We've been inspired to create an action-based Advent calendar this year to count down the days to Christmas. I've made a list of (at least) 24 activities that would be fun little activities throughout the season, and Mikko will get to open one each day to find out what today's adventure is.
Choosing simple and fun connection activities each day has many benefits that more traditional calendars don't always possess:
- Counting down "sleeps" to an important day like Christmas helps little ones manage the wait — and even learn numbers!
- Choosing an activity can be a healthier treat for young kids than something sugary, and it doesn't clutter up your home the way 24 days of small toys or gifts would.
- You can customize your activity calendar to match your family's preferences and schedules, including parties and events you already have planned.
- Kids don't need the activity to be anything fancy: Snuggling with you to read a special book or toasting marshmallows over the fireplace can be just as special as a trip to meet Santa or going ice skating.
- You can adapt the activities to fit particular ages and multiple kids.
The calendarFirst your kids need something to open each day. There are so many options for calendars!
For the discount DIYers among you, you don't need to get super fancy. You could use a wide-mouthed jar filled with 24 scraps of paper; your kids reach in each day, pull out an activity, and hey presto! This does mean the activities will be sorted randomly, however, and I wanted to make sure some events fell on specific days, and that I could rearrange activities to suit my energy level, without Mikko cottoning on. You could even just have a simple stack of notecards that your kids turn over each day, or place each one inside a little envelope sealed with a holiday sticker.
Other options are 24 small gift boxes (perhaps even festively wrapped!), 24 little bags (paper lunch bags, thrift shop bags, plastic baggies, whatever you've got), or 24 other teensy containers. You could set up a display and number them, or do the randomizing thing by setting them all in a box or basket to be pulled out one by one.
You can also buy or make something much fancier and longer-lasting. If you want to decorate, you can buy an unfinished wood Advent tree with 24 doors, a cardboard calendar with drawers, or an MDF Advent calendar with a wide middle section for creating a scene.
If you want something ready-made or further craft inspiration, I was considering these options at Etsy, for instance (I've chosen to link to my pins in case the listings are removed so you can hopefully still see the images; the pins do link to the current listings): magnetic tins (love these!) to stick to the fridge or a baking sheet, mini cardboard boxes labeled with the days and hung as a set, clothespin tree for clipping notecards or envelopes, decorative cotton or simple muslin bags clipped onto clothespins and strung on a jute line across the mantel or shelf, decorated paper bags, or a wall hanging with pockets for each day.
But here's what we did, because we're like that. We went to Target and got this adorableness:
Fair Isle Wooden Advent Calendar