Sanity Savers: Birthday Edition – Paper Chain Countdown

By: Valerie Drapeau     
Education Coordinator

Download a printable version of this Sanity Saver here.


Construction paper of varying colors
Tape or a glue stick


Set up: 5 minutes to prep your materials
Activity:25 minutes to make the paper chain 

Birthday countdowns are an exciting tradition leading up to your special day. This fun paper chain activity will provide your child with a fun project to help the whole family count down to the big day! This activity doesn’t have to just be used as a birthday countdown , it can be used for any special outing or event your family has planned; just pick a day to work toward and watch your child’s excitement grow!

Academic Subject(s):

Art and ELA Writing 


Step 1: Choose your event day and count the total number of days on a calendar between the day after you start your project and the day of the event.  For example, if you are working on this project on Wednesday, July 1st, and your event day is Saturday, July 11th, you would begin counting on the 2nd through the 11th which would give you a total of ten days.  This step may be tricky, so you may need to help your child count the appropriate number of days.  This is a great opportunity for younger children to not only practice counting but reciting the days of the week in order as well!
Step 2: Turn your paper vertically, then measure and draw 1-inch strips with a ruler and pencil on construction paper.  Cut the corresponding number of strips of paper that equals the amount of days until your event.  Try using multiple colors so your chain is colorful!  You can even put two pieces of paper on top of one another to make the cutting go faster.

Step 3: Starting with the number “1”, write one numbered day on the middle of each strip of paper until you reach your last numbered day.  If you plan on using multiple colors, be sure to lay out your pattern before writing.
Step 4: Using tape or a glue stick, link each paper strip starting with number “1”, in order, creating a long chain.  You can even write a special saying or draw a picture on a separate piece of paper for where you will fasten the top of the chain (something like “Days Until My Birthday!”).  Secure the chain to this paper with tape and let your child choose where to hang it!
Step 5: The day after you complete the project, start by cutting one rung of the chain at the bottom, (in our example, you would cut off day 10).  Cut one link of the chain every day.  It will be so exciting to watch the chain get smaller and smaller as they wait for their special event to arrive!

Vocabulary Words:

Staycation: a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad; or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.
Vertical direction: having an alignment, such that the top is directly above the bottom of something.

Check out our other Sanity Savers posts here! 

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