PBS Parents Back to School Childhood Timeline Back to School Project

This week, my two daughters did what millions of children have already done, are doing right this very moment, or will do in the near future: begin a brand new school year armed with dozens of sharpened #2 pencils, more glue sticks than any one child could ever possibly use, a spiffy new backpack with still-functioning zippers, and a reusable lunch bag that has not yet had sticky mandarin orange juice spilled inside.

One way to mark the passing of time throughout your child’s life is to help them start, and then continue through the years, a Childhood Timeline. The dawn of another school year, an annual marker of childhood transition, is a wonderfully sensible moment to begin this kind of personal history timeline project.

This simple, linear childhood timeline project will help kids remember some of the highlights of their young lives — the arrival of new siblings, the roller coaster at that amazing amusement park, their first concert, the sting of a jellyfish (okay, maybe that memory shouldn’t be cataloged) — while providing the nostalgic adults in their life something new to get misty-eyed over.

What You’ll Need

  • poster board
  • markers, pencils, crayons
  • ruler
  • tape or glue
  • photos, scrapbook embellishments, magazine cutouts (optional)
PBS Parents Back to School Childhood Timeline Back to School Project

How to Start A Childhood Timeline

  1. Decide when and where to start. I suggest going all the way back to the beginning, with the birth of your little bundle of joy on the far left of the poster board. Tape or glue a photo there of him or her wrapped up snug and then extend the timeline out to the right in a perfectly straight line with the help of a ruler.
  2. Now, make as many or as few dots on the timeline as your child wishes. Ask what they remember from their past. Was there a moonbounce at their 2nd birthday party? Did they love it? If so, find clip art of a bounce castle online or in a magazine and affix it to the poster board. Did your family become members of the local zoo when your little boy was 4? Find a photo from those days or a picture of his favorite zoo animal and fill in the timeline accordingly. Does your kiddo recall that time you and she volunteered at the shelter and helped serve Thanksgiving dinner? How about the first time she saw her favorite musician in concert? Those moments deserve dots on the timeline too!
  3. Include cute written facts along the way, as space permits, like the name of their most prized stuffed animal from each year, favorite books, and best vacation memories.
  4. Finally, hang up your child’s Childhood Timeline in an highly visible place so those memories never fade and new momentous occasion dots can easily be added!
PBS Parents Back to School Childhood Timeline Back to School Project

One More Childhood Timeline Idea

Consider allowing your child to begin work on a new childhood timeline project each and every calendar year instead of a single ongoing one from their birth. This way, your child will have lots more space for dots marking all the special moments from their year and then you can file each yearly timeline poster board away with your photo albums and other keepsakes.

PBS Parents Back to School Childhood Timeline Back to School Project

More Learning Adventures

About Jeff Bogle

Jeff Bogle

Jeff Bogle is an at-home dad who writes humorously about parenting and All Things Childhood on his site Out With The Kids. He is married to an adorable redheaded gal and has two lovely little ladies 12 and under who provide him with countless hours of humorous in-home entertainment, and who get to hear, see, and play with more cool stuff than you can possibly imagine.

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  • Zahara Zucha

    I like second grade math. I also like eighth grade math. My wolf cut-out likes Kindergarten math. He also likes first grade math. My mouse/elephant cut-out likes preschool math. She also likes kindergarten math. I am a twenty-six-year-old woman. My older sister is a twenty-eight-year-old woman. My zebra cut-out likes addition and subtraction. My zebra cut-out is seven months old. My mouse/elephant cut-out is three days old. I am going to be a phonics teacher. My mouse/elephant cut-out likes first grade math.

  • http://www.8bitdad.com Zach Rosenberg

    Really cool idea. Maybe even get a sketchbook and let the timeline go from page to page, with however many days on each page. That way it keeps it all together and has a cover for the kid to decorate too. Also, it’ll fit next to the photo albums on the shelf.