Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Countdown Chains

If you have a child then you have heard at least once "How many more days until Christmas?" and more than likely you hear this at least once PER DAY from Thanksgiving (maybe even Halloween) until it is finally Christmas Day.  To try and help ease these annoying questions we would like to suggest making a Countdown Chain.  The purpose of a countdown chain is to well, to count down. 
The beauty of it is you can make it at any point.  You can make it with 24 links and start on Dec 1 or you can make 1 with just 4 links and start Dec 20, there is no right or wrong time to start.
We also have discovered that there are many different ways of making a chain and we would like to share a few with you.

I have since discovered there are all kinds of fun things to do like chocolate kisses on cutouts of Christmas trees, cotton balls glued on 1 a day to fill in Santas beard, etc.  Kinda makes my chain seem lame in retrospect but o-well, its our tradition haha.  Next year we may try the chocolate one too.

What You Will Need:
2 pieces each of red and green construction paper + 1 more in either color for the display.
1 pair of scissors
1 glue stick
1 marker

Step 1: Prep Materials for Chain-
Take 2 pieces each of red and green construction paper (or whatever colors you would like to use).  Cut them into equalish strips.  I just stack all 4 together and cut in 8 strips.  Don't worry about how "nice" the strips look, I can't cut a straight line to save my life!

Step 2: Assemble Chain-
Once strips have been cut you can let your child glue them together.  You may show them how to do a few links first.  Take 1 strip and put a small amount of glue on 1 end, then firmly press the other end on to create a circle. 
Take a strip in the opposite color, thread it through the first.  Apply glue to 1 end and firmly pres together with the other end.  Repeat over and over, alternating colors until you have as many links as you need.  We made our chain yesterday, November 30, so we had 25 links all together.  You want 1 link for each night through Christmas Eve.  The last link should be pulled off on Christmas Eve before bedtime so that they know the next day is Christmas.
Once you have your chain completed take the extra piece of construction paper and write (or let your child write) something along the lines of "Days Until Christmas" or "Christmas Countdown" maybe even "The -Insert Your  Family Name Here-Christmas Countdown" whatever you want to call it.

This is a very simple, fun and easy Christmas project you can do with your child.  Based on your child's age you may have to help some with cutting or writing but if they are old enough you may be able to sit them down at the table and let them do it all.  We have been making these since our oldest was 2, originally all he could do was watch and maybe help apply the glue.  Now, at 4,  he can glue and assemble the chain, next yr he will be able to do it all himself.
To make it more fun you can also let your child(ren) color and decorate the paper before cutting into strips.  I thought about letting my oldest 2 use glue sticks to "color" on the paper and then apply glitter so the strips were sparkly.  Then I decided I didn't want glitter all over my house haha, maybe next year.

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