100 Activities for Your Advent Calendar {free printables!} - Edventures with Kids

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100 Activities for Your Advent Calendar {free printables!}

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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 :) 


things to put in an advent calendar


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.



 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.  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!

Countdown Christmas Tree Advent Calendar

Snowman Fabric Advent Calendar

Plush Santa Christmas Countdown

Secret Santa Treasure Box Advent Calendar


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!


Family Outings

Attend a holiday 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

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

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

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


Connect Nature with the Season

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


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!


Free Printable Ideas for Your Advent Calendar




Now back to the list of ideas....

Yummy in the Kitchen

Light the 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


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


Ideas for Advent Calendars

Seasonal Crafts

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

Create gift tags from the kids artwork

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


Holiday Movies

(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!!)

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


Visit our Activities for your Advent Calendar page to print off

your FREE Coundown lists!!


  activities for your Advent Calendar



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

Enjoy the Holidays!

~ Jacquie



christmas free printable games


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




  • Guest

    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

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

  • Petrina
    Petrina November 26

    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!

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