Calendar Activities

Stage: 1
Article by NRICH team

Happy New Year!!

Don't get rid of your old calendars yet! You can get a lot more mathematical mileage out of them before they are thrown away. These activities, using cut up dates from the calendar, provide numbers to practise skills that may be in need of review after the holiday break.

Have children choose a page from an old calendar - it can be their birthday month or a month that has another special significance or one that represents a favourite time of the year to them.
Ask them to close their eyes and pick three numbers from the calendar.
Cut out the three numbers chosen.

  • Arrange the three groups of digits to make the greatest number possible.
  • Arrange the three groups of digits to make the least number possible.
  • Find the difference between the two answers.
  • Using the three chosen numbers again, multiply the two greatest of the three numbers and then subtract the lowest value number from the product.
  • Multiply the two numbers with the greatest and least value and then divide the product by the remaining number.
  • Multiply all three numbers together, but first estimate what the answer might be based on the previous calculations.
  • Find the average of the three numbers.


Have the children find another month from the calendar.

  • Do the same calculations.
  • Predict: are the results going to be the same, close or very different?
  • Was each person's hypothesis correct?
  • Can they explain why they predicted the way they did?


Using one set of numbers, write down what is notable about each number.

  • Is it odd or even, prime or composite, a multiple of a number, is it a factor, a square or triangular number?
  • What makes a number notable?


Encourage the children, individually or in groups, to try to write problems that they can pose to their classmates.