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How to make an activities advent calendar for older kids

How to make an activities advent calendar for older kids

Christmas is getting closer, and my social media feeds are filling up with ideas to make it “Pinterest perfect”. Elf on the shelf, Advent calendars and other Christmas countdowns are popping up everywhere, filled with little (junky) gifts or chocolates for the kids to have every day in the lead-up to the big day.

The thing is, I don’t want more clutter in my house, and my kids don’t need any extra reasons to eat junk food (there is already more than enough opportunities throughout December). I do, however, love the Christmas season. I love the anticipation that comes in the lead-up to the big day, so here is an idea for an activities advent calendar for older kids that cuts out the clutter, but still adds some general excitement to the countdown to Christmas.

Make a meaningful advent calendar

Grab an advent calendar with either pockets or drawers, but instead of putting gifts or lollies in each pocket, pop a little note into each one. You could even just fold up some notes, and peg them to some string with a number on each note.

Click here for a free printable Christmas notes design.

Sometimes the note might list an activity to do on that day at home, or an event we are going to, and sometimes it might just have a little message or saying. In our home, we have just one meaningful Advent calendar for the whole family, and the kids take turns of  pulling out the note each day.

If you like the idea but are stuck for ideas, here is a whole bunch that I have come up with:

Things you can make

  • Bake some food.
  • Decorate biscuits (even shop bought biscuits with a little bit of icing are a lot of fun).
  • Make a craft (click here for some ideas).
  • Make a gift.
  • Make a decorative garland for your bedroom/front door.

Things you can do

  • Deliver gifts to neighbours.
  • Design some Christmas cards.
  • Paint “snow” on the windows (if you don’t mind having to wash your windows in January).
  • Wrap gifts for siblings/teacher/friends.
  • Hang Christmas lights in the bedrooms.
  • Put up the tree.
  • Decorate the house.
  • Look at Christmas flash mobs on YouTube (my kids LOVE doing this!!).
  • Go for a drive to look at Christmas lights.
  • Go to see Santa (you are never too old!)
  • Go to a Christmas carol service or carols by candlelight.
  • Go to a preschool/playgroup Christmas party.
  • Shop for Christmas dinner (hey you have to do it anyway, make it sound like a treat).
  • Go to the end of year school concert/disco etc.
  • Watch a Christmas DVD (try Home Alone, Arthur Christmas, or Elf).
  • Read a Christmas story book.
  • Purchase some food or gifts for a local charity.
  • Read the Christmas story from the bible (Try Luke Chapters 1 and 2).
  • Listen to a Christmas CD.

Make an activities advent calendar for older kids

Other ideas

Of course, no-one wants to have to do a set activity every day for a whole month, so mix up the activities with some little notes that just contain a message to encourage and praise your child or an inspirational quote about Christmas. I’ve put together a Pinterest board with lots of Christmas quotes if you’re needing inspiration!

You could also put in a joke – here are a whole lot of family-friendly jokes.

The whole idea is to enjoy the anticipation of Christmas coming, without the lollies and junk that often seem to accompany it.

A kindness advent calendar is also fun:

Kindness advent calendar for older kids