I love counting down to Christmas! The excitement and anticipation builds and culminates in the best day of the year! Today, Anne Campbell of MyLearningTable.com share some great countdown ideas with us.
Countdown to Christmas
Years ago, I made an advent calendar for my three boys that has little drawers that pull out. Each drawer is tiny, and I squeezed three little trinkets in each day's slot for tiny fingers to pry out. The first year, I put things like little candies, tiny plastic animals, bouncy balls, and finger puppets inside. The kids loved getting a tiny surprise each day as they counted down the days until Christmas.
With young children, something tangible helps them mark the passage of time between ‘now' and Christmas. This builds anticipation and also gives children a frame of reference for the holiday season. “How much longer until Christmas?” is easier to understand when they can see how many more drawers they will have to open first.
As my boys got older, I changed up the way I do the advent calendar for them. Out of necessity, I stopped putting little trinkets inside, because, honestly, it got difficult for me to come up with 24 times three affordable and small enough items each year. So, instead of ‘stuff,' I began putting ‘experiences' in the drawers. Now, I write out things to do on little strips of paper, and the kids take turns being the one who gets to open the drawer and read the task to everyone.
Since all of the drawers don't have to be filled in advance, I add to them as we go depending on our schedule. Some take us out of the house, some involve a craft or cooking, and some are as simple as reading a book together.
My family loves this tradition, and everyone looks forward to seeing what activities we will do each year. Even now that they are teens and beyond, my boys still have fun with this tradition.
If you would like to create a personalized advent calendar yourself, here are some ideas for activities to include:
- Pack a shoe box with gifts for a child in need, and drop it off.
- Read the Christmas story from Scripture
- Go see Santa.
- Make pet toys using pom-poms, bells, and elastic string for the animal shelter.
- Decorate a gingerbread house.
- Make a paper chain for the Christmas tree.
- Make gingerbread men.
- Plan a cookie swap with friends.
- Make ornaments with supplies found around the house and yard.
- Drop some change in the Salvation Army bucket.
- Volunteer at our local charity filling Christmas gift bags for kids in the area.
- Pack and mail a soldier care package.
- Go see Christmas lights.
- Make place cards for the family Christmas meal.
- Have a family game night.
- Learn Christmas songs to play or sing at the family Christmas party.
- Have a family movie night with one of your favorite Christmas DVDs and plenty of popcorn.
- Read a favorite Christmas book together.
- Make cards for nursing home residents, and deliver them.
- Go on a winter nature walk.
- Roll pine cones in peanut butter and bird seed and decorate a wildlife tree outside.
- Make Christmas gift tags using pieces cut from last year's Christmas cards and using a hole punch to make a hole to thread a piece of ribbon through.
- Make homemade peppermint bark.
- Go to a parade!
- Decorate paper bag luminaries.
- Bake cookies for Santa.
- Attend a candlelight Christmas Eve service.
- Make a breakfast casserole to put in the fridge for Christmas morning.
- Wrap gifts.
- Bundle up and go to the park for some exercise.
- Make reindeer food (recipe in the Christmas Activity Pack).
Freebie for You!
My free Christmas Activity Pack includes a Christmas Books for Kids Library Checklist, Copywork, Writing Prompts, Coloring Pages, Reindeer Food Recipe, and Notebook Pages. Click here or on the image below to get yours!
I hope your Christmas season will be merry and bright!
Anne Campbell, a former classroom teacher, is a VIPKID teacher, writer, editor, and homeschool consultant. A homeschooler for 15 years, Anne enjoys customizing learning experiences to meet the needs of her 3 boys as they embrace the lightbulb moments of discovery every day. In addition to teaching English online to kids in China, she teaches other homeschool children through literature study, research paper writing, and living history experiences. Visit Anne’s blog for help navigating everything homeschool, from early learning to college admission, at www.MyLearningTable.com. Follow Learning Table's adventures on Facebook and Instagram.