One of the things we love to do at my house is a Christmas Countdown Paper Chain to help countdown the days until Christmas. It’s a neat way to help young kids understand how many days are left until Christmas. We make it an activity chain by putting a “Christmas” activity on the inside of each link – such as have hot chocolate by the fire, bake cookies, sing a Christmas song, etc… The kids look forward each day to tearing off a link and seeing what we will be doing that day.
At my house, now that the kids are old enough, they make the chain. I am still the one who makes the numbered activity list on the computer. That way I make sure that the more time consuming activities fall on weekends.
This project is great because it’s more economical than the normal advent calendars, and the kids can participate in the making of it. However, what I love most about adding the activities to the links is that it helps us to be sure to do fun family activities even when things get really busy as they always tend to at this time of year.
- List of Activities – I like to number mine to correspond to the day so that the more involved activities can be scheduled to fall on a weekend. The kids put them in order based on my numbers
- Glue, scissors, pencil
- Cut strips of paper for the chain. We usually use the width of a ruler to measure the size, tracing with a pencil and then cut.
- Cut your list of activities into strips.
- Glue activity strips onto links.
- Start with the link for one end of the chain and glue it into a circle.
- Take the next link, put it through the middle of the first one, and glue it into a circle.
- Continue until the chain is complete
Then, just hang it up and tear off one link each day to countdown until Christmas. Enjoy the family activities!
- I like to number my activities as I type them onto the list so that activities that take more time (like baking cookies or watching a movie happen) will be on links for the weekend. It also gives the kids a challenge to make sure they have them in order.
- Get the kids to help suggest family activities that they would like add to the chain
- If you have a little one who is practicing counting, while putting the chain together, have him count while holding the link until it sticks.
- We usually use construction paper for our chain, but scrapbook paper can make a VERY cute chain.
- Suggestions for activities (we repeat favorites more than once)- dance to Christmas music, decorate, make ornaments, have hot chocolate by the fire, make a Christmas card for someone, watch a Christmas movie, play a board game, make a reindeer family (hand and foot reindeer), draw a Christmas picture, read a Christmas book, go around the neighborhood and look at Christmas lights, make cookies, have Christmas cookies and milk, read “The Night Before Christmas” or whatever else your family might enjoy.