Monday, November 28, 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas Activity Advent Calendar - 40 Things to Make and Do with Kids for Christmas

With the Christmas season upon us I wanted to do something extra special for my kids this year. Do something that doesn't cost a lot, something to get them excited about Christmas, but most of all something to help them understand the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of giving during this season.

I am setting up my own "Getting Ready for Christmas" advent calendar filled with crafts, baking, and service projects. Every day starting December 1st we will be doing a fun craft or activity, baking something, or doing a service type project to get us psyched up to celebrate Jesus birthday on December 25th.  We will try do at least one thing each day, but I've come up with way more than 25 things. This gives us a bit of flexibility, plus my kids are never satisfied with doing only one thing a day so I needed loads of extras.  Check out the blog and Things I Like to Make on Facebook to see what we end up doing each day.

Here is the list of activities I have come up with for us to do:

1) Put up "International" Christmas tree and decorate it.  As we decorate our tree with all the ornaments we've gathered from all the countries we've visited while living in England, we tell the kids stories about what we did there.
2) Go to toy store (probably Toys R Us) and let the kids roam the aisles to get ideas for their Christmas lists.  Come home and write their Christmas lists.
3) Make candy cane ornaments by threading red and white beads on pipe cleaners.
4) Decorate a foam gingerbread house craft I picked up from Hobby Lobby.
5) Make paper snow flakes and hang on our house windows.
6) Make and decorate holiday sugar cookies.
7) Make pine cone birdseed holders.  Hang them in our trees in the backyard to help out our birdie friends this winter.
8) Draw a big snowman on paper and decorate him with white polyfil and make him boots, scarf, coal eyes, carrot nose and top hat.
9) Make salt dough ornaments in Christmas shapes and paint them.
10) Make a real gingerbread house and decorate it.
11) Make snowmen out of large marshmallows using toothpicks to hold their shape.  Use frosting to decorate.
12) Create a pictogram of the nativity scene in a old shoe box - make one each so the kids can each have one in their room
13) Melt crayon shavings in waxed paper and sandwich in between black holiday cut outs and use as sun catchers in our windows.
14) Make our own holiday gift wrap using butcher paper.  Have the kids use finger paints to make designs and add some glitter for a little something special.
15) Make our holiday gift tags to coordinate with our homemade wrapping paper.
16) Make a video of the kids singing Christmas carols and post it online for family and friends to see.
17) Make up holiday cookie plates and bring to our friends and neighbors.
18) Go through our old toys and pick out ones to donate (need ideas for places to bring them).
19) Draw a giant Santa and fill him in with cotton balls, bits of red cut out from magazines or cloth.
20) Make a Christmas tree painting on a canvas using the kids' handprints (upside down handprints in green and red fingerprints for ornaments).
21) Work together to write a Christmas story and have them illustrate the story.
22) Make finger puppets and have them act out the Christmas story.
23) Wrap presents with our homemade gift wrap and gift tags.
24) Make British Christmas crackers by wrapping toilet paper rolls with gift wrap and filling them with sweeties.
25) Sew a popcorn or Cheerios garland for a tree outside for the birds to eat.
26) Pick out a toy to buy and donate it to Toys For Tots.
27) Make up cookie plates and bring them to one of our local community services - police department, fire department, nursing home, etc.
28) Write out letters of "Christmas" and brainstorm holiday words that start with each of those letters.
29) Make real snowmen and snow angels (weather permitting we have snow)
30) Bring canned foods to local food bank
31)  Make Christmas characters out of toilet paper rolls - Santa, angels, elves, reindeer
32) Make paper chain garlands to hang on tree or around house
33) Make a Christmas candy tree - use a foam form and attach wrapped candies around it to make a candy tree
34) Make glitter snow globes from recycled glass jars.
35) Make reindeer gift bags from brown lunch sacks. Utilize them to give away cookies and candies.
36) On Christmas Day, have a "snow ball fight" with balled up wrapping paper
37) Pack up foods for our local Snack Pack program to help get other kids food on the weekends.
38) Drive around at night to look at Christmas lights along with going to see the Festival of Lights light show
39) Go visit Santa
40) Make a birthday cake for Jesus!!!

In conjunction with our fun activities we are going to do a Bible study utilizing the Jesse Tree.  The Jesse Tree is named from Isaiah 11:1: "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and branch out it's roots."  It is an interesting way to study God in the Old Testament and connect it with the Advent season.  I am utilizing as my source for the Bible verses and symbols to use each day.  You can check it out yourself and join us in our studies.

My hope is that this type of "advent" calendar can become a tradition and in the future the kids can help come up with the list of activities that we do.  Let me know of any fun things you do with your kids to get them excited for the holiday season.

1 comment:

  1. Awww I love this we do this every year..our december is jam packed with christmassy activities! I will definitely be using some of your ideas this year....thanks!