24 Family Friendly Advent Activities
I love Christmas time and everything that goes with it but it all passes so quickly. I always try to stretch the Christmas feelings out for the full month and I do this is various ways.
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We have 2 elves that visit us for the whole of December. They bring the children’s advents, small crafts and gifts each day and create all sorts of mayhem at night.
It’s a wonderful extension to everything Christmas and we’ve been doing it for 10 years.
The elves show up and bring small gifts each night after they have been to the Noth Pole to keep Santa up to date with the kids behaviour. They then get up to all sorts of mischief around the house.
We started an amazing logbook right at the start where we keep photographs, funny stories, letters to santa etc and over 11 years its turned into a huge memory bank of all our christmas fun.
My kids actually look forward to the coming of the elves on the first of December more so than Christmas!
There’s nothing nicer than snuggling under a cover with one of my little ones (or not so little ones these days) and having an excited chat about their favourite Advent activities.
I thought I’d list some of the other activities we do, to spend quality time together celebrating the festive season.
24 Family Friendly Advent Activities
Put Up The Christmas Tree.
This one most people already do. We put our tree up at the start of December (much to my husbands annoyance)
There is nothing better than the soft glow from the twinkly lights of the tree when the lights are low and we’re all snuggled up. I let the kids help with the tree and then ‘fix’ it later(shh don’t tell them)
Our tree is full of odd baubles and miss-matching colours but each thing on there has some memory to go with it. It’s definately a family affair with hot chocolate and popcorn added to the mix. It’s a little trickier this year as my mini man Aj is only 1 and loves to touch the sparkly breakables.
Listen to Christmas music and sing ALL the time.
In the words of Buddy the elf “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear”.-Elf
And if you’ve never seen Elf, you MUST WATCH it. I’m not a fan of Will Ferrell, but we all LOVE this film!
Decorate a tree in the woods or your garden for the birds.
We love walking in the woods and try to find a perfect Christmas tree shaped tree each year to decorate. Although this year I’ve been a little poorly, so we chose a tree in our garden and decorated that. Check out my post on How to make a Winter buffet for the birds.
Create A Santa Plate.
This is a lovely tradition for kids to start. We do this every year and its a beautiful memory when we bring them out each year. We make a plate for Santa’s mince pie and carrots on Christmas Eve.
Such a personal memory and craft. We just bought some permanent markers -like the ones above-and cheap charger style white plates from the supermarket. We used an old Christmas colouring book for ideas on what to draw and the kids go for it. Why not do one each year?
We keep these mostly for display so they don’t need washed.
Make Snow Globes
There are lots of DIY kits out there for snow globes but I love this simple idea from Our Best Bites.com isn’t it cute?
Make A Decoration For The Tree.
Each year we make something different for our tree. Salt dough shapes covered in glitter, lolly stick crafts, DIY baubles. One of my favourite is these snowman hanging baubles.
First 6 Down any favourites yet? Here’s 6 more..
Bake For The Neighbours.
Each year we bake a sweet treat for our neighbours. We made Christmas muffins this year and decorated them like Christmas Puddings. Yum! Get the recipe here.
Take A Walk To See The Christmas Lights.
There are so many lights and decorations these days that it’s fantastic walking or driving around town.
I have been known to print off Christmas lights bingo sheet for kids to have fun with in the car.
It makes it a game and by time we get a bingo everyone is ready to head home for hot chocolate and cookies. Download my version here at CHRISTMAS LIGHTS BINGO
Read Some Christmas Stories
Read together under the tree lights. All snuggly with a warm drink, a blanket and a good story. Bliss!
My absolute favourite book for younger kids is “The Smell Of Christmas” This beautiful story by Patricia Scarry.
Each page focuses on a different smell the little bear can smell asking “Is It Christmas Yet?” it actually brings me to tears each Christmas.
I use this book with my mindees too as we have a plate of the different smells to investigate as we read along, cinnamon, gingerbread cookies, pine needles candy canes etc. Its a very sensory book and I love it.
The book comes with scented patched on the page but our book is really old and has lost the scents so we make them for real with bowls of cinnamon, gingerbread and pine needles etc.
” I think I smell Christmas…”
Can you believe how many fun things there is to do?
Visit A Christmas Fayre.
There are good and bad fairs these days but with a bit of digging around you can pick out a few really wonderful ones.
Get some photos with Santa, have a mince-pie or 6 (just me?) Or just soak up the atmosphere and buy a stocking filler or two.
The sparkly lights really help make me feel so full of Christmas spirit. I usually try to but some hot chocolate cones for our Christmas Eve box from our elves or some Magic Reindeer Dust.
Make Salt Dough Decorations
So easy but really effective craft. Perfect for any ages now can be dried in the microwave. This post from funhandprintartblog.com shows you how to make the dough and an amazing Reindeer foot print. Have some fun with it and let me see your creations.
We’ve made snowmen and even a mini family of us so use your imagination. Oh and if your short on time like me you can also dry this in the microwave just lay it on greaseproof paper and microwave in short 30 second bursts and turn over each time. It’ll be dry in about 4 minutes and the kids can continue their craft and paint them.
We use gingerbread men shaped cutter to shape the biscuits then decorate them to look like gingerbread men, snowmen or even reindeers like these ones from Thepurplepumpkinblog.co.uk
12 Done we’re half way there! How many of these Family Friendly Advent Activities have you tried?
Make Your Own Gift Wrap.
We spend a little time making our own wrapping paper. We use a roll of lining wall paper and our giant bag of Christmas cookie cutters and some red and green paint to design our paper.
Just dab the cutters into the paint and print the shape onto the lining paper. We sometimes fill in the shapes as well as using glitter glue and stickers to personalise the paper more.
Build A Gingerbread House
Another great tradition we’ve adopted is to make a gingerbread house each year to decorate our table. We don’t eat it usually as it becomes a mix between a scent in the air and a pretty decoration.
Donate To A Toy Or Food Drive.
It’s a lovely time of year to encourage kids to think of others. Our children have so much choice these days that they don’t understand how lucky they are and that others might not have as much to celebrate.
The elves that visit us each year often give my kids challenges to help others. Things like donate tins to food bank, or try and find some old towels for the dog shelters etc. so we try to encourage them to help where they can.
Make a wreath for the door.
Every year we make a wreath for our front door and a lovely garland for our fireplace. The kids love walking in the woods looking for inspiration for our wreath.
We’ve used pinecones, glittery acorns and small twigs before to enhance our wreath. We collect lots of leafy bits from my garden and we put it all together.
Watch some Christmas movies.
Apart from Elf, our favourite at the moment is the Polar Express. Although I do have a special place in my heart for Barney the big purple dinosaur. I love the “Night Before Christmas” DVD where the children and Barney go to see Santa at his home and “A Christmas Star” are wonderful for younger kids. So many lovely songs. It will always be a favourite for us.
Visit Santa, a reindeer parade or pantomime
Each year we try to get to the Pantomime or the town lantern parade or the reindeer parade that ushers in Santa. It’s a busy event and it starts off the season for us. They give out antler headbands and we stand watching for Santa and his reindeers to ride past in a small procession.
This year we saw Jack and the bean stalk! Oh no we didn’t
Ready for the last 6!!
Make Paper Chains Or Popcorn Garland For The Tree.
We also make snowflakes to hang. This is a wonderful chilled out activity to do with the kids before bed. Why not use them to decorate the kids bedrooms too.
Make And Deliver Cards To Your Neighbours.
For the little kids we’ve made reindeer cards this year so simple but very cute. Instructions are from here.
Write A Letter To Santa
Every child loves to write to Santa to ask for that one special gift.
In the UK you can write a letter to the royal mail, (who obviously deliver it to santa) and get a lovely letter back.
My kids use a short cut and use the shopping catalogues to cut out pictures to make a wish list.
The final wish list normally ends up as thick as the gift guide but its become a tradition now.
Make Tags From Last Years Cards.
Some of these cards are beautiful and it’s such a shame to throw them away so we make them into Christmas pictures and gift tags.
Decorate Your Children’s Bedroom
My kids love to decorate and we make paper chains and different decorations so they can have their room as they like.
Open An Advent Calendar.
Advent can be counted down in all sorts of ways from burning a candle each night to eating a square of chocolate each day whichever method you chocse, an advent calendar is a wonderful way to see in those December days.
It helps children to see in a physical way how the time is passing and provides yummy chocolate too.
And of course..
Have a party.
We have a gingerbread decorating party every year before my childminding closes for Christmas. It’s a wonderful afternoon.
We line the table with gingerbread shaped biscuits, various shaped sweets and sprinkles. It’s lots of fun for everyone. I keep cellophane bags, handy to pop the biscuits in so the kids can take them home.
We’ve done gingerbread men, houses, snowmen and this year will be large reindeers to decorate.
What do you do to prepare for Christmas? How does your family await the long nights till Christmas day??
Drop us a comment and let us know!