Children love to count down. We count down how many sleeps till Christmas, birthdays and holidays. They love looking forward to occassions. "Are we there yet?" "Is it my birthday yet?" "How many sleeps till...?" Sound Familiar?
It is sometimes hard for a young child to understand a length of time. Saying "its in two weeks" to a young child is as successful as if you were to say "oh, just wait a year".
So, years ago, we started helping our boys understand the various countdowns by using this visual aid.
We simply place a sign on the fridge with what we are counting down to. Then attach a few paper chain links....one per 'sleep' until the countdown event. In our house, every morning, the boys love running down the stairs and tearing off a ring and they love watching the chain get smaller and smaller. It helps them to visually have a concept of something that is quite abstract for a young child.
We have 7 sleeps to go until a certain boys 7th birthday. This morning the first thing he looked for was to loose a ring off the chain. It has become a real tradition in our family that my kids look forward to.