Winter Play

Countdown to Christmas: 24 Playful Days Advent Calendar Ideas

The Holidays are a time filled with family, friends, and joy no matter how you celebrate, so why not add to that excitement by counting down to Christmas with 24 days of holiday play!

For our DIY advent calendar this year, I filled 24 paper bags with the items needed for a new activity each day as well as a card with an invitation to create, play, or spend time together. Getting little gifts is nice, but for me, the gift of play and time together is even more important!

Now hear me out…It may seem like a lot of work to get this ready, and it is 🙃 but during the hustle and bustle of the hectic holiday season, having an activity ready to go for each day will truly feel like a blessing, I promise!

Here are the activities that I included in our DIY advent calendar plus a few extras. I am keeping it short and sweet here, but if you have any questions or if you want more details about any of the ideas here, please leave a comment or send me a message and I would be happy to help!

1. Christmas stickers & a mini notebook

2. Colouring Sheet + Crayons

3. Green Playdough, tree shaped cookie cutter and decorations like button and gems to make your own Play dough Christmas trees.

4. White playdough with snowman accessories like sticks, googly eyes, ribbon, buttons to make your own frost-free snowmen.

5. Popcorn and “Tickets” for a Christmas Movie at home

6. DIY wrapping paper; Include some Christmas shaped cookie cutters and have a roll of Kraft paper and paint ready to go!

7. Decorate Gift Tags; the perfect companion to your homemade wrapping paper! Include a pack of plain gift tags as well as some crayons, markers, glitter glue and stickers to decorate.

8. Christmas Stamps & Stamp Pad

9. Hot chocolate packs and an invitation for a snowy/outdoor play day!

10. Snowflake Popsicle stick ornament using sticks, glitter glue, gems, paint, and ribbon.

11. Pompom Ornaments. You’ll just need clear plastic ornaments and some Christmas pompoms!

12. Pipe cleaner candy canes; great way to promote patterning and fine motor skills. All you need are beads and pipe cleaners! Add a real candy cane for a treat too!

13. Fizzing Trees. To make, mix Baking Soda, a couple squirts of dish soap and just enough green water to form into a tree shape. Hide some sequins, beads or glitter inside the mix while forming. Let dry 24 hours before adding to the bags. Have Pipettes, vinegar, and a rimmed tray/dish ready to go!

14. Christmas Color Hunt with magnifying glasses or DIY binoculars.

15. Cookie mix for a day of baking together 🍪

16.  Jingle Bell noisemakers; decorate a large popsicle stick, string jingle bells onto the pipe cleaner and wrap around the popsicle stick. Then use your new instrument to have a sing-a-long!

17. Melted snowman goop: cornstarch + snowman accessories like buttons, googly eyes, and sticks, then just add water!

18. Q-tip painting on Christmas tree or ornament shaped cut outs

19. Handprint rudolph using brown paint, googly eyes, white glue and red pompoms

20. A card game to play together like Go Fish or Uno

21. Coffee Filter Snowflakes (coffee filters, markers in blues/purples, mini spray bottle with water, scissors)

22. Christmas confetti; a great fine motor activity! Include strips of red, green, white or yellow construction paper and scissors. Save the confetti for another craft 😉

23. Confetti Christmas trees! (I told you to save that confetti!) Use glue sticks or white glue and decorate a Christmas tree cut out.

24. Water play accessories like marbles, acrylic Snowflakes, pompoms, pipettes, etc. Add to a large bin the day of with some measuring cups, strainers and spoons and add water!

25. Christmas socks for a pajama day!

26. Make a paper Chain using strips of paper and glue sticks.

I hope you found these ideas helpful, whether you are using them for your own DIY Advent calendar or just need some quick ideas for playtime over the holidays!

May you be inspired to play always!

❤ Hannah

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