Waiting for an anticipated event (like Christmas) can be very difficult for young children, who have not developed a sense of the passage of time. Here are some books to help them count down the days.
Counting to Christmas by Nancy Tafuri is a large-format book with bright, simple illustrations. A little girl spends the days before Christmas preparing to share and give. One of her projects is a tree filled with treats for the wildlife near her home. Recipes for outdoor animal treats and other projects are included.
Snowbear finds numerous ways to fill his days in Snowbear's Christmas Countdown by Theresa Smythe. From decorating his house to cracking nuts with his new nutcracker (and including spending couple of days in bed with a cold, watching holiday movies), Snowbear stays busy preparing to enjoy Christmas with his friends. Kids will like the lively illustrations, and may be inspired by Snowbear's creativity and caring. A plus for parents and teachers is that this book uses ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) for the countdown.
Karen Katz's Counting Christmas features her trademark folk art-like illustrations. Charming round-faced, rosy-cheeked children take part in traditional Christmas activities in a warm, family-centered setting. Nothing new here, but Katz's illustrations are worth the trip.
Uno, Dos, Tres, Posada! introduces the Hispanic custom of the nine-night posada and its traditions, such as the candy-filled piñata and fuego artificiales (fireworks). Spanish words share the page with the mostly English verse, with abundant clues in the context and illustrations to clarify their meanings.
And here's a simple craft idea you can use at Christmas, or leading up to any special event, like a birthday or vacation. Make a paper chain using colored strips of paper, one link for each day before the event. Decorate as you please, perhaps putting numbers on each link, or adding stickers, etc. Hang the chain in a conspicuous place, and allow the child to tear off one link each day. It will serve as a tangible reminder of the approaching event, and help children visualize the concept of time passing.