Christmas is still many days away, but if you are an excited kid, it may be time to start counting them! Using old wooden blocks, help children to make a countdown calendar. After the holiday season is over, it can also be used to count days to birthdays and other holidays. Turn the blocks around, and it can celebrate age milestones for babies and toddlers!

Make your own Christmas countdown: how to turn old wooden blocks into a fun game of counting days - DIY tutorial

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I saw a few wooden block calendars for sale, and the construction seemed simple. The main material required was an old set of blocks, and we had just the thing. I have already used these blocks in several projects (you can see them in the fireplace for a doll house or the set of monster blocks), but still had many left.

You can work on this calendar together with your kids, or you can make it a quick evening project and give it as a surprise gift. When finished, the countdown calendar with help children to observe the time and to practice their counting backwards on a daily basis, as they change the number of days left until the exciting event.

It can also be a fun gift from your children to their newly born relatives because with some turning of blocks, the wooden calendar can be used as a prop for taking photos of babies and toddlers. It can show a variety of ages: from “two days” to “twenty nine months”. After that, the age will have to be measured by years, but many parents start doing it around that time anyway – when asked about their child’s age, they answer “two years” instead of “twenty seven months”. I feel like we are ready to make that switch. :-)

Materials

a set of wooden blocks (you can upcycle an old set or get one cheap – I find that they come very handy in making many crafts and art projects with children)

– stiff cardboard or plywood

– a handsaw

wood glue

acrylic paints (tempera or gouache is a possibility, but the project will not be waterproof unless you cover it additionally with a non-water-based varnish)

brown ink pen or a woodburner

Tutorial

Make your own Christmas countdown: how to turn old wooden blocks into a fun game of counting days - DIY tutorial1. You will need seven blocks from the set: two cubes, three shorter and two longer rectangular blocks.

2. Take one short rectangular block and cut it into two equal parts lengthwise. On one of these two blocks you will write “days”, “weeks”, “months”, “years”, and on the other – “before Christmas”, “until Birthday”, etc.

3. Glue the two longer rectangular blocks to the ends of short rectangular block, as shown in the picture.

4. Cut the back of the base. For that purpose you can use stiff cardboard or a piece of plywood. The type of cardboard I like can often be found at the back of sketchbooks, but cardboard from cereal boxes could work too. You can cut a simple rectangle for the back, you can make it a more decorative shape or even turn it into a silhouette of an animal. I decided to go with an owl. Could have been something more Christmas-y, but I hoped that Budster will find a use for this calendar in other seasons.

5. Paint the base and the back the way you want. Try to avoid painting the spots on the back where the base part will be attached. Glue works better on non-painted surfaces.

6. Finally, write on the cubes and the blocks you cut out in step 2. I wrote with a pencil first, then used a wood-burning tool. It was a good opportunity to use a tool that has been sitting idle for too long. A marker or an ink pen would have also worked well.

On one block I wrote 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and on the other – 0, 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 (6 will double as 9). The highest consecutive number we will be able to create with the blocks is 32. Then, on one of the smaller blocks I wrote “days”, “weeks”, “months”, “years”. The smallest amount of time we will be able to mark with our calendar is “1 day”, and the biggest is “32 years” (sorry Daddy!). On the other small  rectangular block, I wrote “before Christmas”, “until Birthday”, “until holidays”. It would be great to use some blackboard paint on the fourth side of that block, then have an opportunity to write something new every time. We did not have blackboard paint at home, so I left the fourth side empty for now.

Make your own Christmas countdown: how to turn old wooden blocks into a fun game of counting days - DIY tutorial

Budster liked the owl calendar. Here he is trying to treat his new friend with a piece of plum. He has been pretty excited about numbers lately, and the wise owl told him his age.

Make your own Christmas countdown: how to turn old wooden blocks into a fun game of counting days - DIY tutorial

If you liked this craft, you may also find these related activities interesting:

House Blocks for the Railroad: make colourfully painted house blocks for children to play in the “city”

Christmas Shadow Puppet Play: using our free printables, cut your own puppets and stage a shadow play

– Waldorf-Inspired Wooden Blocks: cut nature blocks for setting up forest scenes

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Make your own Christmas countdown: how to turn old wooden blocks into a fun game of counting days - DIY tutorial

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Follow Becca Eby ~ Bare Feet on the Dashboard’s board Festive Family Holiday on Pinterest.