22 March 2010

birthday countdown paper chain

H has a birthday coming up in May. At least once a week, she would ask me, "Mom, how many days until my birthday?" And she wouldn't be satisfied with a vague answer, like, "A month and a half." It had to be in the exact number of days. 

And no, it doesn't take that much time to do the math in my head, but it gets a little old doing it again and again. So last week, she had a half day of school, and asked me again how many days. I said, "You know what? When we go home, let's make a paper chain with one loop for each day until your birthday, and then you can rip one off each day and know exactly how many days are left."

She thought it was a brilliant idea. I told her how many sheets of paper we would need (52 inch-wide strips = just about 5 full sheets of paper), and she chose the colors. I drew lines on each sheet, 1" apart, and she cut the strips. I then numbered each strip from 1 to 52.
She then handed me each strip, in numerical order, and I stapled them together in a chain. I had some paper leftover, so I made a little topper. (This is absolutely unnecessary, but a fun way to hang it.)
I put the top loop (that would be #1, because you want the number to reflect how many days are left) through a slit in the topper, like so:
We hung it up in a place that would be highly visible each day (though still a little bit out of the way, for the sake of controlling visual clutter). H chose the laundry room, because she can see it from her spot at the breakfast table.
We had to double it up, because it was so long. It puddled on the floor, and we figured a puddle of paper loops would be irresistible to J.

H is quite happy with it, and hasn't asked me "How many days..." since. The only trouble is that we have to actually remember to take one loop off each day. I'm really counting on H for this one, because I can barely remember to tie my own shoes each day. :)