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Making an Advent calendar



Suitable for children: 
Skills this activity improves: 
Homemade Advent calendar

Many cultures use an Advent calendar in the days leading up to Christmas. You could buy one but making one can be more fun. There are many ideas for simple calendars on the internet. One idea is to have 24 envelopes with each one containing an idea of something to do on that day. The ideas could include: make a wish list of presents, write some cards, read a special story, make a decoration, go for a walk to look at Christmas lights, do some cooking, sing some Christmas songs, and so on.

Write the numbers 1 to 24 on the front of each envelope. Your child might like to decorate them or even write the numbers themselves. You could either put them in a box or use pegs to hang them on a string in your home. Each day your child can open the next envelope and see what the idea is. Another version is to use 24 small boxes and include a treat in each one.

Materials you will need

  • Crayons
  • Paper
  • Envelopes
  • Boxes
  • Glitter
  • Pencils
  • String
  • Pegs

Alternative tools

  • Stickers
  • Cardboard

Why does this matter?

Children learn about time and how it is organised into days, weeks and months. They learn the names and order of numbers. They learn first, second, third etc, which are ordinal. They learn that print conveys meaning.

What does this lead to?

Children develop an understanding that time is a form of measurement and tells us how long until an event will happen. As children read the numerals they are learning that numbers are written in a sequence and that the number you stop on tells you how many. Opening the envelope and looking inside for directions and information helps children to develop an understanding that print conveys meaning. It also helps them to understand that we can take spoken language and write it down to share knowledge with other people, even if we are not there.

Language to use

  • Make, Advent, envelope
  • First, second, third, fourth, fifth
  • One, two, three, four
  • Next, today, tomorrow, yesterday
  • Calendar, week, month
  • Christmas, December

Useful tips

  1. You might also like to take a look at the Calendars activity.
  2. Remember it is important to talk to your child in your home language.

More ideas

  1. You could google together different types of activities or different ways to make an Advent calendar.
  2. Look for other activities relating to Christmas.
  3. Children can use calendars for other purposes too. For example, when they are going to the dentist, or to playgroup, or when there is a birthday.
  4. A counting down calendar can be good for when they are starting school or when their birthday is approaching.

Variation by age

Three to five year olds

  • A counting down calendar can be good for when children are starting school or when their birthday or other special event is approaching.  You can talk about how many days are left until the event.

Questions to ask

  • What day are we up to?
  • How many days till Christmas?
  • How many envelopes have we opened?