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Hands-On Crafts: Make a Magnetic Calendar
The new year is almost here, and for most people that means a new calendar. But instead of buying a 2008 calendar, you and your kids can follow these directions to make a perpetual calendar that can be used over and over again for years to come. The key to the calendar is a grid that can be used for any month in any year just by switching the magnetic month headings and moving the magnetic numbers. Because it lasts forever, and starts whenever you need it to,this special kid-made calendar is a perfect gift for any season or a great project to keep kids busy during their school break.

Ages: 5 to 12


Time: two to four hours


Skills Required: painting, drawing, writing and measuring


Materials: metal cookie sheet, acrylic paints, paintbrush, sponge (if desired), ruler, pencil, permanent ink markers, craft foam, scissors, craft glue and magnets (strips, sheets or disks are available at craft stores)


Directions:


1. Paint the cookie sheet with acrylic craft paint. Acrylics are thick, fast-drying paints that can stain clothes and furniture, so make sure your work area and clothing are protected before you begin. Use any color, design or pattern to paint the cookie sheet. A fun technique is to try painting with a sponge. You can sponge paint one color or layer several complimentary colors for an interesting look. Let the paint dry thoroughly.




2. Next, use a pencil to draw the calendar grid onto the cookie sheet. Your grid should be at least nine inches wide and have seven columns, one for each day of the week. The grid should also be at least 10 inches long and have seven rows one row for the day of the week headings and six rows for all the weeks in the month. (If the first day of the month is a Saturday and the month has 31 days, six weeks are possible.) Kids may need help measuring and drawing the calendar grid. Go over the pencil grid with permanent ink marker.


3. Decorate the area of the cookie sheet around the grid any way you wish. Designs and patterns can be added with markers, paint or even stickers.


4. Next, use the markers to write the headings for the days of the week in the seven boxes of the first row, starting with Sunday on the left and ending with Saturday.


5. Cut 31 three-quarter-inch squares from craft foam. Use a marker to write the numbers 1 to 31 on the squares. Glue a small magnet on the back of each square. Place the numbered squares on the cookie sheet starting with 1 under the day of the week that is the first of the month and going forward for as many days as are in the month.


6. Next, cut 12 two-inch-by-six-inch pieces of craft foam and use each of these pieces to write the name of a month, January to December. Decorate the month headings with seasonal pictures or stickers. Glue magnets to the back of the month headings.


7. Mark special occasions and holidays on the calendar with seasonal shapes cut from craft foam. Make a special marker for birthdays and use that marker in any month on a day that a family member or friend has a birthday. Make special shapes to use for the holidays your family celebrates.


For a complete list of all of Jill Jolton's Hands-On Crafts, click here.


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