With so many treats and sweets this time of year, the last thing kids need is another piece of chocolate (that is, let’s face it, usually terrible). There are so many great ways to count down the days until Christmas, from building a scene day by day with a Lego or Playmobil Advent set to games or puzzles.
We’ve rounded up our favorites for littles, tweens, teens and even the adults in the house. Countdown to fun!
Advent calendars that will keep kids engaged all month long
Open a new squishy animal friend each day for the 24 days leading up to Christmas. Whether your kiddo likes to collect these, play with or squish them, this is a fun way to count down the days!
This Christmas-themed slime assortment comes with eight pots of slime along with a variety of add-ins and charms. With names like Peppermint Bark and North Pole Hot Cocoa, your slime-loving kid will enjoy them all. The product page states that their slime meets US standards and is non-toxic.
Kids can race to Christmas with Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally and Doc Hudson mini cars. This calendar includes 25 objects to open, including parts of a racing track that can be reconfigured in three different ways for racing fun.
Open a new door each day leading up to Christmas and find a new DC villain or hero, holiday style! These 24 Funko Pop pocket figures feature heroes and villains dressed for the holidays or in gingerbread person form. Funko Pop Advent calendars are also available for Pokémon, Marvel, Disney and Dragon Ball Z.
Barbie fans will love opening each door to find a new Barbie accessory! On day one, reveal the Barbie doll, then open more doors to reveal cute winter outfits, pets and accessories. The pets even change color with warm and cold water.
Get ready for holiday get togethers with this cute charm bracelet advent calendar. The set includes two bracelets and a variety of brightly colored Christmas themed charms and beads. Since there are two bracelets, a mother and daughter, sisters or BFFs can share!
Lego Friends has a new Advent set for 2023 that includes a fun collectable to open each day to make a winter scene. The set includes two mini figures and eight pets along with a Christmas tree and other fun objects. If this set isn’t to your kid’s taste, Lego also offers Advent sets in the themes of City, Marvel, Star Wars and Harry Potter.
Create a scene day by day with this fun Playmobil set. Set up the Santa’s Toy Shop backdrop then open a door each day to reveal another figure, toy or object to add. Includes four figurines, a Christmas Tree, a snowman and many other fun accessories to complete the toy shop. Other available Playmobil Advent calendar sets include a winter baking theme, Heidi’s Winter World, Back to the Future, Fire Rescue and Construction, Pirate’s Cove and more.
Unwrap holiday travel without the hassle! Visit 24 countries from the comfort of your home during the month of December.
For tweens and teens (yes, they still want one)
Tweens and teens can glam up this holiday season with Sephora. For 24 days, open skincare, makeup, accessories and even perfume. You’ll get 18 full-size and two travel-size products, plus four accessories.
Tween or teen lovers of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” will love opening a different Funko Pop figure from the movie each day. The set includes 24 pocket-sized figurines.
Have a fan of fantasy and adventure in your house? If so, this Dungeons and Dragons advent calendar is a must. From ornaments and stationery to computer and cell phone accessories, each day holds a new surprise to help you in your quest. Don’t have a D&D fan in the house? Maybe this calendar will inspire your family to give this game a try.
For adults (why should the kids get all the fun?)
For people with a friend or parent in their life who loves hot sauces, heat up their holiday season with this calendar. Open a 1.75-ounce bottle for 12 days that range from sweet and savory to mouth-meltingly hot! With names like Zombie Apocalypse, Reaper Evil or Psycho Curry these will spice up the holiday!
For stressed out parents, what could be better than a spa in the shower? These 24 shower steamers are handmade with essential oils and gentle exfoliating salts. Use these as scented steamers by placing them in a corner of the shower for a spa-like experience or as a fizzy exfoliator.
With wines from some of the best regions in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and California, this one will have you saying cheers each night. As you might expect, 24 bottles of wine (even the mini ones in this option) will set you back a bit, so this one is a splurge. It would make a great gift for a wine-loving friend or family member!
For the whole family
Will a puzzle a day make Christmas arrive more quickly? Each day, put together a mini puzzle with an image of a family tradition as seen through a snowy window. Once all are finished. Put all of the puzzles together to form a larger scene. These puzzles contain 50 pieces and measure 3.5 x 4.3 inches each, so this might be better for tweens, teens or the whole family.
Get kids off of their screens and enjoy playing together during the Christmas season with the family games advent calendar. Open a new game each day from retro games such as marbles, jacks and cat’s cradle to dice games. If games aren’t your family’s thing, check out these magic trick and science experiment advent calendars by the same company.
DIY Advent Calendars
If you have Adobe Photoshop Elements 15, you can create this fun, custom calendar. Each day, you open a card with a photo and a handwritten activity such as a pic of a bike or board game and a suggestion to do the activity that day. The post offers step-by-step instructions to make it perfect for your brood.
Check out this super-easy craft for toddlers and preschoolers. You can make this with craft supplies and it’s perfect for little hands to help count down the days.
The holidays are about more than just giving and getting stuff. Take a step back from the materialistic side of the season with this kindness calendar. You can cover each day with paper and make the reveal part of the fun, then get out there in the world and spread some kindness. You can customize this for any age.
Looking for an advent calendar you can use again and again (and again)? This fabric wall hanging is your answer. Only basic sewing skills are needed to create this sweet advent calendar, then spend the month of December watching the bear travel around the house looking for Christmas. Pro tip: If you have multiple children, figure out a system in advance for who gets to move the bear each day!
More holiday fun
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