Paper link chains are my favorite way to help little ones conceptualize time, and they seem to make waiting for an exciting event slightly more tolerable. Sure, sometimes my kids might fight over who gets to tear off one of the links but overall I think these are great. Instead of asking, 'Is Christmas tomorrow?' Cecelia now says, 'Christmas is when all of those links are gone.' So far she hasn't torn off every single link in one sitting yet, but only time will tell. They love to run downstairs and tear off the daily link right away and I have yet to solidify our routine (taking turns each day, one tears off and one throws away, simultaneous teamwork?).
This is really easy to make, maybe 30 minutes start to finish.
1. You'll need some sort of print out for the base, which I guess is optional, and the paper links could stand alone. This makes it more 'finished' in my opinion. My 'countdown to Christmas' print was a free printable online, and since it's two years old I cannot find it anywhere. But there are about a billion similar versions, this blog has several that I like.
I printed this, then cut it out and used scrapbooking sticky tabs to glue it on a printed paper for extra color. One year I punched holes and tied this paper onto a yarn-wrapped wreath that I made. The other years this DIY craft has donned our walls I've strung ribbon through my two holes at the top and then hung it up on a nail. Super easy, I swear. I added one little piece of paper to the bottom of my square to secure the entire chain. I'm no engineer but for some reason I thought this was necessary.
2. Printed Christmas paper time! I have a pack from Michaels that is by K&Company, but pick any papers you like. I'm a big fan of a pack of papers like this though, since this is an easy way to have Christmas paper on hand for many projects!
3. My papers are about 6"x9" so when cutting strips for the links, I get about three strips per paper. I use a template once I decide how thick I want to go, but I do not worry about perfection here. It really doesn't matter, but the thicker the strips the more compact the chain will be. If you go long and skinny for your strips, you'll have a very long paper chain which might be harder to keep on the wall without it dragging on the ground in early December.
Yes, beer is usually a necessity with this and any DIY craft;)
Cut the strips:
4. Then start stapling them together. I just put one staple on either side.
Continue the links until you have 25 of them, assuming you let the kids start tearing off on December 1st.
Awww, baby Truman helping me three years ago (when he had a black eye, poor guy).
My first paper chain for Christmas had skinnier links, I see.
Then last year, for my second paper chain, I went a little thicker. Also the kids are so stinking young here!!
And this year! They are more excited than they look, and yes I know I'm missing a child here.
Easy and quick, but effective! I think the printed Christmas papers make the project more fun and I'm sure I could let the kids 'help' me with this at some point. I guess! Let the countdown begin...