holidays as they come, and then add velcro to the back (saving money!).  (Scrapbook stickers work, just add velcro to the back on top of the sticker.)  The letters were just sticky letters that had a cute pattern and would show up well on the background color I chose.

After my calendar had all the parts and was complete, I showed it to Lemon.  I pointed to what today was, showed her tomorrow and then showed her what she was doing tomorrow and that Brittany was coming over.  She put on the month, date and holiday (shamrock) and then told me where to put what, saying what she'd like to do each day.  It is something fun for us to do together every night before bed.

If you decided to make something similar for your babe, tag me on Instagram so I can see!  This was super easy to make (but something I had put off making for so long!), and has saved me from explaining which days Lemon is going where, and when Brittany is coming over!  It melts my heart when she asks to go and look at it!  I love it!!  :)

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