Circa circular calendar is a rotating wooden learning toy that aims to teach children all about the annual cycle of the calendar, helping them learn about time awareness using fun and engaging teaching methods.
The toy consists of three rotating wooden discs that stack one on top of the other, resting on a base stand. The discs are brightly coloured and feature moveable markers so that a child can select the appropriate date, day of the week and month of the year. A rectangular dial sits on the top showing the year itself.
When the calendar is assembled the bottom disc displays the date, the middle disc shows the months of the year with a design depicting the four seasons, and the top disc shows the days of the week. Children rotate the discs to find the correct date, day and month, and select them by moving the markers around the calendar so that the date is clearly displayed. There are poems imprinted on the undersides of the top two wooden discs, one focusing on the days of the week and the other on the months of the year.
This product also comes with a set of vinyl activity stickers that can be used as a teaching aid, for example to mark a birthday month, or to help count the days of the week or the months of the year. They can also be used to mark a regular event taking place on a specific day, such as the days that a child goes to nursery or when parents go to work. Also included is a user guide with instructions and ideas to help parents and carers, for example by emphasising the difference between weekdays and weekends and learning how many weeks in a month.
I tried the Circa calendar with my two children, Amalia aged six and Luca, who is 21 months. Amalia is now in Year One, so she already has an understanding of the cycle of the calendar, and she enjoys setting the right date every day and showing it to her baby brother. The poems are also a very useful tool for children who are learning to read. Luca loves stacking the toy and he does seem to identify with moving the markers each day.
Overall, this is an excellent quality educational toy with a lot of play value. The aspect that I find most appealing is the way that Circa explores the calendar as an annual cycle. Although we have used calendars before, this is not something that we have really thought about. The bright colours, stickers and stacking function also make it suitable for a younger child who is beginning to get to grips with the changing of the seasons. My children are of very different ages and they have both found this toy to be fun, educational and engaging. As well as being an effective educational tool, the calendar has the appearance of a high-end wooden toy, and looks great on the playroom shelf when it is not in use. Because of the simple rotating function I have also used it to encourage my daughter to teach her younger brother about the seasons and the months of the year, which they both seem to enjoy.
I would recommend the Circa calendar to any family, and it would also make a fabulous and unusual gift for an occasion such as a naming ceremony. The only suggestion that I would make to take the product forward would be to offer the option of personalising it with the names and even the birthdays of the recipient children, to make it truly their own.
Circa – the Circular Calendar is available to Essex Mums at the special price of £29.95 with the code ESXMUM10