When we were young, my sister and I had an advent calendar that our mom made us out of felt. Each day we would wake up and reach into the pocket which would hold an ornament that we got to place on the tree. We were so happy when the advent calendar came out on Dec 1 as it was the countdown to Santa's arrival. The anticipation would build each day and it made each day a special memory.
We have two beautiful advent calendars from Fabelab so you continue (or begin) a family advent calendar tradition of your own. These advent calendars will become a centrepiece in your home for many years. The house calendar is great if you want to count the weeks that go by and buy something bigger each week, or the classic numbered calendar for each day until Santa comes!
You can also fill these pockets up with many different items. This year we are going to mix it up. Take a look at some ideas I came up with for kids, some items are from the shop and some things are free!
Modern Advent Calendar Ideas for Kids
1. Buy a Coffee for a Stranger
We start the weekend off with Coffee, yes coffee. Every weekend, we walk to get a latte and a babyccino and buy our morning groceries for a fancy brunch at home. This time we will also buy a coffee for a stranger and talk about doing nice things for people for no reason.
2. Donate your used Clothing
Time to clear out your closets and donate what you don't need. Get your toddler to help. This helps begin tidy the house for any guests coming to visit plus make room for the gifts you may receive from family. I usually have a box of clothing in the closet where all the clothing my daughter has grown out of already. Just bag it up and bring it to the charity shop.
Have your toddler choose 3 of their baby toys that they will give away to someone in need.
Here are a few local charities that we believe in as they all help mothers in need.
Kelowna: Mamas for Mamas
Mamas for Mamas is a local award winning charitable organization that supports mothers in crisis, and provides ongoing support to low income Mamas and their kids
Montreal: Women On The Rise
Women On The Rise supporting isolated, low income and single mothers with children between 0-5 years old by empowering and coaching women in their personal, economic and social development while promoting optimal development of their young children.
Toronto: Jessie's Centre
Jessie's Centre works to help pregnant teenagers smoothly transition into motherhood by providing them with resources and goods. The centre is always on the lookout for baby clothes, clothes for young women and maternity wear.
3. A Personalized Cup
A cup just for them, choose the first letter of their name and it will be the first letter they learn!
A pack of crayons/pencil crayons or markers. No matter how many used crayons they have, they always love to open a new box. These ones are neon!
5. Colouring Book
They need something to colour with their new pencils! In this book they can draw in the animal's clothing!
Everyone loves stickers! Super easy to put in the pockets and if you want to spread the sticker love, cut them up and put them in multiple pockets! Great also if you have multiple children.
What is better than putting on a pair of brand new socks? Especially if they are this fun.
8. Make an Ornament
Weekends are for activities! Here is this Saturday's easy craft that you won't mind putting on the tree.
Buy clear plastic ornaments that are fillable from a craft shop. This year, we will fill ours with faux greenery that will look fab on our tree. You can also fill with coloured pom poms, feathers or sparkles (if you dare). Match them to your colour scheme.
9. Decorate the Tree!
Place their first ornament in the pouch and get decorating! They will be so excited. It's also something you would do anyway so why not build it into the calendar.
This is the type of thing that I love putting in an advent calendar. It's something they need, it gets them excited to use a new toothbrush. Find one they will love.
11. Mini Lego
I had to add lego in for the older toddlers because who doesn't love lego?
11. Learn a new Christmas Song
Place our little egg shaker instrument and get singing! Choose a song that you don't mind hearing every. single. day. Basically, Little Drummer Boy is in my head every year anyway due to the fact that the David Bowie and Bing Crosby's version is my favourite Christmas song. So I will go with that. Plus, your toddler will love to play along.
13. Get Cozy
This time of year, you just want to be warm and cozy so get them a new hat to keep their little heads warm.
14. Finger Puppets
The little pockets are perfect for little finger puppets. You can probably make some if you are crafty or find them at Ikea.
15. Bake Cookies
The third weekend of the month brings the spirit and smell of Christmas into the house! Bake some cookies with your littles and then package a few of them up to bring to a neighbour. These ones are a healthy(er) almond and cinnamon star cookies.
17. Play Baking
They saw you bake yesterday, now they can pretend to bake their own cookies and share them with friends and family! This one could be stretched out into many pockets.
Whether it's bundling up with some hot chocolate and going for a walk in the neighbourhood, or piling into the car to see some extravagantly decorated homes this one is a tradition that we loved as kids (and still do as adults)
17. Go see some Christmas Lights
18. Temporary Tattoos
As like stickers, they are small and easy to separate for multiple kids or multiple days. We love these modern, graphic Wee Gallery tattoos.
19. A Mini Book
A Christmas themed one is what you may want here ;-)
20. A Bath Bomb
I can guarantee squeals of joy when the see a bath bomb sizzling around them in the bath.
21. A Bath Toy
Hopefully you still a bit of bath bomb left for another fun time in the tub. This time with their new favourite rubber ducky! You don't have to worry about this one growing anything yucky inside as it has no holes and is made from 100% natural rubber.
22. A Ticket to See Santa
Cut out a fancy piece of paper in the shape of a ticket and tell them to keep is safe!
23. Wrap Presents!
Toddlers love helping so why not give them the task of holding down the ribbon for you to tie a bow. They will also get excited not just to receive gifts but also to give them.
24. Christmas Eve Stuffed Toy
In the Finnish tradition, Santa Claus comes when the night falls on Christmas Eve. In Finland, they believe that Santa Claus lives in Lapland in the North of Finland and since he needs to deliver the world's presents by morning, he begins with the closest children.
During the day, everyone is busy cooking and baking for the evening and as soon as it is dark, the children go for a sauna and when they come out the gifts are under the tree. We used to hear a loud bang that was meant to be the sound of the reindeer landing on the roof. We would come running out but always missing him by a second.
I am going to continue the tradition of gift giving on Christmas Eve but to finish off the advent, I will give a slightly larger gift to keep her company while we are busy preparing.