I have always been a big fan of the countdown chain. Basically you make an item for each day left until a major even (birthday, vacation, holiday) and then every morning a piece of the chain is taken away until there are none left. I used to do these all the time when I was teaching so that my students could visualize how many days were left until a certain event. A few weeks before Cole's birthday we decided to make one for him.
Countdown Chain Supply List: 3-4 paper towel rolls, paint, ribbon or string, scissors
Begin by painting your paper towel rolls with various colors.
Figure out how many days until your event and cut your paper towel rolls accordingly. Tie one of your rings to your string or ribbon. We used a piece of tulle that I had leftover from a tutu I had just made.
String your paper towel roll pieces until they are all on the string.
Hang them somewhere prominent in your house so that they can be viewed every day. This turned out to also be a great math lesson. Every morning when Cole woke up he would tear a ring off and then we would count how many were left.
Here is his on his birthday with his very last paper towel ring.