My children count down the year by big events. They know that Thanksgiving is after Halloween, and after Thanksgiving is Christmas. They also know that if they ask when Christmas is coming (back in September), I give them the run through I just gave you! But now Christmas is here and they are so excited. They are getting the idea of when big events come, but they still do not have a complete grasp on the concept of ”in three weeks” or “in 14 days”, etc. In fact, my five-year-old son woke up just the other day and, before opening his eyes, asked me, “Mom, is it Christmas morning?” I had to laugh when I told him it was not even December, yet!
I am betting I am not the only one with kiddos excited for Christmas! One way I have discovered to help alleviate the “How much longer?” questions is to create a countdown until Christmas. I also find it is a great way to practice counting and number recognition and build some fun memories all at the same time.
I try to start this on December 1st, but sometimes it is a little later. Even if it is the 15th of December by the time you are reading this, just start it today. It is super easy to put together, and your children will love it!
Create a list of fun activities to do together. Some ideas are to
- Watch a Christmas movie
- Sing Carols to neighbors
- Bake a treat and share with some friends
- Leave an anonymous gift at someone’s door and run
- Take a drive at night to look at the Christmas lights
- Drink hot chocolate
- Read a Christmas story
- Attend a concert
- Make a snowman as a family
And the list could go on and on! I like to ask each of my children to give me five things they would like to do. This helps transfer their anticipation for The Big Day to the daily activities instead.
Decide on what your Countdown will look like. You can do a paper chain with an activity written on the inside of every link and a number on the outside. Or write your activity for each day on a small piece of paper and wrap each up with a treat or surprise.
Our first countdown was a couple chocolates for each family member wrapped up in tinfoil to create these little balls. We kept them in a bowl on the kitchen table.
Last year we made little bags with date tags and stuffed each bag with a handful of our favorite candies and our activity for the day. We hung these on the wall in the shape of a tree.
Create your Countdown and start using it right away. Also, make sure your children are part of the creation process so that they feel like they have some ownership in counting down every day. For example, even though they may be too young to write all by themselves, it doesn’t stop them from trying. Sometimes it is just a picture.
Here are a couple more suggestions that may come in handy:
- You can leave the activities up for chance or you can schedule them based on your schedule. If you write them down you will know what is coming and will be prepared with the right supplies.
- It’s okay to do an activity more than once. I sometimes find it hard to think of 24 things to do.
However you decide to make your Countdown, make sure it is right for you and that your family is enjoying the experience!
What do you think your favorite or your family’s favorite Countdown activity would be?