Anticipating a break from child care in addition to stresses that families are under with planning for travel and parties at this time of year can affect children’s behavior. Part of this is can be due to not having a good sense about what to expect. One activity that can help children make sense of what is coming up is to make a paper chain to count down the days until the break or event.
Have children help to cut strips of colored paper and use one to make a loop that you glue or staple closed. Add the number of loops onto the chain for the number of days that you have left until break and each day a child can remove one of the loops. This give a visual indication to children about how many more days it will be until the break.
You can make one chain for the group or each child can make their own. You can practice counting up and counting down using the number of loops on the chain. You can also encourage children to make patterns with different colors of paper as they create their chains.
Goals: Help children manage their behavior around anticipation of the break. Practice math concepts of patterning and counting up and down.