Countdown to the Big Day!

by Judy Mullican

Are you and your children looking forward to a big event? Whether you are looking forward to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, a birthday, or a visit from Grandma, here’s a fun way to build anticipation and help young children keep track of when the event will arrive. This can work at home or in a child care setting.

Cut strips of construction paper in festive colors. Each strip should be about 1″ x 6″. You will need one strip for each day that takes place before the big event and one for the day of the event. On each strip, write a fun activity to do together. The activity can be related to the upcoming day or just something fun to do. Here are 30 ideas to choose from, but use what you know about the children to personalize the activities:

  1. Jump as far as you can and mark the spot where you land. Jump again and try to go past the mark.
  2. Play a board game.countdown 3
  3. Give hugs to at least three different people.
  4. Dance to a favorite song.
  5. Find five different ways to play with a cardboard tube.
  6. Make a card and give it to someone you love
  7. Find seven things that are green.
  8. Use scraps of gift wrapping paper to make a collage.
  9. Make a list of your favorite things to do. Choose at least one to do today.
  10. Find ten different ways to use a cardboard box.
  11. Walk barefoot on bubble wrap.
  12. Find twelve toys that will fit in the sections of a muffin tin.
  13. Use food coloring to make milk that is your favorite color.Cooling Cookies
  14. Make a list of ways to be kind. Choose at least one to do today.
  15. Bake cookies to share with someone.
  16. Read a new library book.
  17. Put some colored cereal in a clear plastic bottle and glue on the lid. Shake it to music.
  18. Make some homemade playdough and play with it.
  19. Freeze colored ice cubes and add them to a drink of water or juice.
  20. See how many toys you can put in a paper bag before it tears.
  21. Trace cookie cutters on paper to make a place mat, a picture, or your own wrapping paper.
  22. Take a can or box of your favorite food to a food bank.Countdown
  23. Paint a picture on aluminum foil.
  24. Use a real camera to take a picture.
  25. Decorate a paper cup with stickers and use it to drink cocoa.
  26. Take turns telling stories.
  27. Make fingerprints on the letters of your name.
  28. Use a blanket or sheet to make a tent.
  29. Shine a flashlight on an old CD to make rainbows.
  30. Draw a picture of someone you love.

Make a paper chain with the strips. The last strip should have the name of the big event. Hang the chain in a spot that is easy to see. Each day, remove one strip. Read the activity and do it together. You may find out that the anticipation is even more fun than the actual event!

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