We changed the clocks on Saturday night and now it’s officially British Summer Time. It will be Easter next weekend, and that must mean it’s spring. Yet I had my winter coat on today!…
Time concepts are very difficult for many children to grasp, especially children with language difficulties. The vocabulary for the seasons and the names and sequence of the months of the year are really tricky to remember and for many children the idea of what the words season, month, week etc. really mean can be even more problematic. For many children, understanding how long a day is can be hard, and having a concept of these longer stretches of time can be a challenge! So how can we teach children about months and seasons? Here are a few ideas:-
- Talk about seasons and months in day to day life. At the moment, talk about signs of spring – flowers, leaves on trees, blossom, baby animals. Talk about different special days and which season they are in (Christmas is in winter, Easter is in spring etc). You can also talk about things like when we have a long holiday from school, what season different family member’s birthdays are in etc.
- Sort the months into different seasons. I found a great free pack of activities for this here.
- Talk about the weather and how this relates to the seasons too. However, do be cautious with this, as we all know how unpredictable the weather can be. (Let’s face it, if you’re in Britain probably all 4 seasons will be cloudy and rainy!) However, you have a higher chance of snow in January and a higher chance of sun in August, so this can be useful to an extent! I found a lovely free matching game online where you can match clothes to different weathers and different seasons. You can find that here. Montessori have other nice resources for teaching seasons as well here.
- Calendars can be great for teaching what a month is. Advent calendars are brilliant as they have the added bonus of chocolate to enhance learning!! It’s a while til Christmas at the moment though, so any calendar will be fine. Get the child to draw an appropriate picture for each month, and draw or write something each day in the square for that day. At the end of the month they can look back and see all the things they did that month, then turn the page over to the next month.
- The sequence of the months is really something you just have to learn by rote. Keep repeating them. If the child is able to read, use the written words to start with and gradually remove them. Often I work towards just having the initial letter of each month written down and then gradually take them away – every other month with blank spaces for the missing months, then every third month etc. Keep revisiting it.
- Many children have difficulty with the idea that months (and seasons and days of the week) are cyclical. When they get to the end of the list they don’t know what comes next and get confused by the idea that you start again. Try cutting out a big circle. Arrange the months around the circle like a clock so that they can see the pattern of the months through the year. You can also split the circle into quarters to show them the 4 seasons.
What other ideas have you used to help teach children about months and seasons?