Like magic, this project will get your kids excited about the end of summer.
My oldest son dreaded going back to school. Every year around the end of July the moping and anxiety would start. I’d remind him of all of the wonderful things that would happen at school and all of the fun fall holidays, but time is amorphous to a 5-year-old, and the holidays seemed so far away.
So when he started in with the moping before first grade I decided to help him see how wonderful the fall was going to be with something concrete: the holiday chain. We took out our calendar and noted all of the fun things that were coming up: meet-the-teacher day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, school holidays, Christmas. Then we added some of our own special days: back-to-school shopping day, take-out-the-Halloween-decorations day, pick-out-a-pumpkin day, etc. Then we cut pieces of construction paper into strips, choosing seasonal colors. September was bright, primary colors, with the exception of the Halloween season, which was black and orange, moving into browns and yellows for November and finally red and green for December.
We labeled each piece with a date and wrote in all of our special days. Then we attached the pieces with a glue stick and hung it over the kitchen window. Every morning when he came downstairs he would remove one link and see how close we were getting to the next special day. As the chain got shorter and shorter the kids got more and more excited about the holidays. Since then it’s become a family tradition. My oldest is in high school now and looks forward to the beginning of school. But he isn’t above tearing off a link as he runs out the door, backpack on and glass of milk in hand, just barely in time to catch the school bus.
Tips for making your own holiday chain:
• Scrapbook paper makes an adorable chain, so buy scraps on sale and have fun mixing patterns. Just make sure that the seasons stand out.
• Make up your own holidays: apple picking day, movie night, etc. (But keep in mind they may have to change by a day or two.)
• Consider making special days white, fluorescent or glittered so they are easy to spot.
• Keep stickers handy so you can easily add fun dates that come up, such as birthday parties, etc.
Send us a picture of your own holiday chain. We’d love to see it!
Written and photographed by Bridgett Hurley