Tuesday, January 14, 2014

DIY Advent Calendar and Winter Activity ideas

 So I forgot to post this during Christmas time (AGAIN!) but I thought I'd go ahead and share it now so that I can repost it next Christmas :)  Growing up we always had a Christmas countdown box that had different activities for each day.  I loved it and had wanted to do it with my own kids. I made this countdown a couple of years ago using craft scraps I had from other projects.  I did buy some new Christmas scrapbook paper...because who doesn't like buying new pretty paper!  Below I included the materials I used but you could use a variety of materials.

I also included the list of what activities we do leading up to Christmas.  I try to have a good mix of easy and more involved activities.  December is crazy busy so sometimes we only have time to eat a candy cane! Other days the activity might take the whole day.  I usually use a calendar and plan my advent calendar around the activities that are already scheduled (like parties, birthdays, school concerts, etc) And I've been known to switch things around the night before if I know we aren't going to have time! We are always looking for fun things to do so after you get some ideas leave a comment with some activities you like to do in the winter too!


How to make an Advent Calendar:

Materials:
2 pieces of 12x12 chipboard
hot glue gun
ribbon
assorted scrapbook paper
buttons, stickers, material for decoration
white cardstock
hole punch

Directions:
1) Cover both pieces of chipboard with a piece of 12x12 scrapbook paper.  This paper will be your background.  You won't see too much of it so solid colors or a small pattern work great.

2) Use a large piece of ribbon to make the hangar.  I cut mine to about 18 inches and attached an end to each of the top corners of the advent with hot glue.

3) Next, cut three pieces of ribbon about 3 inches each.  Use these ribbons and hot glue to attach the bottom chipboard to the top.  Connecting them with ribbon will allow you to fold the advent in half which makes storing it easy and protects it when you aren't using it.

4)  Cut a rectangle 3 inches wide and 4 inches long.  Fold the bottom of the rectangle up 1/2 of an inch. Fold the right and left sides of the rectangle in 1/4 of an inch. This will leave you with a folded rectangle about 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches.  Attach the rectangle to the advent by gluing the around the edges on the folded tabs ONLY. This should make a paper pocket on your calendar.

5) Repeat 24 times and glue them on the advent in rows of 4 across.  12 pockets on each chipboard.

6) Decorate each of the pockets with stickers, marker, fabric, buttons, extra ribbon etc.

7) Using the white card stock cut out rectangles measuring 2 in. by 3 in.  Make a hole punch in the top of each card and tie a small piece of ribbon through the hole.  The ribbon helps kids pull them out easier. Write down your winter activities and place one card in each of the pockets on your calendar.

Here are some of my favorite pocket designs:





List of Christmas/Winter Activities:
1) Put up the Christmas decorations
2) Eat a candy cane
3) Celebrate a birthday (One of my daughters has a b-day in Dec.)
4) Look at Christmas lights
5) Watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional
6) Read the Nativity story (we usually do this Christmas Eve)
7) Drink hot chocolate w/ marshmallows
8) Make a gingerbread house
9) Make Christmas cards
10) Secretly help a family in need
11) Bake banana bread
12) Write lists for Santa
13) Open a present (spoiler alert: It's always a new Christmas book! Act surprised!)
14) Go to Christmas parade (our town has a great one!)
15) Go to a Christmas party (or host your own!)
16) Read Christmas books
17) Watch a Christmas movie
18) Deliver treat plates to the neighbors
19) Build a snowman (if there's snow!)
20) Wear a Christmas shirt to school
21) Wrap presents 
22) Sing Christmas carols
23) Go to a Creche Show (our church does this every year. It is nativities from around the world)
24) Play a game as a family
25) Listen to Christmas music
26) Do a secret service for someone
27) Color a Christmas picture
28) Play charades with a Christmas theme
29) make a Christmas ornament
30) Watch a Christmas parade
31) Go Ice skating
32) Go Christmas present shopping for siblings
33) Hang candy canes in a neighbors tree
34) Read Christmas poems
35) Do Christmas dot a dots, crossword puzzles, etc.
36) Make paper snowflakes
37) Go sledding (if there is snow)
38) Visit Santa
39) Put on a Nativity puppet show
40) Wear a pair of Christmas socks

Alright, there's my list! Now it's your turn. What are some of your favorite things to do in the winter with your family? Maybe I can use some to get me through January and February :)

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