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Kindergarten Activity: Holiday Countdown Chain at Circle Time For Christmas

By Sandy Fleming

Follow these instructions to take a common Christmas craft and add educational depth and value year round. A basic paper chain becomes a teaching tool to teach math skills, patience, and even comprehension!

Kindergarten Students Love to Count Down!

Make the most of holiday energy and excitement with this handy idea for early elementary, kindergarten or preschool classes.Whenever your group is anxiously awaiting an exciting event, make a Holiday Countdown Chain.To get started, cut paper strips one inch wide and eight to twelve inches long.You’ll need one strip for each day you are counting to make one chain.

Get colorful by choosing seasonally decorative hues (read and green for Christmas or pink, red, and white for Valentine’s Day, for example) or plan specially colored links for milestones, such as weekends or birthdays. Use smaller strips of paper if you want each child to have a personal chain, or try larger strips for a class project of impressive dimensions. You’ll also want glue, tape or staples to fasten each link.

Form the chain(s) by making paper loops from the strips. Connect the new loops to the chain by threading each new paper through the last circle, then fastening it closed. Put one link onto the chain for each day of your countdown. If you’d like to add additional depth to the project, write an activity idea on the inside of each strip of paper before it is fastened to the chain. When the links come off, make a point of completing the day’s activity.

Now, add a Countdown activity to your daily classroom routine as a part of opening, closing, calendar or circle time. It’s also a great math activity!

Each day, practice counting skills with the chain. Pull off a link and count the rest to see how much longer it will be until the Big Day. Count backwards, rocket-count-down style, or practice counting by twos. No matter how you choose to use it, your Countdown Chain will help students practice and nurture vital skills such as rote counting, one-to-one correspondence, skip counting and concepts of greater than and less than.

Enrich this activity by having students use a wall calendar to predict how many links the chain will have on a given day next week, or calculate what day the chain would need to have been started if there were thirty links instead of the number you used.

Your Countdown Chain will also help your students learn about the passage of time and even assist them with developing patience. It can minimize the inevitable “how many more days” questions, and it gives children a concrete way to quantify exactly how much longer they have to wait for that tantalizing upcoming holiday. Give it a try!