Crafting+Fun

Advent Calendars

img_3669Our Wooden Advent Calendar

Celebrate and count down the days to Christmas with Advent Calendars. Beginning on December 1st, build the anticipation to Christmas by completing a different activity or project for each day.  Wanting to design your own advent project, here are some different ideas!

Family Holiday Activities: 

One of my favorites, this holiday activity calendar is family centered. Fun and simple projects are easy to adapt and individualize.  Click here to download a full copy of the Family Holiday Activities Advent.  Add your own ideas and celebrate the season in style. Some of the 25 ideas listed are:

  • Write a letter to Santa
  • Watch a favorite holiday movie
  • Read a holiday story
  • Make a Christmas ornament
  • Have a cup of hot chocolate
  • Have a slumber party by the Christmas tree
Random Acts of Kindness Advent

Pass on the gift of kindness and teach your child the importance of giving back to the community.  This Random Acts of Kindness Advent is filled with ideas on passing on the power of positivity. Click here to download a copy of Random Acts of Kindness Calendar. Add your own ideas for good will and consider posting below. Some of the 25 ideas are:

  • Smile to at least 5 people
  • Hold the door for someone
  • Pay for someone’s coffee or treat
  • Donate coins to charity
  • Donate a toy or book you no longer need
  • Help someone with a chore
A Bible Verse a Day Advent

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Write down your favorite verses from scripture or buy a pre-made poster that contains the story of the Nativity.  We purchased our calendar a couple years ago and love the picture so much, we reuse yearly.  Here are a couple websites with some lovely , affordable advent calendars.

A Christmas or Holiday Book a Day

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One year I picked out 25 Christmas and holiday books from my shelf.  I wrapped each book and had the kids open and read a holiday book a day.  Timing the books just right, I placed the Night Before Christmas on the 24th of December. As much as my kids LOVED opening a book a day, it was a lot of work to wrap all the books before December 1st.  Now, I collect the books into our big Santa bucket and have the kids choose a different book daily.

Workout Challenge

Two years ago, my husband and I started a fitness challenge for the month of December. Each year the daily challenges change but it gives us something fun to do as a family. These daily fitness goals are in addition to our 5 day a week workouts.  My husband usually designs our workouts, however one of my go-to sites for unique fitness is Bodyrock.com . I love their 12-24 minute workouts that I can do from home.  However, this fitness advent is a fun way to incorporate a little surprise into our day. Click here to download a full copy of the Fitness Advent Calendar.  Here are some of ideas we have added this year:

  • jump rope
  • pull ups
  • goblet squats
  • gator pushups
  • burpees
  • ab pikes
An Ornament a Day

Locate a small tree or decorate your family tree with a unique or small ornament a day. The dollar store is an excellent location to find a variety of inexpensive decorations.  Walmart and Target are other stores I have found a pack of tiny tree ornaments for a good price.

Have fun planning your advent activities!!

On Monday, our kindergartener came home with an assignment to create with apples.  Creative ideas came home with the assignment however, our own children had something special in mind.  The 5 year old wanted to bake, the 7 year old sew and the 3 year old wanted a volcano.  So off to the drawing board to create some unique projects.  Over the next couple posts, I will blog about the activities we designed. Along with projects, I created a unique early learning recording sheet we used for each activity (available on my Etsy page).

Day 1: Apple Art: Tie-Dye Apples and Sewing

For the first project, I printed an apple on cardstock and precut the center. I gave each child a recording page. In the top section, in the leaf, they wrote their name, date, topic and purpose for their project. The left circle is for the tools needed. I had the 5 year old draw picture while the oldest had to draw and label. Predictions came next as they considered what project they might do with the tools listed.  The last section was to record their results and rate the project.  Visit my Etsy page to see the recording sheet. 

After giving each child a set of markers and a coffee filter, I had them cover the paper with color. The more the filter is covered with makers, the easier for the magic, I explained!

Next,  I filled small cups with water, helped them fold their filters into a triangle and invited them dip the filter into the water.  Colors flowered together and the children enjoyed watching the magic of their art.  I squeezed the rest of the water and placed on a paper towel to dry.

After the filters had dried, we taped them on the back of the cut-out apple and glued a second piece of cardstock to the back of the Apple.

With their results in hand, the older kids completed their journal entry and rated the activity. As for my rating, it was a simple and inexpensive project that captivated even the youngest; well worth the time and effort.  Even looking at the project now, there are many different ways to make this project unique and fun.  We could have cut out the stem and leaf and added more filters.  The front of the project could have added some unique design. Have another fun addition to this craft, list it below! I would love to hear your ideas and feature in a future project!

Project 2: Sewing

Our next project was sewing.  I first pre-cut the apples from felt.

Then came the sewing machine where we stitched the apples.  This was by far the most exciting time for the kids (and the most stressful for me).

We turned our apples right side out and the kids stuffed each with batting. This took some work and was a bit tedious, but with help from their dad, apples were ready to sew closed.  We helped the oldest sew her apple, however, I gave the 5 year old something a easier to practice sewing (a paper bag punched with holes and a bit of yarn taped at the end for a needle).

After we were all done sewing, we hot glued some fabric leaves and stems (scavenged from outside) to their apples.

2nd project complete!!  Again, they completed their journals and rated their project.  How did I rate the 2nd project? It was inexpensive.  From Walmart, I picked up 6 pieces of fabric at .23 ($1.38 total) and .99 cents for fabric leaves (which my husband cut to resemble apple leaves).  We already had stuffing on hand but you could easily use bean, rice, strips of paper bags to fill your apples.  Adversely, this project was more time consuming and lost the attention of the youngest. However, The older two, LOVED every step (especially sewing on the machine). Craft day complete!