I love advent calendars and there are so many great ones out there. I have been dreaming of making this advent calendar since about February- and it took me about that long to get all the lids from baby wipe containers I needed. What I love about it is that I control what’s in it. As Halloween reminded me my kids and artificial flavors/ colors are just not a good mix. I love treats and enjoy sharing them with my kids but a calendar like this where you control the treat is the best way to go for us. Be sure not to miss my screw ups so you can learn from them!
- Gather your materials. You will need 24 or 25 ( depending on if you include 25 in your calendar – I do) flip top wipes lids. Lots of things have these lids all mine came from baby wipes. You will also need spray paint for the lids- Make sure it is for PLASTIC. I grabbed mine in a rush and the red was good for plastic the white…not so much. I had some flaking already. The paint made for plastic should be a ok. Also a drop cloth, canvas or a poster paper, ribbon, christmas themed card stock, glitter number stickers, white card stock, hot glue , fine tiped pen, pinking sheers, plain paper.
- Start by spray painting your lids, I did the inside then the outside. Let dry.
- Spray paint your poster if it’s not the color you want it to be or like me just want it to be extra pretty.
- Now make the numbers. I cut one piece of christmas themed card stock per flip top and one smaller piece of white card stock, and put the number stickers on. I used an extra lid to make sure it would cover the brand on the top.
- I laid the paper numbers out before gluing them on. You may notice I ran out of the number 2. I was so careful to make sure I had enough number 1s … so I ran back to the store. I wanted this to look whimsical and home made so I didn’t use a ruler, I just eyeballed everything.
- Some of the lids still had the sticky residue from where they were attached to their plastic container which was great for spacing them out. Many still needed to be hot glued on.
- I glued the paper on with hot glue, regular white glue just didn’t work.
- Make a bow by tying two loops together ( think tying your shoes with bunny ears) hot glue the ends to the back. Sorry about the dark photos I have a 16 month old who thinks we are 2 parts of one person and needs to be attached at all times, I had to maximize the happy seperation time to the fullest.
- Now time to write out all the activities I balanced them out with lots of activities like an indoor snowball fight, cutting our own Christmas Tree and setting out our nativity scene as well as a few candy canes, small toys and baking cookies. I also put some giving back like choosing a toy for toys for tots, and canned food for our local food bank.
- I cut each sentance out with pinking sheers and popped them in the doors.
- Hang Up. As you can see I have a 25 door on ours, many people do not add actual Christmas Day. I did because last year my son opened his 24th door and proclaimed it to be Christmas and while it didn’t take too long to explain the confusion he was genuinely disapointed. So I added one to open on Christmas Day too.
I hope you like this, even if you don’t please lie to me. I have been bursting at the seams to make this and share it with you all, and finally I had enough time to manage! Back to stuff for the kids to make and learn tomorrow !
Doing projects with your kids is supposed to be fun for everyone, but when your kids are far apart in age it can be challenging. This project is perfect for different ages! Since having my daughter last year one of the most common questions I get is ” How do you craft with both kids?” Some days I do just a baby project, some days just a big kid one but there are times that we can all work together despite the almost 4 year age gap. This color mixing activity was perfect . They each had their parts and we had a blast being color scientists although if you ask my son his sister was his lab assistant not a full scientist, that is only for big kids.
- Gather your materials. You will need some good quality zip lock bags, shaving cream, some paper, crayons or markers, and food coloring.
- Start by making a simple chart showing the colors to mix , leaving the result blank. Make sure you have the correct color of marker or crayon available for the result. We made 4 colors, adjust the number of colors based on the attention span of your “scientists”.
- Add shaving cream to the zip lock. My son helped me with this step- he was so excited. I love when simple things make his day!
- Add the food coloring. We added 2 of each color but then increased it to 5. Look now they are counting too , I love when projects span many subject areas.
- Zip it up , making sure to squeeze out some air so when your “lab assistant” squishes it that the bag doesn’t pop.
- Squish! Until the colors are all mixed.
- She loved squishing, just watch they do not put it in their mouth. Whenever you are working with toddlers or infants you must always be within arms reach. Label the colors, use descriptive words while they explore.
- Come back and record the results by finding the correct color and completing the chart.
- Talk about the results. Ask if any colors were surprising , which color do they like the best and why?
Crafting, teaching or just generally parenting is different with multiple abilities but with a little effort you can find activities that can be done at the same time for every child in your care. We had a blast and another real benefit of a cooperative project like this is that your kids are working together something that isn’t always so easy to achieve.
I love glitter and it’s a good thing because my kitchen , my son and I are all covered after this and we bought pre-glittered stuff! I figure a little extra sparkle is never a bad thing! This advent craft is a fun number search every day leading up to Christmas, it’s also a great Christmas centerpiece. My plan is to take each number off the tree and place it on to our Christmas tree ! These are great kid friendly ornaments that add sparkle but not a lot of cost to your decorating budget.
- Gather your materials. You will need some fun wire decorative branches, some snowflake ornaments, some labels ( pre cut circles ones would be way easier) some crayons, a marker and a vase.
- Start by writing out the numbers 1-25 on the labels. I didn’t have circle ones so we cut ours into circles but if i did this again we’d get pre-cut circle ones.
- Have your child color the numbers, and identify the numbers they are coloring too ! Yay Math!
- Cut into circles if you need to.
- Peel and place the stickers on each snowflake ornament. Press firmly.
- Hang onto the tree!
- Have fun counting down to Christmas!
The Little Drummer Mouse by Mercer Mayer is a beautiful book. The dedication to his grandchild is perhaps my favorite part even though the book itself is wonderful too! Read it and you’ll see ! The story is a retelling of the little drummer boy , but in this book he’s a tiny little insignificant mouse. At least he thinks he’s insignificant until he follows the bright star to the manger on the very first Christmas night! The little acorn drum that this little mouse beats is anything but insignificant and he is thrust into the spotlight as Baby Jesus likes his music best of all ! The illustrations are amazing, they have so much detail I find myself opening this book over and over to just look. Great book, the test is lengthy for toddlers but preschoolers and older will love it.
Merry Christmas, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff is an adorable little Christmas counting book. Most of the praise should really be on Felicia Bond the illustrator because the pictures take the cake on this one. The book follows the mouse as he decorates the Christmas tree, 1 Star… 2 angels… etc… It’s a perfect to read and then count the ornaments on your own tree. After reading it my son and I found 4 bells, and 3 trains on our own tree.
McDuff’s Christmas by Rosemary Wells was a classroom classic in my last year teaching. I think I read it every day for 3 weeks straight and then a few weeks after Christmas too! In it McDuff the little Westie dog saves the day finding Santa stuck in the snow! I love Susan Jeffer’s retro illustrations and the little details like the dad feeding the baby, the doggy sweaters the McDuff wears in the snow, and how Santa gave them all gifts they needed in the story . This book was never really put away after last Christmas and has been in bedtime reading rotation since, a definite favorite of my now 3 year old!
- Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper, a scrap piece of paper, some double stick tape or glue, a marker, scissors, some sparkle glue and stickers.
- Draw a rough draft of a Christmas tree with the numbers 1-24 on it, I organized it with one on the bottom and the numbers going up the tree numerically. With older kids having the numbers all over the place would add a search and find activity too !
- Cut out a tree from your green paper. I folded mine in half to make it symmetrical and even though it worked , it made a yucky line down the middle. So I would do that with a scrap and make a stencil them trace it and cut out . That was the last of my green paper though so I was stuck with it.
- Add your numbers , use your guide so you don’t end up with extra or not enough space on your tree! If you have an older child you will want to have a larger tree so there is enough space for them to write the numbers themselves.
- I added circles around the numbers to give my son a clear spot for the sticker to go but there is no right or wrong way to do it!
- Add sparkles if you so desire,I can’t imagine a tree without some bling!
- Glue or tape your tree to the back paper, and add a title if you want.
- As the days go by add your stickers- I added them here for you to see what it would look like closer to Christmas.