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Advent or Christmas Countdown Calendar

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A large Christmas countdown calendar for little kids that you can make.

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Little lady is almost 3, so this year we are talking a little more about the meaning of Christmas.  To reinforce the idea of giving and helping during the holiday season I decided to make an advent calendar.

I remember those cardboard ones when I was little, a piece of candy every day leading up to the big day. I loved those!  But, I thought I’d focus on fun activities we can do each day vs. just candy.

Advent or Christmas Countdown calendar - DIY tutorial

Here is what I used for this relatively easy project:

  • Plywood (32″ x 40″)
  • Fabric to cover the board – I used inexpensive quilting cotton
  • Twine
  • Clothespins
  • Glycine bags
  • Washi tape and other decorations for bags and title
  • Markers

I covered the board in fabric, securing it on the back with staples and tape. Next I strung 4 lengths of twine horizontally across the board, evenly spaced. This is what the bags will hang on, they are attached to the back with staples.

I numbered and decorated each bag then attached them to the twine on the board with clothespins. These will be easy for my 3 year old to pull off.

For the sign at the top I printed the words Christmas is coming, attached the white paper to black cardstock and decorated the sign with wash tape.

countdown 2
Bags on the advent calendar - fill with activities and treats

In each bag I put an activity that focuses on fun activities that would help Little lady learn about giving and those who are less fortunate.  I also want her to learn more about the Christian meaning behind Christmas.  

It’s important to do some planning with these cards.  I looked at my calendar to make sure each activity was doable on the day it occurred so she wouldn’t have to wait.

Advent calendar activities for each day

Here is the full list of Christmas countdown calendar activities in no particular order:

  • Make popcorn and watch a Christmas movie
  • Bake Christmas cookies
  • Pick out a toy for Toys for Tots
  • Special treat!  Hot cocoa with marshmallows
  • Special treat after dinner
  • Decorate a gingerbread house
  • Gather toys/clothes to donate
  • Read a Christmas book
  • Read Luke 2
  • Make a Christmas craft
  • Make a card for someone and mail it
  • Go for a drive and look at Christmas lights
  • Make an ornament
  • Make a garland
  • Wrap Christmas presents
  • Make cookies for Santa
  • Have family game night
  • Deliver a treat to Daddy at work
  • Color a Christmas picture
  • Make a gift for someone special
  • Visit Santa
  • Read a story about the birth of Jesus
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • Play in the snow

I also added a sticker, fruit snacks, or a sucker to each bag. This is where you can customize this calendar to fit your children.

Advent calendar bag - 1 for each day with an activity and treat

My 3 year old has been staring at this board, anxious to see what’s inside, she can’t wait!

Here are a few more advent and Christmas countdown calendar ideas to try.

Thrifty Creative Living Magnetic Advent Calendar
Magnetic Advent Calendar
Ikea Advent calendar close up
Ikea Advent Calendar with Printable Activities

Do you use an Advent or countdown calendar in your home?  I’d love to hear how you do it.

Thanks for visiting!

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Easy Chalkboard Countdown | Creative Ramblings

Saturday 4th of January 2014

[…] helps her prepare and get excited for the next big thing.  We counted down to Christmas with a big Advent Calendar, then used a small calendar to countdown to her birthday.  Next up is the countdown til her new […]

DearCreatives (@DearCreatives)

Thursday 5th of December 2013

Such a cute idea! Pinning to my Christmas board. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Hope to see you again this week. Theresa


Thursday 5th of December 2013

Thanks Teresa, we're having lots of fun with it.

Britni Newton Vigil

Sunday 24th of November 2013

I love the idea of doing fun activities together instead of giving candy and presents, time is so much more important. I did something similar for a Thanksgiving/November advent calendar.Thanks for sharing on the weekend re-Treat link party!

Britni @ Play. Party. Pin.


Saturday 16th of November 2013

Such a wonderful idea. I'm going to pin this just for ideas of things to do with the kids! I'm not sure I will actually make the countdown calendar itself, but there's always hoping I find the time to do so!


Tuesday 19th of November 2013

Doing the activities is the best part, have fun Marie. Thanks for visiting.

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