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 :)
Free Printable Advent Calendar Activities
In addition to the candy canes, we also like to include a 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.
All of our 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.
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. These double as a wonderful holiday decoration and will be one of the first things the kids will want to pull out each year. We're including affiliate links so you can learn more about the items on our list!
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.
It's great to have a large list to pick and choose from every year -- it always help to have a few back-up activities in case the weather or our schedules don't cooperate with one of our items. Links to the craft activities, free printables and affiliate links for items we've used at included in each category.
And to make things super easy (because like I said, the holidays are busy enough)
I'm including free printable slips for all the activities + blank ones
for your family to fill in with your own ideas!
You can find the links to all the printable activities & slips at the end of the post!
Attend a holiday story time at the library or bookstore
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
Take a sleigh ride
Attend your city's tree lighting
Go out for cocoa
Get into your pj’s & drive around to see the light displays
See a local Christmas show or play
Holiday Fun at Home
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 books for inspiration)
Visit Santa's reindeer online
Test each others knowledge of the holidays with these Fun Fact Cards from Teachmama
Write a letter to Santa with the fun online program!
Sing Christmas carols & have the kids play along with some fun instruments
Decorate your room for Christmas
Read a new book for the holidays
Look through old photos & movies (share memories of holidays past)
Put up the Nativity
Do a puzzle together (a holiday puzzle is a bonus!)
Have story time under the tree with the lights on tonight
Help decorate the front porch or put up the lights
Trim the Tree
Play a holiday game -- a few of our favorites include:
Connect Nature with the Season
Make these beautiful Nature Tags from Playful Learning
Enjoy an afternoon ice skating
Take a winter walk and scout out the animals
Make a bird feeder for our feathered friends
Quite a few ideas so I wanted to take a 'graphic' break and show you one of the printable sheets. Each one has 14 activities that can be cut into slips.
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!
Now back to the list of ideas....
Yummy in the Kitchen
Light the advent candle before dinner each night
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
Giving to Others
Deliver cookies to someone special or a community helper
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
Adopt an angel from the Angel Tree
Sing carols at a local nursing home
Cut out paper snowflakes -- try these amazing snowflake templates!
Make your own Advent Calendar together
Make your own ornaments -- try these 150+ ornament ideas curated by The Educator's Spin on It!
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
Make Reindeer Food
Make a holiday card for your teacher from Mama Pea Pod
Design a snow globe from Our Best Bites
Make a reindeer craft
(A handful of these are available for FREE with your Amazon Prime membership (you can Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial during the holidays!!)
Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas(one of our family's favorites!)
And if you like classic vintage Christmas movies, try these:
Visit our Activities for your Advent Calendar page to print off
your FREE Coundown lists!!
I hope this brings a little fun into your season --
Enjoy the Holidays!
MORE HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES:
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