advent calendar countdown!

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and here we are again, nearly the beginning of december, otherwise known as 24 days of trying to think of something nifty to put inside the advent calendar every day!

a lot of bloggers talk about this and wonder what to put inside it. this year i want to avoid putting in candy (as if all the sweet things this time of year weren’t bad enough), stupid little toys or other objects (no more buying useless things that’ll just end up in the landfill) and money (yes, a few times that i just didn’t know what to put in, i just put in small coins). this year will be different because i’ve decided to propose a different fun activity to do together every day that everyone will enjoy!

alex from c’è crisi, c’è crisi has already put together a list of 100 activity ideas for the advent calendar for grown-ups, kidlets or both. i, instead, have decided to take this journey with you day by day, reporting what we do every day. if you suffer from a scarcity of ideas for your kids, i’d love it if you tagged along and did what i do!

and actually, to help anyone who wants to be led by the hand, i also thought i should give you some ideas to start with, seens as the advent calendar is opened in the morning and so you’ll need activity ideas to propose before i manage to post. i’ll add the ideas bit by bit onto my facebook page, so we can countdown together there, too!

first, let me tell you a bit about our advent calendar. i’m quite proud of it! it’s made of 100% upcycled materials (here’s how i made it) and it didn’t cost me even a cent. plus it’s fun and the kids love playing with the pieces. basically it’s a 3-D painted cardboard tree with numbered branches sticking out. kinder surprise eggs (thanks to my nephew, who consumes a frightening amount of the things) that are decorated in different ways hang from the branches. so every morning you look for the number of the date, you open the egg and you find some knicknack or a note with something written on it.

on the 1st day i start with gifts my mother gives me in advance for the first day of december. they’re already wrapped (so i never know what’s in them), so i fold a piece of paper inside the egg with a little map to find the hidden package. during the remaining days i will again put a piece of folded paper inside with hints to what type of activity we’ll do that day.

here are some of the things i’ve done in the past that could work well for your first advent calendar days: (update: and you can find all the activities that I did with my children here)

make homemade upcycled stamps and then make some stamped scenes (you can choose between styrofoam and plastic caps, craft foam and jar caps, foam puzzle pieces and caps or old flip flops)

make cloud dough with flour and oil

be bathtime artists with homemade bathtub paints

create imaginary animals (or whatever you want) with homemade play doh

experiment with the bizarre oobleck

use cardboard boxes to construct a play house, a washing machine, a garage, a mailbox or a dog

or use shoeboxes to build a mega house for dolls or other little toys or plastic bottles to make mini houses

recuperate broken crayons to make new super-colored crayons

paint something other than paper

fill balloons with flour or rice

make flower vases from recuperated bottles and colored tissue paper

invent a sock monster together

make a pen holder from an upcycled can

redecorate some boring wood furniture

make some portrait bookmarks as christmas gifts

i think that’s enough for now…or for the next twenty days! i’ll be back soon with the first days of the calendar and my review of a book that you do not want to miss out on! (update: here is what I did on each day of that particular year’s advent calendar)

8 thoughts on “advent calendar countdown!”

  1. I love your advent tree! And even more, I love the idea of giving "experiences" instead of gifts. I'm with you — I don't want to buy anymore useless knick-knacks that will just further clog landfills. A few ideas that I'm toying with: letting my children choose dinner (or dessert, etc) for the night. Making cookies. Doing a big puzzle together. Sharing a chore with them (not necessarily doing it for them, but helping them out on it).

  2. Brava Lisa, hai fatto un'ottimo lavoro!!! E quante idee, e tutte tue, che sei riuscita ad elencare!!

    Molti blogger "tecnici" consigliano di fare dei post cumulativi nei quali elencare i propri post con un tema comune e tu hai fatto un great job!!

    Mazza quante robe belle che hai fatto coi tuoi bimbi finora!!! Sono cosi' fortunate quelle due creature ad avere te come mamma!!!

    Non vedo l'ora di leggere il resto e iniziare con te questo viaggio….


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