Paper Chain Countdown

(for ages 4+, requires adult supervision)


  • Assorted colors of construction paper
  • Safety scissors
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • Ruler
  • Tape or glue

Recipe for Fun!

This play activity can involve the whole family to help create a colorful countdown chain building anticipation and excitement leading up to an upcoming celebration, event, or holiday.

STEP 1: Help your child to cut several 1” x 5” strips of construction paper using the colors of the event or holiday you are celebrating. For example, suggest your child’s favorite colors for a birthday countdown, , school colors for a team sporting event, red, green, and gold for Christmas etc. The number of strips depends on how long you want the chain to be.

STEP 2: If you’re making a “countdown” chain, have your child number each paper strip to represent the number of days until the big event! If your child’s birthday is in 20 days, you would want to have 20 strips, each labeled with a different number from 1 to 20.

STEP 3: Fasten the loop with the first strip (#1) and tape or glue together to make a closed loop or circle.

STEP 4: Insert the second strip (#2) through the first loop before taping or gluing its ends to form a second circle.

STEP 5: Continue this process, inserting and closing each new strip through the previous loop, until you have a chain of circles, each labeled with a different number of the countdown.

STEP 6: Hang the countdown chain so that it’s visible to everyone.

STEP 7: To countdown to the event, cut off one loop at a time, starting with the highest number. The numbers remaining will serve as a visual reminder of how many days are left until the event!

HOLIDAY BONUS TIP: Instead of cutting off the loops, hang a lightweight ornament and move it along the numbered chain each day until you get to the last link.