We are fast approaching December and advent. If you want to avoid the glut of chocolate now associated with advent how about devising an activity advent calnedar instead. This can be an inexpensive way to celebrate advent and lots of fun too for you and your children. Just get a festive box and write down 24 activities and put inside, or write on lolly sticks and put in a jar then choose one to do each day. Here are some ideas to get you going.
1. Lego/Duplo – most of us will have some Lego or Duplo at home so why not challenge your children to try building some Christmas items like a Lego Christmas Tree, Santa Sleigh, Snowman etc. You could do the same challenge with play doh.
2. Make some decorations – paper chains, decorate card circles as baubles or how about these adorable Santa Stars from Red Ted Art.
3. Visit your local Christmas lights – take a walk down your local high street and view the lights or you may have a particular street that goes all out on decorating their houses.
4. Christmas Baking -doesn’t need to be anything fancy. These upside down ginger bread men turned into reindeer are perfect.
5. Christmas Cards – Who doesn’t like receiving a lovely home made Christmas card? You just need a piece of card and you could use cotton wool to make a snowy scene, glitter to make a tinselly picture or how about this lovely Christmas tree design from Baker Ross.
6. Board games – a great idea for all ages. For younger children we always liked Incy Wincy Spider and older children games like Ludo can keep them amused for ages. Great for reinforcing turn taking, counting and literacy.
7. Christmas Nature Walk – Why not take a walk to your local park or woods and collect pine cones and see if you can spot some holly or a robin.
8. Visit your local garden centre – They often have lovely displays of decorations and Christmas trees and may even have a Father Christmas to visit – some for free.
9. Write a letter to Father Christmas – for younger children who cannot write, cut out pictures for them to stick on or for those that can write, some great handwriting practice.
10. Visit your local library and find some nice Christmas stories. Some of our favourites are Stick Man, The Night Before Christmas and Father Christmas Needs a Wee!
11. Make a bird feeder – The birds are struggling to find food at this time of year so how about making a bird feeder out of an old juice carton like this one we made at Arty Adventures in Guildford.
12. Have a Christmas boogie – One game I love to play at Christmas is to put some Christmassy music on and then when the music stops shout out a Christmas movement like roll like a bauble, Chuckle like Santa, Twirl like a snowflake.
13. Have a Christmas sing song – Even the smallest of children know Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and you could even add some jingle bells in a pot for all to shake.
14. Learn about Christmas in another country. Google will have lots of ideas but I love the book Jingle Bells by Iza Trapanzi which tells the story of Christmas in other countries to the tune of Jingle Bells.
15.Play Charades – a game that even small children can play if you give them a picture to mime out instead.
16. Go and see a local pantomime – this one is more of a treat but most local theatres have a Christmas production of some sort and it can be a lovely way to get into the Christmas spirit.
17.Christmas Dressing Up – grab a selection of Christmas hats and tinsel and dress up in a festive way. You can challenge each other to dress each other up or have a dressing up race.
18. Make jolly jars – take a old jam jar and decorate with stickers or glass pens and then fill with sweets and treats to give to a loved one.
19. Hand deliver some Christmas cards to neighbours – a great way to meet your neighbours and spread some Christmas cheer.
20. A great one for slightly older children – create as many words as you can from the letters in Merry Christmas.
21. Print off some Christmas puzzles, wordsearches, colouring pages etc – great to keep some for over the Christmas period too.
22. Tell some of your favourite Christmas jokes – here’s one to get you started. What is a monkey’s favourite Christmas song? Jungle Bells Jungle Bells Jungle all the way!
23. Do a Christmas Jigsaw puzzle.
24. A lovely activity to do on Christmas Eve is to have a special Christmas box with new pyjamas, a Christmas DVD and snacks that your children can unwrap and enjoy while they wait for Father Christmas.
Hope you have fun with some of the above idea and do feel free to share any of your own ideas.