Use this free printable set of Advent Calendar ideas & 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 :)
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 our 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 choose from 140+ Advent Activities & printables, all your favorite holiday movies, traditions, books & activities!
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 list of Advent Activity Ideas page to find more!).
Advent calendars 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!
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 during our holidays.
You can get a full printable list of ALL the ideas + Holiday planning page and Christmas activities in the Advent Pack too!
Christmas Outings for Families
Attend a holiday-themed 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 together (with marshmallows on top!)
Get into your pj’s & drive around to see the light displays
See a local Christmas show or play
Christmas Countdown 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
Play a holiday game -- a few of our favorites include:
Christmas-opoly for Monopoly fans
and this *NEW* one this year -- Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Operation (put the Bumble together ;)
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
Trim the Tree
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
Nature Activities for Advent
Try a few of these nature-themed play ideas
Make these beautiful Nature Tags from Playful Learning
Enjoy an afternoon ice skating
Go sledding together
Take a winter walk and scout out the animals
Make a bird feeder for our feathered friends
Advent Acts of Kindness & Giving
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
Our entire movie list can be found in the Advent Activity printable pack which will make planning your Christmas countdown SO easy!
Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas(one of our family's favorites!)
And if you like classic vintage Christmas movies, try these:
Christmas Activities in the Kitchen
Light an advent candle before dinner each night
Bake cookies together
Make hot cocoa and add your favorite toppings
Have Grinch kabobs for snack
‘Bake’ a holiday mix that will make the house smell yummy
Make snowman pancakes or Rudolph pancakes
Make a paper bag stocking ornament (it's a fun place to hide the Advent slips too!)
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
Put together some Reindeer Food
Make a holiday card for your teacher from Mama Pea Pod
Make a reindeer craft
I hope this brings a little fun into your season --
Enjoy the Holidays!
MORE HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES:
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