Does your family keep a calendar posted in the house? How do you know when to go to soccer practice or piano lessons? Most families look at a calendar every day. Calendars keep us organized. Anciently, the first calendars were developed to track the seasons and farming schedules. Some calendars recorded historic or religious events. The Mayans made a complex calendar spanning thousands of years. Read on to learn all about calendars.
Fun Facts about Ancient and Modern Calendars for Kids
- The Babylonians developed a calendar with 364 days. They added eleven extra days at the end of each year.
- Julius Caesar asked the astronomer Sosigenes to create a calendar. The resulting calendar had 365 days and each month had 30 to 31 days. Our modern calendar is based on this early version.
- The Julian calendar included a leap year every fourth year. This simple error caused the calendar to skip ahead of the actual solar calendar. In 1582, Pope Gregory VIII fixed the calendar. We still add leap years every fourth year, except during century years not evenly divisible by the number four. The Gregorian calendar is used throughout the world today and is very accurate.
- The Chinese calendar divides the year into 365 days. The years are also grouped into twelve year cycles. Each year is given the name of an animal.
- The Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar, consisting of 29 to 30 days in each month. No extra days are added and the calendar doesn’t follow the solar schedule.
- The names for the days of the week come from the Saxons. The Saxons named the days of the week after their gods. Sunday was “Sun’s Day.” Monday was named for the moon. Tuesday was “Tiw’s Day,” and Wednesday was “Woden’s Day.” Thursday was named for the god, Thor, while Friday was “Frigg’s Day.” Saturday was named for the god, Saturn.
Ancient and Modern Calendars Vocabulary
- Complex: intricate, detailed
- Span: cross
- Lunar calendar: calendar based on the cycles of the moon
All about Ancient and Modern Calendars Video for Kids
Check out this cool video all about ancient and modern calendars for kids:
An animated inforgraphic about the history of the modern calendar.
Ancient and Modern Calendars Q&A
Question: What kinds of calendars do most people use?
Answer: Calendars come in many forms. Some people post paper calendars on walls or a bulletin board. Other calendars are made to lay flat on a desk. Calendar books and organizers fit neatly in a backpack. One of the most convenient types of calendars, though, is a digital calendar, available on a computer, tablet or phone.
Question: Can you track time without a calendar?
Answer: You can’t track the exact date without some type of calendar device, but you can get a pretty good idea of the month simply by paying attention to changes in the seasons. This is especially true if you live in a northern climate that has four distinct seasons. Start paying attention to the weather in your area every month. What birds and animals are active? What are they doing? Where does the Sun rise and set in the sky? All these things give clues to the time of year.
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