Counting Down to Christmas with Kids
Creating visual countdown crafts with kids
For many of us, it seems Christmas comes and goes before we have a chance to breathe. Yet for most children, the wait for Santa is agonizingly slow. Many repeatedly ask, “How many days to Santa comes?” Help your children with a visual advent calendar to help calm the anticipation of the day. Try these fun and simple calendars you can make with your children.
Advent Calendar Chain
A chain with homemade links is a fun way to countdown to Christmas, and it’s an easy yet meaningful calendar even small children can help make. Hang your paper chain on a wall or doorway where you’ll see it often, then remove a link each day until you’ve arrived at Christmas! To make your chain you’ll need:
- Construction paper
- Glue and/or stapler
- Crayons, markers, or whatever you’d like to write on and decorate the links
You can stick with the traditional red and green paper for Christmas, or make a colorful chain with blues, pinks and oranges if you want. Cut 24 strips from the paper, approximately 1-inch by 8-inch each. Preschoolers can help with the cutting if you draw the lines on the paper for them.
Once you’ve cut your strips, you can begin making your chain. If your kids are older than toddler age, you may enjoy making a more involved and creative chain. Try some of these ideas:
Staple or tape a piece of candy to some of the links. If you have more than one child, you’ll need to put more pieces on a link or be sure there are enough pieces throughout the 24 days that each child will get the same number.
Write thought-provoking questions on the links. Remove the day’s link at the start of dinner, and you’ll have something to discuss as a family during the meal. Some starter topics: What’s your favorite part of the Christmas season? Say something nice about the person next to you. Name one thing you are thankful for today. Which is the ornament on the tree you like best/least?
Throughout your chain, you may want to add links with activities on them that will encourage your child to do things in the spirit of Christmas. It can be as simple as “smile at a stranger today” or “give someone a compliment at school tomorrow” to “choose two toys to donate to children who don’t have many toys” or “collect food for a food pantry.”
Once your strips are finished, you’re ready to make the chain. Form a loop with one strip and glue or staple the ends together. Loop another strip through the first, creating another link in the chain. Continue this until all the links have been added.
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