Posted by: Jacquie Fisher   

100 Activities for Your Advent Calendar {free printables!}

Use this free printable set of Advent Activities to inspire time together for a Christmas Countdown with your kids!

One of my favorite memories from childhood is our Advent Calendar

It was a Christmas tradition -- a simple felt calendar with 24 small red pockets and some jingle bells on the top. 

Each day, my brother, sister or myself placed a candy cane in one of the pockets -- boy, did we fight over that honor :) 

Good thing that 24 is easily divided by 3 so my Mom could quickly swoop in on any disagreement (along with a fast reminder that "Santa's watching").

And now we have a similar calendar in our house -- 24 small pockets with a stocking of candy canes hanging nearby (and even a few arguments about whose turn it is will still occur :) 

 

Advent calendar activity ideas - fillers and family fun

100+ Advent Activities for Kids {with free printables}

In addition to the candy canes, we also like to include a special slip of paper listing a fun family activity for each day. 

Some of the activities are pre-planned such as getting the tree or attending a holiday show.  Others are surprise activities for the kids. 

Each year, our activities change and we have amassed quite a list of festive holiday ideas so I thought I would share them with you.

All of our Advent activities are family-focused because life goes by too quickly and the holidays are already so hectic -- these tiny slips are a wonderful way to make sure we connect a little each day.

And to make things super easy (because like I said, the holidays are busy enough) we have 2 options for you! 

  • I'm including free printable slips for 50 of the BEST Advent activities -- you can get yours below!
  • Or if you'd like 140+ Advent Activity printables PLUS the Advent Planner and resources, you'll find those on our Ultimate Advent Activity Ideas & Christmas Countdown page!

 

advent countdown calendar

If you don't have an Advent Calendar, here are a few that we really like!  Each of these countdown calendars has small pockets that can hold activity slips (go to our full Advent Activity page to find activity slips for your favorite traditions, books, movies & more!). 

These double as a wonderful holiday decoration and will be one of the first things your kids will want to pull out each year.  We're including affiliate links so you can learn more about the items on our list!

Countdown Christmas Tree Advent Calendar

Snowman Fabric Advent Calendar

Plush Santa Christmas Countdown

Secret Santa Treasure Box Advent Calendar

 

It's great to have a large list for a Christmas countdown that you can pick and choose from every year -- it always helps to have a few back-up activities in case the weather or our schedules don't cooperate with one of our original items. 

We're including special links to help you with planning some activities, free printable slips for your countdown and affiliate links for items we've used are included in each category.

Family Outings

Attend a holiday-themed story time at the library or bookstore

Visit Santa

Head out on a Holiday Lights Scavenger Hunt from Kids Activities Blog

Go cut/choose a Christmas Tree

Attend a Tuba Christmas concert (held all across the US)

Attend a special Advent church service or event

Go pick out a special ornament for the tree

Visit a historic site to explore Christmas Past

Ride a Santa train

Take a sleigh ride

Attend your city's tree lighting

Go out for cocoa together (with marshmallows on top!)

Hunt for Jingle Bells

Get into your pj’s & drive around to see the light displays

See a local Christmas show or play

 

Fun ways to celebrate Advent

Holiday Fun at Home

Play a game of Holiday Chardes with this free printable!

Help with the holiday cards (put on stamps, draw pictures, sign your name)

Pair a book with each of your holiday traditions (try these 30 Christmas books for inspiration)

Visit Santa's reindeer online

Write a letter to Santa with these free printable Santa Letter pages!

Sing Christmas carols & have the kids play along with some fun instruments

Explore a little science with this free printable Holiday Experiment!

Decorate your room for Christmas

Read a new book for the holidays

Look through old photos & family movies (& share memories of holidays past!)

Learn about Christmas around the world with this free printable Christmas Geography activity!

Put up the Nativity together

Host a Gingerbread Hunt with these free printables!

Have story time under the tree with the lights on tonight

Help decorate the front porch or put up the lights

Read a book & do a winter activity

Trim the Tree

Play a holiday game -- a few of our favorites include:

Melissa & Doug Christmas Box Of Questions

Monopoly: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Christmas Bingo

Elf on The Shelf Naughty or Nice Board Game

Do a puzzle together (a holiday puzzle is a bonus!)

Or try a few of these 25 Ways to Slow Down & Enjoy the Holidays

Visit one of these 14 Festive Christmas websites for kids

Get more ideas for your family at 100+ Ideas & Activities for your Christmas Countdown

 

Connect Nature with the Season

Try a few of these nature-themed play ideas

Make these beautiful Nature Tags from Playful Learning

Enjoy an afternoon ice skating

Go sledding

Take a winter walk and scout out the animals

Make a bird feeder for our feathered friends

Create an Ice Wreath or Ice Lanterns

 

Giving to Others

Deliver cookies to someone special or a community helper

Donate food items to your local pantry

Collect old towels & blankets to bring to the animal shelter

Do some Random Acts of Kindness

Choose outgrown toys and donate to a local charity

Donate winter coats, hats or mittens to a shelter

Sign up to ring bells as a family

Adopt an angel from the Angel Tree

Sing carols at a local nursing home

 

Yummy in the Kitchen

Light an advent candle before dinner each night

Bake cookies

Make hot cocoa and add your favorite toppings

Have Grinch kabobs for snack

‘Bake’ a holiday mix that will make the house smell yummy

Decorate Gingerbread Houses

Make snowman pancakes or Rudolph pancakes

 

Ideas for Advent Calendars

Place these small pieces of paper in your advent calendar, in a special envelope that can be opened each day or use them any way you would like to help bring the family together for some holiday fun!

Seasonal Crafts

Cut out paper snowflakes and hang them on your windows

Make your own DIY Advent Calendar together

Make your own ornaments -- try these easy DIY Paper Stocking ornaments!

Create your own wrapping paper from the Nuture Store

Draw a picture for out-of-town relatives

Make a pomander

Create a Craft Stick Christmas Puzzle from Fireflies & Mudpies

Create gift tags from the kids artwork

Put together some Reindeer Food

Make a holiday card for your teacher from Mama Pea Pod

Make a reindeer craft

 

Holiday Movies

Our entire movie list can be found in the Advent Activity printable pack which will make planning your Christmas countdown SO easy!

Miracle on 34th Street

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Home Alone: The Complete Collection

It's a Wonderful Life

The Polar Express

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Frosty the Snowman

Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town

Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus and Nestor The Christmas Donkey (Double Feature)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Town That Santa Forgot

The Year Without a Santa Claus

Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas(one of our family's favorites!)

The Santa Clause

And if you like classic vintage Christmas movies, try these:

White Christmas

March of the Wooden Soldiers

A Christmas Carol

The Bishop's Wife

 

 

I hope this brings a little fun into your season --

Enjoy the Holidays!

~ Jacquie

 

christmas free printable games

MORE HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES:

25 Free Printable Christmas Activities

30 Holiday Books to Pair with your Favorite Traditions

Christmas Play Ideas using Items from Nature

 

You might also like:

Creative Gift Ideas for Kids

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Comments

 
Guest - Emma @ P is for Preschooler on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 17:00

I love these! I'm amazed at all the ideas for counting down to Christmas that are out there, and this is a great round-up of them!

I love these! I'm amazed at all the ideas for counting down to Christmas that are out there, and this is a great round-up of them!
Guest - Deb @ Living Montessori Now on Friday, 29 November 2013 05:33

This is wonderful, Jacquie! Thanks so much for sharing your printables! I featured your photo and post in my Christmas Countdown Activities post. :)

This is wonderful, Jacquie! Thanks so much for sharing your printables! I featured your photo and post in my Christmas Countdown Activities post. :)
Petrina on Thursday, 26 November 2015 13:36

I cant believe that you would do all this for others. I can not thank you enough. Time with my children is so precious and to be able to not only have these ideas but for me to be able to print them off and put in to their calendar instead of the sweetie is fantastic-THANK YOU! xx Merry Christmas!

I cant believe that you would do all this for others. I can not thank you enough. Time with my children is so precious and to be able to not only have these ideas but for me to be able to print them off and put in to their calendar instead of the sweetie is fantastic-THANK YOU! xx Merry Christmas!
Eleanor on Wednesday, 07 September 2016 06:30

Thank you

Thank you
Guest - Jessica Petersen on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 05:04

Wow, this is a great list of advent calendar activities! I love how you included so many different choices...that will really help personalize it for our family. Thanks!

Wow, this is a great list of advent calendar activities! I love how you included so many different choices...that will really help personalize it for our family. Thanks!
Guest - Kara Carrero on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 12:03

We're always in search of great Christmas traditions and unique ways to spread love and thankfulness in that time. I love the acts of kindness advent ideas. What a perfect way to reset our attitudes during the winter season.

We're always in search of great Christmas traditions and unique ways to spread love and thankfulness in that time. I love the acts of kindness advent ideas. What a perfect way to reset our attitudes during the winter season.
Sarah on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 12:54

These are awesome Advent ideas. I love the fact that they are simple ways to slow down and bring the family together during what can become an unnecessarily stressful time of year. Thanks for sharing!

These are awesome Advent ideas. I love the fact that they are simple ways to slow down and bring the family together during what can become an unnecessarily stressful time of year. Thanks for sharing!
Guest - Jodie Rodriguez on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 13:48

We are homeschooling this year so this will be perfect for us this holiday season.

We are homeschooling this year so this will be perfect for us this holiday season.
Guest - Jen on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 13:56

I have just pinned this as I am working on my advent activities! I went to a sewing retreat this weekend and finally made the advent calender that has been in my cupboard for the last 8 years!

I have just pinned this as I am working on my advent activities! I went to a sewing retreat this weekend and finally made the advent calender that has been in my cupboard for the last 8 years!
Guest - Christina on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 21:27

What a great list to help countdown the days until Christmas. This printable will be perfect for families with young kids.

What a great list to help countdown the days until Christmas. This printable will be perfect for families with young kids.
Guest - Erin Buhr on Thursday, 06 October 2016 14:21

This is such a well rounded list of things to do. I love the ideas for giving to others. That's something I'd like to emphasis more with my kids. I'm printing these out for this year!

This is such a well rounded list of things to do. I love the ideas for giving to others. That's something I'd like to emphasis more with my kids. I'm printing these out for this year!
Guest - Helen on Thursday, 06 October 2016 15:30

Wow, so much inspiration! Fantastic collection of ideas.

Wow, so much inspiration! Fantastic collection of ideas.
Guest - Rachel on Saturday, 08 October 2016 12:31

Love these ideas and how they are all family oriented.

Love these ideas and how they are all family oriented.
Guest - Deirdre Smith on Monday, 10 October 2016 14:58

I love that you include ways to give to others and get outside!

I love that you include ways to give to others and get outside!
Guest - colleen on Monday, 10 October 2016 23:53

There are so many great ideas here! It's good to get a head start on holiday planning. Advent calendars always sneak up on me!!

There are so many great ideas here! It's good to get a head start on holiday planning. Advent calendars always sneak up on me!!
Guest - Stef on Sunday, 16 October 2016 01:53

I grew up in Romania and advent calendars were not part of the holiday traditions. After going through your list, I have to say that I'm very much tempted to start a new Christmas tradition for my family :)

I grew up in Romania and advent calendars were not part of the holiday traditions. After going through your list, I have to say that I'm very much tempted to start a new Christmas tradition for my family :)
Guest - Renae on Friday, 21 October 2016 02:09

Such a great list! We love our Christmas countdown. The kiddos look forward to it every year. I'm going to definitely show them these ideas and let them choose which ones they want to include!

Such a great list! We love our Christmas countdown. The kiddos look forward to it every year. I'm going to definitely show them these ideas and let them choose which ones they want to include!
Guest - Victoria@SquigglesandBubbles on Friday, 21 October 2016 21:30

What a fantastic roundup of advent activities!

What a fantastic roundup of advent activities!
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