Summer Diary

When my kids had their summer break, my son kept asking and trying to make sense of how long the break would be. He’s in a phase right now of intense interest in lots of mathematical foundational concepts, including both “time” and “counting beyond 20”, so he was asking questions over and over again as he tried to wrap his head around it.

In addition to answering questions I wanted to try to make him something he could visually reference. I didn’t feel like a standard calendar would be particularly meaningful to him in the way that he thinks. If I were just trying to teach him about societal calendars, maybe that would be helpful, but that wasn’t what I was doing. I was trying to join him in his concept of the world that he already had.

ID: The image shows a whiteboard with lots of empty boxes in a 7×7 grid representing seven weeks of time. The first week is filled in with activities — things like “did gymnastics with Dad”, “ate donuts at park”, and “fed geese” with little doodles next to each of them. /ID

I used Sharpies on a dry erase board so that the drawing I made would stay but could be erased later by coloring over it with a dry erase marker and then wiping it off. I knew he has a partial understanding of the days of the week, or at least the things that we do on a weekly basis, so I did make rows of seven boxes, but I made it so that the top of the visual represented the first week of summer and the bottom of the visual represented the week on which he would return to school, even though this spanned 2 months’ time. I also spaced out the weeks from one another so they were more visually distinguishable and drew a line with arrows going from the end of each week to the beginning of the next. I would trace the line with my finger and show it going from Saturday around to Sunday each time we talked about it.

It started out fully blank and then every day I drew something that we did that day. (Well, that was the ideal. In actuality I drew stuff in every few days…I did it more often when the kids were more interested and let it slide when they weren’t.) (If you look really closely, two of the days say, “idk something”, and “mom dropped the ball here” when I literally couldn’t remember anything we had done those days. 😂)

The kids enjoyed looking through it like a small diary of all the things we did over the summer and could easily visually see how many more days were left until the end.

ID: The image shows the same whiteboard, but now the whole entire thing is filled up, all six weeks of summer leading up to the last day filled in which says “Reception & Year 1”, indicating the grades my kids are going to in school! Many of the items are things like, “Found snails,” “Made cupcakes with Dad”, “rode the red car at the park,” “went to the cinema,” “playgroup,” “market”, “dance party,” etc — just little details of our lives with little doodles of each one. As an additional note, many of the items on the calendar are blurred out, obscured, or changed with brackets to indicate what used to be there. I did this whenever there was a friend’s name or a specific name of a local landmark. End description.