Christmas is such a huge day for kids to look forward to, but it can be sooooo hard waiting, especially when “Christmas” shows up so long before the day actually comes! Is it Christmas? When is it Christmas? Is today Christmas? Is tomorrow Christmas? I’m sure as soon as your Christmas tree went up, you were hearing the same questions!
Time is also really confusing! Young children don’t understand what 20 more days means. I imagine for kids it has to feel somewhat like a mystery what days, weeks, and months all really mean! So, I wanted to create a way for my kids to be able to visually see how many days were left before Christmas. And even though this isn’t a part of the winter activity plans, I thought I’d share what I came up with last year! I found some cute options like filling in Santa’s beard, but for us Christmas revolves around Jesus being born, and I wanted this ongoing activity to reflect that. I decided to adapt the Santa beard into a Nativity scene where my kids could fill the sky with stars. Here’s how we did it…
We started by making a nativity scene. Before I got the kids involved I pre-made the stable looking structure. (You wouldn’t have to make that part, but I think it adds to the scene). I just free handed, cut it out, and glued it to the paper. Then, to make Mary and Joseph I had the kids make a fist and painted on the pinky side of their hand. I helped them stamp the paint on one side of the stable, and then repeated with the other hand for the opposite side.
Next, I helped them paint the manger, a simple ‘x’ in the middle will do. Finally, we used thumbprints to make the faces, and added a ball of white for the swaddling clothes in the manger. Very simple, but finger painting is always a huge hit!
Now for the countdown part… The stars aren’t going to fill up the sky the same way that the cotton balls fill up Santa’s beard, so I decided I needed to add dots in the sky to equal the number of days til Christmas. We are starting on December 1st, so I put in 25 dots. If you are having Christmas sooner or later than the 25th, you can add the appropriate number of dots for your family’s countdown. That big dot down there is for Christmas Day for the big star. Totally optional for you to do something like that.
Each day another dot gets covered up by a star, the kids know they are one day closer to Christmas, and they can see the number of dots left to be filled! It worked fabulously and they absolutely loved getting to glue a new star on. I have a star paper punch, so if you don’t have something like that, the gold star stickers would be perfect too!
Even when we travelled I took the supplies along because I knew they would be disappointed if they didn’t get to add the next star! So, keep that in mind if you are traveling, because they will remember!
It is so exciting to get to that final dot and get to put on the great big Christmas star! Here is our finished product from last year… I know my kids loved it, hopefully your family will love this too!