We’ve put together the ultimate list of advent calendar activities for toddlers and kids of all ages so you can create the perfect plan for your family.
After all, advent calendars are a super fun tradition and a great way to get the whole family excited as they countdown to Christmas.
Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.
The Joy of Creating an Activity Advent Calendar
There are so many pre-filled calendars available that contain candy or toys, but these can get pricey to buy year after year.
Making an activity advent calendar is a fun alternative!
You fill the calendar with your own advent calendar activities making it personalized, as well as reusable each year.
Plus, this time of year there are candy and toys everywhere already. So making your own is one area where you can cut that back a little if you want.
It also motivates you to actually do all of those fun holiday things that we hope to do, but often life gets in the way and it’s busy and they just don’t always happen. You know, those things.
If you don’t have a refillable advent calendar, there is no shortage of beautiful options out there. Since you only have to buy it once, so you’ll save loads over the long term. They also make festive decorations.
How to Make Your Own
The easiest way to create your own collection of advent calendar activities is to purchase an easy-to-use refillable option.
Here are a few festive ideas that we LOVE:
The beauty of this festive advent calendar is that those little drawers aren’t only cute, but super customizable. Put your advent calendar activities on folded up pieces of paper in each drawer. If you want to get super fancy, add a little trinket or candy.
Pro-Mom Tip: Plan ahead for some of the simpler advent calendar activities for days of the week you are busier. The more involved traditions should be reserved for slower weekend days.
Keep track of which activities you place in each drawer so if plans change you can easily switch them around while the kids are asleep before they open them the next day.
This truly gorgeous piece is equal parts practical advent calendar and Christmas decoration.
There are so many intricate details that would be a festive addition to any table display. The little tree even spins around!
This one also has little drawers for endless examples of customization. However, due to the details.
Or Make Your Own!
If you’re crafty, you can always create a DIY advent calendar as well.
For instance, you can string mini stockings (like these!) to make one. Add some numbers (with chalk, felt, or embroidery) and call it a win!
The possibilities are endless, Country Living has tons of more adorable ideas.
The Ultimate List of Advent Calendar Activities
Once you have your calendar, coming up with enough activities to fill it can seem daunting. But don’t worry, we’ve done the work for you!
As we previously suggested, you won’t want to randomly stuff these in the calendar. That is, unless you love chaos and spontaneity.
Some ideas require a bit more time and preparation so you’ll want to plan when they fit best.
First, start with any known events that you already have planned. Use things like holiday concerts, local events, family get togethers or parties as the activity for those days. Then, simply fill in the remaining days with your favorite advent calendar activities from below.
If planning it all out seems overwhelming, I am right there with you.
Pro-Mom Tip: Take a procrastinating tip from me. My mom cheat is that I only fill in a few days ahead. I also make sure to have some super easy ideas at the ready to sneakily switch when the plans don’t pan out.
But without further ado, here are 40 amazingly fun and festive advent calendar activity ideas!
1 | Make a paper Christmas chain
This is a simple decoration that even young kids can make. We like to make this as a countdown to Christmas and tear off a link each day, but they also make a great garland.
2 | Watch a Christmas movie
Our favorites for little kids are Charlie Brown Christmas, Polar Express, and The Grinch. For more ideas check out our full list of the best Christmas movies for families!
3 | Visit the library for some new Christmas books
4 | Catch up with a friend or family member
5 | Wrap a gift
6 | Make reindeer food
We make reindeer food with oats, edible glitter and/or sprinkles. Then we save to spread on the lawn on Christmas Eve.
7 | Watch a Christmas choir or orchestra
There are plenty of music-related Christmas events to attend during the holiday season. Whether you want to see a big performance like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra or attend a local choir or holiday concert, there are countless musical performances that will deliver all the Christmas cheer you desire
8 | Make paper snowflakes
9 | Write a letter to Santa
There are so many ways to contact Santa nowadays. You can write the traditional letter or visit him at the mall, but you can also email him or have a virtual visit.
10 | Read your favorite Christmas book
You can’t go wrong with a classic like The Night Before Christmas. If you want some inspiration, we have a list of the best Christmas books for toddlers.
11 | Give a gift to a neighbor
12 | Drink hot chocolate
Sticking a candy cane inside gives it a festive (and delicious!) spin.
13 | Donate toys and clothes
14 | Sing Christmas carols
15 | Wrap a gift
16 | Build a Gingerbread House
You can certainly make the gingerbread from scratch, but we usually opt for a gingerbread house kit. It makes the process quicker and life much easier.
17 | Do a Christmas-themed craft
I think this paper plate Christmas tree looks easy and fun! My kids would have so much fun gluing on “ornaments”.
18 | Put up Christmas decorations
19 | Do some Christmas shopping
Let the kids pick out some gifts for the people they love like their grandparents or siblings.
20 | Go on a drive and look at Christmas lights
21 | Color some Christmas-themed drawings
This site has some cute coloring page ideas!
22 | Volunteer
23 | Play Christmas tree I-spy
On a neighborhood drive, search for Christmas trees in the windows of passing houses.
24 | Make salt dough ornaments
25 | Make and send Christmas cards
26 | Make a Christmas centerpiece
27 | Play Christmas games
28 | Wear Christmas PJs
Aren’t these the cutest?
29 | Decorate the tree
30 | Learn how to draw Christmas icons
31 | Wear a tacky Christmas sweater
These shirts by Lovekider are hilariously ridiculous.
32 | Go ice skating
33 | Learn about how Christmas is celebrated in different countries
34 | Watch family movies or picture slideshows from a past Christmas
35 | Have a snow fight
No snow? Make some!
36 | Bake Christmas cookies
37 | Complete a Christmas puzzle
38 | Have a Christmas photo shoot
Capture the Christmas lights, decorations, by the tree, making cookies, etc.
39 | Build a snowman
No snow? Make a “snowman” with marshmallows or cotton balls.
40 | Do a Christmas scavenger hunt
Check out our Christmas scavenger hunt ideas! We’ve made it super easy with several fun ideas and even free printable scavenger hunt checklists.
41 | Learn how to say Merry Christmas in different languages
42 | Check out local holiday events like parades, concerts, plays, story times, fairs, tree lightings, etc.
We hope you’ve been inspired to make your own activity advent calendar this year! For more inspiration, check out our ideas for 24 days of Christmas kindness!