Activity-based advent calendars are so fun. And kids especially love them. This is a cool way to plan things to highlight the magic of the holidays.
As a mom I love them because it forces me to plan things in advance that highlight the magic of the season.
Thinking of what activities you could possibly add to the activity-based advent calendar? The answer’s simple: All of them!!!
Step 1: Plan the bigger activities for your advent calendar
First, think of some of the bigger activities that you know you’re already going to do. Here are some to help get you thinking:
- Get the tree! Whether it’s a trip to the tree farm, the tree store, or the storage unit – make getting the tree an activity.
- Decorate the tree!
- Decorate the interior of the house!
- Decorate the exterior of the house!
- Drive around and look at lights!
- Make some cookies!
- Go to a Christmas Party!
- Drink some hot chocolate!
- Watch a Christmas movie!
- Go to a Christmas event nearby!
- Sing some holiday tunes!
- Visit Santa!
- Write a letter to Santa!
To help sort those items, download the advent calendar planner by clicking on the image below (no sign up needed!)
Step 2: Fill in the calendar with smaller activities
Keep your schedule and time in mind, and start filling in the calendar with smaller activities.
- Find a Christmas craft or two you want to do and get to work. When in doubt, make a card using red and green markers.
- Try a new hot chocolate or cookie recipe.
- Take photos in front of the tree or the house.
- Build a snowman if weather allows.
- Read a holiday book.
- Go see a performance by the local community theater group.
- Get tickets to a musical performance.
- See the nutcracker.
- Attend an Afternoon Tea, or make your own at home.
- Buy and wear a Christmas Sweater.
- Wear matching PJs.
- Donate to your favorite organization.
- Volunteer for your favorite organization.
- Practice a random act of kindness (or more), this list from We Be Wiebes is an awesome way to start.
- Check your local community events for new or old traditions to practice.
Step 3: Get what you need to make it happen
Some of the items on the list above, like “sing a Christmas Carol” can be done on the spot with little planning.
Other items, like going to see a production of the Nutcracker, need some advance planning. You need to find out when it’s showing and buy tickets for the show.
And, still, other activities may need even MORE work. Finding a local charity that is seeking volunteers may require advance registration and/or training. Christmas crafts need to be found, purchased, and planned.
Your second download for this post is something to help make sure you’re have everything in place to make each container activity go off without a hitch.
Step 4: Commit to your plan
You’re ready to go! Commit to your advent calendar activities (use the calendar above to fill in your final activities).
Keep your D.I.Y Advent Calendar planner ready so you know what to expect each day. If there’s an unforeseen circumstance, you can be ready to make last minute changes. Have an easy back-up ready to go and you’re all set. Crisis averted.
Step 5: Prepare the display
Fill in some kind of card for each activity for the actual advent calendars. Here are some of my favorite ways to do that:
- This coffee filter advent calendar is a (somewhat) easy and fun way to display the advent calendar. By scrumdillydilly.
- This adorable paper bag with black stencil numbers advent calendar is perfect. The blog is in another language, but the photo makes it easy to figure out how to do it yourself. By gotlandsliv.
- This tutorial for a Valentine’s Day countdown can be easily transformed into an Advent Calendar with red and green envelopes shaped into a Christmas tree. By Brit + Co.
- This toilet paper roll and felt creation takes a little more work, but the cute elf at the end makes it worth it. By Canadian Living.
- And finally this Slovakian blog has a ton of ideas. The site is, of course, in Slovak, but you can use their images for inspiration. By sDetmi.
That’s it! Five steps to a fun-filled, activity-based, unique-to-your-family advent calendar. If you end up making anything, let me know in the comments.