Make your own DIY advent calendar for the countdown to Christmas!
We have over 30 ideas to get you started from kindness calendars to book countdowns, STEM challenges and easy print-and-colour activities.
All of these DIY’s can either be made by kids themselves OR by an adult for their kids to enjoy.
This roundup was first published in 2013 and has been updated and reshared for today’s audience.
There’s nothing like an advent calendar to get kids even more excited than they already are for Christmas!
We’re all familiar with the store-bought pre-made chocolate calendars. I admit, they make life easy and kids aren’t going to complain when you give them one, but they’re nowhere near as fun or memorable as making your own.
You can go all out and make something fancy filled with cool ‘surprises’ you source yourself, or you can do something as simple as a jar of craft sticks with a theme you choose (eg, acts of kindness, Christmas activities etc.)
Here’s a collection of over 30 easy advent calendars you can make at home from our archives as well as our blogging friends around the world. There’s something for everybody here. From crafty and creative to educational and family-focused.
Check them out…
Over 30 DIY Advent Calendars
Advent tree ideas
Trees make the perfect theme for an advent calendar. They’re symbolic of Christmas and made to be decorated!
- Love this quick and easy paper cup Christmas tree, by Messy Little Monster
- Make a paper tree using our free printable and decorate it with a bauble to colour each day. Low mess, low fuss! If your kids still want a ‘surprise’, you could scatter small candy canes, chocolates, or wrapped mini ‘presents’ for them to take each day
- The girls helped me make this recycled advent tree back when they were adorable little preschoolers. The surprise-filled parcels that are sections of cardboard tube wrapped in tie-died paper towel
Lego Advent Calendars
Kids adore LEGO. You can create your own LEGO themed calendar using the bricks you have already at home.
- How cool is this lego advent calendar by Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls? It’s so clever and if you already have the lego at home it won’t cost you anything at all
- This lego building challenge calendar by Little Bins for Little Hands is such a great idea!
- Use a muffin tin as the base to make a super quick and easy LEGO activity calendar, by Views from a Step Stool
If you don’t have time for making your own DIY LEGO calendar (or can’t be bothered sorting through all your bricks to find the right ones) there are lots of (affiliate link) ready-made versions with different themes to suit your child’s interests.
DIY Surprise-filled Calendars
The sky is the limit when it comes to surprise-filled calendars. Basically, just take any small container and stuff a chocolate or small toy inside.
- This paper bag advent calendar I made one year is about as easy as it gets
- Here’s a cute re-usable magnetic wreath calendar by Artsy Fartsy Mama
- How fun is this Christmas sock calendar idea by Design Dazzle
- Download some printable train tags for your advent calendar from Play Trains
- Put together a Surprise Box calendar like this one from Teach me Mommy
- I adore this colourful Merry and Bright advent set by Picklebums
Christmas Book Calendars
Snuggle up and read together in the leadup to Christmas with these adorable Christmas book calendar ideas.
- Here’s a simple way to display your book calendar over at Living Loving Laughing
- Get a printable book calendar countdown sheet at Picklebums
- Simple as That have an elegant set of printable numbers for your book calendars
- I used upcycled kids’ art to wrap the books we incorporated into our DIY advent tree one year
Print and Colour calendars
Want to have a fun DIY advent experience without putting in much time and effort? It doesn’t get much easier than a print-and-colour calendar. Here are some fun options
- Love this super cute Nativity colouring calendar, by Kids Craft Room
- Make a freestanding Christmas town calendar with little doors and windows that open. By Hattifant
- Also by Hattifant is this super cute Scandinavian Folk Art colouring calendar
- This simple colouring sheet calendar is by Rediscovered Families
Christmas Activity Calendars
Christmas activities are a great theme for Advent because they keep the kids busy at the same time as providing a fun countdown. Check out these ideas …
- This sibling kindness advent calendar in a jar is just so thoughtful! You can find it at What do we do all day
- This printable Christmas Kindness Countdown is just one of the options over at Homeschool Share.
- Create an Advent Art Journal and print our our free set of 24 Christmas Drawing prompts—so fun and creative!
- Here’s a clever idea … a brain teaser advent calendar with a free printable by What do we do all day
Super Simple Advent Calendars
Here are some super easy DIY’s for the time-poor out there who still want to make something fun for their kids.
- I love this advent blessings jar made from popsicle sticks. Visit Thirty Handmade Days to see how it works
- Print out a set of Christmas-themed Would You Rather cards and put them in a small box or jar. Draw one out to generate discussion and creative thinking each day
- This Retro Photo DIY calendar pegged to a string is such a cute idea! OK, maybe it would take a while to pore through all those old family photos to find the ones you want, but that only adds to the fun, by Red Ted Art
- Here’s a super easy paper chain snowman countdown, available to download in three different languages over at Chalk Academy
Hopefully you’re now feeling inspired (I am, haha. Off to the shops directly after this to buy materials for our 2024 calendar!).
Doing something special for advent really is a fun way to celebrate the countdown to the most anticipated holiday of the year, and your kids don’t need to be little to enjoy it either.
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