All around the world teachers are planning Christmas activities for their classrooms. Trees, cards, calendars, small and big decorations…a huge amount of arts & crafts activities where children explore glitter more than at any other time of the year!
Advent calendars are one of the main things we all do to explore Christmas traditions and also help children to understand if “Is it Christmas yet?”.
However, advent calendars are also a great tool for promoting the development of cognitive skills with little ones. Calendars in general are a physical representation of moving forward in time which helps children to develop their sense of time. Working number recognition and counting are also maths skills we must take advantage when exploring an advent calendar.
But why not make your own Advent Calendar with your children? Here are 4 simple and yet very funny ideas of how to make an advent calendar with your kids.
1- Boxes and Wraps Countdown Advent Calendar
We think this is a good idea to involve parents as they can contribute with something to a common Advent Calendar.
Ask parents to, with their children, wrap or put into small boxes something that can be shared with the full group, such as: a book, a poem, a toy, a musical instrument, a Christmas ornament, etc)
With children, count the numbers of days an advent calendar must have and write them in card paper
Stick the number in the wraps and boxes
Decorate a tree branch as children suggest
Hold the wraps and boxes in the branch using some ribbon.
2- Reindeer Garland Advent Calendar
Christmas brings Reindeers – the Santa’s helpers and all children love these red nose animals so why not include them in your advent calendar?
Collect 25 yogurt pots or vases
With children, paint them with brown paint or cover them with brown paper
Let children make or use bought eyes, noses and antlers and display them into the vases/pots
Make 2 holes in each side of the pot and connect them with ribbon
Use pegs to put the numbers and hold the vases/pots
Put a Christmas feeling/value (love, solidarity, friendship, etc) inside of each vase and explore it as a group each day
3- Surprise Tray Advent Calendar
How creative is this idea? One of our favorites!
We think this is the perfect advent calendar to make with children with 2 to 3 years old.
Bring 2 cupcakes trays and, with children, put small toys inside of each hole
Cut some circles from card paper with the hole size
Give those circles to children to decorate as they wish (painting, cutting & sticking, printing, etc)
With blue-tack cover the holes with the circles.
Write the numbers in different color paper and stick them on the top of the circles made by children
Cool tip: Involve parents and ask them to bring an handmade Christmas ornament. Put them inside of each hole of the tray. Every day, when you open the circle with children you can put the ornament in your classroom Christmas tree.
4- Christmas Rhymes Countdown Advent Calendar
This can be a good idea for a baby room as children can not only help decorating some parts of it but also enjoy the rhymes of each day. Rhymes are one of the best ways of developing children’s language skills and Christmas has plenty of them.
Give a big sheet of card paper to babies and let them spread and explore painting on it
When dried, cut the paper into 25 small squares
Stick Christmas rhymes on the squares
Write the advent calendar numbers on pegs
Stretch some ribbon on a colorful board and display the rhymes cards with the pegs.