100 Activities for Your Advent Calendar {free printables!}

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 :) 

Advent calendar ideas and fillers - christmas activities for kids100+ Advent Calendar Ideas for Kids {printable!}

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!

 

Advent Calendar Ideas for families

Advent Calendar Ideas

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!

Snowman Fabric Advent Calendar

Reindeer Advent Calendar (love this vintage look!)

 

Plush Santa Christmas Countdown

Secret Santa Treasure Box Advent Calendar

Countdown Christmas Tree Advent Calendar

Or browse this huge assortment of Advent Calendars to find one that fits your family!!

 

 

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!

 

Advent Activity Ideas to use as calendar fillers for a Christmas countdown!

Christmas Outings for Families

  • Attend a holiday-themed story time at the library or bookstore
  • Visit Santa
  • Go cut/choose a Christmas Tree
  • 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

 

Printable Advent Calendar ideas and fillers

Advent Countdown at Home

  • Help with the holiday cards (put on stamps, draw pictures, sign your name)
  • Visit Santa's reindeer online
  • Play a holiday game -- a few of our favorites include:

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Journey

Christmas-opoly for Monopoly fans

Elf on The Shelf Naughty or Nice Board Game

and this *NEW* one this year -- Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Operation (put the Bumble together ;)

  • Sing Christmas carols & have the kids play along with some fun instruments
  • Decorate your room for Christmas
  • Look through old photos & family movies (& share memories of holidays past!)
  • Put up the Nativity together
  • 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!)

 

100+ Advent Calendar Ideas for your Christmas Countdown

Nature Activities for Your Advent Calendar

  • Enjoy an afternoon ice skating
  • Go sledding together
  • Take a winter walk and scout out the animals

 

Advent Acts of Kindness & Giving

  • 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 for the Salvation Army as a family
  • Adopt an angel from the Angel Tree
  • Sing carols at a local nursing home

Looking for more ideas?  Browse the FREE printable list of 30 Service Ideas & Gracious Giving tracking sheet to bring the spirit of the holidays to others this year!

 

Family-friendly Christmas Movies for Advent

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

 

Christmas Activities in the Kitchen

  • Bake cookies together
  • Make hot cocoa and add your favorite toppings
  • ‘Bake’ a holiday mix that will make the house smell yummy
  • Make snowman pancakes or Rudolph pancakes

 

Ideas for Advent Calendars

 

Christmas Crafts

  • Cut out paper snowflakes and hang them on your windows
  • Make your own ornaments
  • Draw a picture for out-of-town relatives
  • Make a pomander
  • Put together some Reindeer Food
  • Make a holiday card for your teacher or favorite neighbor

 

 

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

Enjoy the Holidays!

~ Jacquie

 

 

MORE HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES:

25 Free Printable Christmas Activities

30 Holiday Books to Pair with your Favorite Traditions

Christmas Play Ideas using Items from Nature

 

 

christmas free printable games

 

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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!!
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