Handprint calendars are a simple but cherished gift from little ones. Here is some help for how to make a handprint calendar.
This year, I created what may be my most favorite parent gift – ever! I’ve been teaching for 10 years now so that is 10 years worth of Christmas gifts. I always try to come up with cute and memorable ideas for my students to make their parents.
Many years, we’ve made ornaments. My preschoolers have made puzzle piece wreath ornaments and Christmas tree noodle ornaments and popsicle stick tree ornaments. When I taught third and fourth grade, we painted canvases and made glass ball ornaments. Still, of all the gifts we’ve made parents – this one has been my favorite. This year, we made a handprint calendar.
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I have long been in love with handprint calendars! I was so glad we finally made them. I put my own spin on it and learned a lot in the process. I thought I’d share my ideas (and experiences) so all the other preschool teachers – and parents – can easily create this priceless gift and keepsake.
Calendar Supplies Needed:
How to Make a Handprint Calendar:
- Copy the calendar onto white cardstock.
- Choose what pictures you are going to stamp for each month.
- Paint hands and stamp pictures on the calendar.
- Repeat for all twelve months.
- Let pages dry and bind the calendars together.
More Details and Helpful Advice:
I used the calendars from Life…Your Way because the simplicity appealed to me. The cover was one that I created quickly on Word.
If you are planning to make a handprint calendar, please take my advice and start well ahead of time! If you are doing this at school, start sometime in early November. If you are doing it at home, still give yourself plenty of time to get all the pages stamped. This project will take several days to create.
The main trick with this calendar is to make sure you are stamping on the back of the correct month. To help you out, here is a cheat sheet. The front cover has January’s picture on the back. January’s calendar has February’s picture, February has March’s picture, March has April’s picture, April has May’s picture, May has June’s picture, June has July’s picture, July has August’s picture, August has September’s picture, September has October’s picture, October has November’s picture, and November has December’s picture. You’re working a month ahead but it helped me to write it out like this.
I also wrote what picture was getting stamped on each page and the colors I needed to help myself stay organized.
Do make sure that you flip the page correctly before you stamp hands so the picture is not upside down! Look at the calendar page quickly and pretend you are turning the page before you put painted hands down.
To keep the papers organized, after I stamped a child’s hands, I wrote their name on a mini post-it note and stuck it on the page. When the pictures were dry, I stored them in my file cabinet. I had a file for each child which kept everything organized until we were done with all the months of the year.
If you don’t have access to a binding machine (which I’m amazed aren’t more expensive then they are), take your finished calendar to Office Depot to have them bind it for you.
Handprint Calendar Picture Ideas:
Now comes the fun part – painting preschool hands! I looked at so many different ideas but chose the ones that appealed most to me. You can do the same! I had two requirements for the pictures we created.
- I wanted them to be simple enough that the parents would recognize them.
- I wanted them to all be made with their hands or fingers. We drew on very few extra touches, as you will see below.
Feel free to adapt as you like, but here are the handprint picture ideas I used.
For January, we made a blue snowflake. I just used the fingers. On some, I painted the palm and some I didn’t. Both of the snowflakes turned out cute. February was a classic and simple red heart.
For March, we painted a green shamrock. I only painted the fingers for the shamrock and we used the thumb to draw our stem. April was a bit more complicated for the April showers. We used our hands to paint the top part of the umbrella. We used a thumb to draw the brown handle and fingers to add the blue raindrops.
April showers bring May flowers so we mixed paint and painted two flowers for May. June was a rainbow fish. This one was a bit more complicated but the kids loved watching me paint the stripes.
July was a flag. The white was a bit hard to see, but you get the point. We also added silver and gold stars to the blue when the paint dried. August was a bright sunshine.
To finish out the year, here is what we stamped. My favorite month of all was September. Since school starts in September, we made the Very Hungry Caterpillar. I started by painting one palm red with the two middle fingers brown. After we stamped that, I flipped the calendar around and painted the other palm green with all fingers brown for the body and legs. I found that flipping the calendar around made the children less confused about what direction we were stamping. Then, they used a brown finger to draw a face. Isn’t he cute?
For October, we stamped pumpkins using our palm. The green stems we added with our thumbs. November was the classic handprint turkey.
Finally, December ended with a Christmas tree. We were going to make a wreath but I quickly realized our hands were too big already to fit an entire wreath on the page! I actually like the Christmas tree better so it was a good switch. We used one green hand to make the tree, and used our brown thumb to add the stem and a yellow fingerprint dot for the star.
There you have it! Those are our adorable handprint calendars. It is a priceless keepsake project that takes time but not a lot of expense.
I hope your preschoolers – and their parents – will love this gift just as much we we did!
Have you ever done a handprint calendar? What pictures did you use? If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll be happy to help!