Countdown

5 Dec

Lampoon CarIt’s the holiday equivalent to the car chorus, “Are we there yet?”

Is it [insert special occasion] yet?

Let’s face it. Kids have a different sense of time than us, and understandably so. Think about how long one month is as a percentage of their entire existence, compared to ours as adults. Now perhaps you can see why it seems to stretch before them like infinity?

We solved this issue with our 3 year old by revisiting one of my favorite traditions growing up: the countdown paper chain.

You can use it for more than just a countdown to Christmas, too. Use it for any holiday, birthday, trip, upcoming visitors, or other upcoming occasion.

Best of all, it doubles as a fun craft project for those “I don’t want to play with any of my toys” bouts of boredom.

Paper Chain Supplies

What you’ll need …

Paper
I use construction paper, but you could any craft, regular, or recycled paper.

Scissors
If your kid can follow a fairly straight line, they could help with this, too. In which case, you might want kids’ scissors.

Writing Utensils
You can use anything from crayons to markers to a simple pencil or pen.

Glue
You’ll need something to attach the ends of each paper strip together, to form a link. Other ideas: stapler, glue dots, rubber cement.

Miscellaneous Craft Supplies (Optional)
Embellish with anything you have on hand: stickers, glitter, bits of wrapping paper, pom poms, etc.

Countdown

What you’ll do …

  1. Figure out how many strips you’ll need for each day from now until the event (including the day of the event).
  2. Position paper vertically and keep folding the paper in half until you have the desired width for the links of your chain.
  3. Cut along those folded lines.
  4. Do steps 2 and 3 until you have the amount of links determined in step 1.
  5. Write a date in the middle of each one, starting with the current day and working up to the day of the event. Feel free to note other important occurrences on their specific chain links, too, such birthdays, appointments, flights, vacation days, or play dates.
  6. Decorate your links however you’d like, leaving an inch or so on either end for gluing.
  7. Find the paper strip with today’s date and glue its ends together to form a circle. This is your first link.
  8. Find the paper strip with the next day’s date, loop it through the previous link, and glue the second strip’s ends together to form another link.
  9. Repeat, in order, until you get to the final date.
  10. Hang it somewhere the kids can reach it and look at it, with today’s date at the bottom. (You’ll probably need to move it down over time.)
  11. Take one off each day. We like to do ours at the end of the day. It makes a nice incentive for completing the bedtime routine.

Now when they ask, “Is it XYZ yet?” you can simply point to the chain.

What were some of your favorite holiday traditions growing up? Do you do them with your kids now?

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One Response to “Countdown”

  1. Cathy December 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    I still remember Angela, Robin, and Beth kneeling and saying a prayer before they took off each link. When you were older, we even added a good deed that you were to somehow work into your day. Example: cheer up someone having a bad day, pick up your toys without being asked, play a game with your sister, etc. Maybe adults could use a countdown chain as well!

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