Wednesday, August 10

Classic Kid Craft- Countdown Chain

My mom was pretty crafty when my brother and I were kids- before crafty became Crafty; before something to entertain and educate and kill boredom became a Way of Life and for some, a Job Title.

We made the requisite macaroni noodle necklaces (though never with my mother. she had more imagination and less patience than the macaroni called for), we made mirror-paint butterflies (which is still my most favorite simple way for kids, and grown-ups, to create art), we made our own paper, our own potato stamps, and we made erupting volcanoes and crafts that blurred the lines between art, science, exploration, and good old messy fun.

My (second most) favorite kid craft project is the classic countdown paper chain.

Last week, on the five hundredth day of five hundred degree heat, the natives were restless. It was BFP time. Our stockpile of art accoutrement has been low this summer, so I had to think quickly.
Given The Boy's love of order and natural progression, The Girl's love of, well, everything in the whole world, and The Baby's love of annihilating things, we busted out the construction paper, scissors, crayons, and stapler. Easy peasy.

(Of course, being the freak that I am, I had to rearrange the paper colors into groups- they were packaged all willy-nilly. The colors need to go together, people! No red-purple-green-green-pink-purple-brown-yellow-brown... No! Red-red-red-purple-purple-purple-green-green-green... you get it, right? To further out myself as a crazy person- I was really irritated that there was no orange. That's how the rainbow goes! Red, orange, yellow, green, blue... Geez.)(Um. What was I just saying about The Boy loving order and natural progression. Hmm.)


I cut strips of paper (equal in length and width, duh) for The Baby's chain, and as an example, then set the two big kids loose with their own paper and scissors. Eventually, The Baby just started ripping the paper to shreds, which was kind of what I assumed she'd do anyway. The annihilation gene and all that.

The Bees colored on the paper strips and we numbered them for the countdown. 
Boy Genius: great reader, not a future calligrapher.

Wait, what were we counting down to? Good question. I probably should have addressed that a few paragraphs ago, huh? I'm not so hot on the How-To posts, huh? Huh.


The Girl's fifth birthday is August 23rd. Countdown One.
The Boy is going back to school, as previously mentioned, on August 15th. Countdown Two. 
The Baby decimated her paper, so. Countdown... Aborted.

After the cutting and decorating and the shredding, we were ready to staple. 

The Girl had a little trouble circling the paper, holding the paper, holding the stapler, stapling the paper while holding the paper, rinsing, and repeating. 
But she's a trooper.

The two big Bees and I decided to hang the finished products in safe places... which basically meant anywhere The Baby couldn't reach, even if she stands on something, which she'd totally do, that sneak. 

The Girl put her chain above her bed. And yes, that's totally a black fleece blanket hanging in front of the window. We're too cheap to buy blackout shades. What? 

The Boy, inappropriately clothed for photos, hung his beside the living room window. (Yes, again with the blanket. Since this photo was taken, my ghetto brilliant husband put foil up between the blinds and the curtains. So we're still cheap, but you can't tell by looking.)

They have all really enjoyed waking up at the crack of dawn every morning and tearing off another number.

I love that this supereasy craft:
  1. Is not messy
  2. Can be done with Bees of all ages
  3. Is fairly quick and painless (unless you staple yourself or your children)
  4. Reinforces counting and number writing
  5. Gives a visual aid to the idea of calendar days
  6. Can be done for almost anything- birthdays, special events, holidays...
  7. Can even be done in reverse- adding a chain for every day spent doing something (peepeeing in the potty, cleaning a bedroom, having a good day at school...)
  8. Cuts down on time that the kids spend begging me for either tv or popsicles and me telling them no because I am WAY mean. 

What are your favorite tried-and-true kid crafts? 

I realized that I didn't take a single picture of The Baby while we were doing this craft. I wonder where she wandered off to. Ah well. Here's a gratuitous photo of The Baby being all cute and muddy:

1 comment:

  1. A. thanks for the Crafty Kudos; I loved being mommy!
    B. I adore the chain idea and the story and the pics! I am just TICKLED!


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