Advent Paper Chain

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The snow has arrived early here and with it comes the excitement of Christmas. The passage of time is an abstract concept for young children to grasp.

Advent activities are a wonderful way to explore colours and numbers in the month of December. One of my daycare two year olds is interested in colour words so I thought a paper chain would be a fun way to practice identifying the colours red, green and white.

advent paper chain

 

Starting on December 1st, you invite your children to find the first paper loop and tear (or cut) it off of the chain. This would also be a great way to get in some scissor practice for 25 days.

Every day another loop of the chain is torn off until you reach the last day (December 25th) and your countdown to Christmas has been completed.

Young children love short daily rituals and I find linking a learning component to a holiday ritual is an easy way to practice a new skill. For my older children I also included, patterning, counting, letter sounds and review work to their advent paper chains. Here is how we custom made each one for each child’s learning stage.

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We started by cutting a big pile of paper strips. Everyone who was old enough to use scissors independently helped out.

Younger ones assisted by sorting the strips into colour piles. Each child made up their own colour pattern using the paper strips.

Most kids chose a green, red, white repeating pattern. However, some considered getting fancy and doing a red, red, white, green green pattern at first.

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Everyone’s chain loops were numbered 1-25. Counting together every day is a fun way to practice identifying numbers together.

A few children wrote their own numbers on each paper strip. The younger ones used an older child’s example to help them with their printing.

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To keep the younger ones involved while the older ones wrote out their numbers I gave them tiny Christmas stickers to stick on each paper strip. Stickers are a good fine motor activity for this age group.

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First I did strips 1-10 with the younger children to practice their counting and ordering skills then they completed 11-25 with help from the older kids.

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You can either use glue sticks, white glue or staples to make your paper loops and link them together. Older children might want to count down from 25 as in, twenty-five days left, twenty-four days left, etc.

You could have your first loop with the number one represent December 1st and then December 2nd etc. Counting up is easier than counting down. You choose the skill that matches the child’s current ability and interest.

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I found taping the first loop onto a table helped keep the chain organized so that the child could add the next loop. We had a few mistakes but they were easy enough to fix and it just meant more practice with checking the colour and number patterns!

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Once the child had completed their chain (independently or with help) we taped them up to the wall to get a sense of how long a chain of twenty-five paper links looked like visually. They reached from the ceiling to the floor.

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I explained to the younger children that each loop represented one day. Each day we would tear off a loop and when they were all torn off it would be Christmas day.

You should have seen the look on the kid’s faces! They were SHOCKED and DEVASTATED that Christmas was that far away!

One child looked at me with pleading eyes and said, “But there is snow on the ground so Christmas should be tomorrow.” Poor thing, how do you explain that anticipation is half the fun?

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One child is working on letter recognition and another is working on letter-sound recognition. It only took a few minutes to write out the alphabet (one letter per day, I wrote letter Yy and Zz on day 25) on each loop of the Advent paper chain.

When the child rips off a paper loop, I will challenge them to practice the letter name and sound they find written on the inside of the loop. My kids love this type of daily one-on-one verbal interaction with me. They always say I make their challenges TOO EASY.

For my eldest child, I used her Advent chain as a review activity. I wrote multiplication facts, history dates and geography questions on the back of each loop.  She can tear off the strip and then orally answer the question written on the paper strip.

Happy Advent Countdown Everyone!

Jana

Want to know how I use the Nature Table in the month of December to help the children shift to a focus on gratitude? Check out December Nature Table- Advent.

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