Homemade Advent Calendar

2020 was the first year we did advent calendars for two of the three kids (our daughter was in the womb) – but I ended up getting a Paw Patrol one a few days into December for my 1-yr-old because he seemed interested when his brothers did their Hot Wheels and Cars advent calendars. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to do one this year but I went to Aldi’s and found a Fisher Price one for my 2-yr-old so I was sold. I got a Matchbox one for my 3-yr-old and I picked up an Avenger Lego one for our 5-yr-old. When I was at Aldi’s I came across a Minecraft one but it was $25 dollars and you got 12 figurines then the rest were stickers. I wasn’t crazy with the idea of buying the Minecraft one for stickers but I knew our oldest would LOVE it. I was on the fence about returning the Avenger one, which we ended up keeping for my husband and I to do with the kids. It was actually a lot of fun and may become a new tradition. You can’t go wrong with Legos – because we have lots of kids and I’m pretty sure Legos will be a staple in our home.

I really like the idea of a Minecraft one that I knew that Target sold a die cast set of 20 figurines for $20 dollars. I thought to myself that if I am even considering buying the one at Aldi’s I should just buy the set and make my own advent calendar. I had to get four additional thing which ended up costing me $30 dollars total because I brought a mini Minecraft lego set for $10. I took three bigger pieces out and added them to the box. On day 24 I added a piece of paper that took him on a very short scavenger hunt around the house. When he found the spot he got the rest of the lego set with the Manuel. He LOVED it – and now I worry that next year he is going to expect the same thing. I honestly don’t mind making an advent calendar it was fun. My 3-yr-old ended up with a Cars one thanks to his grandma. I picked up those advent calendars then a few hours later she called to tell me she got them each one. I told her that I actually did the same thing earlier that day. She managed to get her hands on a Cars one which was sold out at the store I visited. She sent it up to us which ended up being a great thing because he had a blast this year.

I actually took the sets from 2020 and put them in storage to pull out this year for them to play with and what is nice is the Cars set we had last year would fit with this year set. I haven’t gotten all the stuff unpacked in garage so I couldn’t find it but I plan to pack up the toys from this year (minus the Minecraft ones because they aren’t Christmas themed related) and save them for next year. The way we handle it was we would open our calendars after breakfast was cleaned up. We would play with the set at the table and once they were done the toys would got in a bin with a lid. I kept everything out of reach so the kids couldn’t get to it unless they asked. They looked forward to it and we were able to have all the pieces each day. On occasion our 3-yr-old would take two of the cars with him but we would find them throughout the day and put them away once he had abandoned them.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find a square box but this box worked out. This was a two day job at the end of the night so it’s not the best job but I wasn’t doing it to sell or anything. The first day of December our son sees the box on the counter and he was like “Is that a Minecraft box?” I asked him what it was and he said a dirt block. I was happy because he knew what I was trying for and I don’t think it’s too bad since it was a rush job. I am now on the fence if I should throw it out or hold on to it. Right now it’s sitting in the other room and I think it will depend if I can make room for it in the Christmas bins. I am planning on sorting and getting rid of stuff we don’t use. If I have the space I may keep it just in case for next year. Then again he may not be into Minecraft by then but if that’s the case I could always give it away to someone else.

Do you do an advent calendar? What kind do you use?

Pumpkins and Acorns Activities

I LOVE making activities for my kids and this morning I FINALLY took ten minutes and put these together. I brought the plastic pumpkins and acorns at the Dollar Tree. They come in a pack of 12 with three different colors. I thought this could be a fun themed activity for my boys (little girl is to young). I feel that we too often hinder ourselves from doing things because what we create isn’t “perfect” and it’s not pin worthy. I am a perfectionist at heart but I have learned over the years that there are plenty of times that just doing is better then not.

Pumpkin Activity:
Pumpkin Patch Counting – add pumpkins to the vines and count. Create a pattern with the three colors on the vines.

Straw Bale Sorting – three color straw bales the kids can sort by colors matching them to the page.

Acorn Activity:
Hanging Counting Acorns – add the acorns to the tree and count to 12.
Squirrel Acorn Hiding – match the acorn to the same color opening in the tree trunk.

I am not a great drawer and I had to look up a clipart picture of a squirrel to even attempt to draw a squirrel face onto the paper. I created two activity page that I laminated right after I drew the picture. I pulled out paper and crayons once the kids were done eating breakfast. They played and I created as I was finishing my breakfast sandwich. It’s nothing fancy but I can sit with each child to help them with counting, sorting, matching, and patterns.

Don’t let the fear of not creating something perfect keep you from being creative and providing resources for your kids. Check out other post of past creations because it took me a long time to get to a place of being ok with sharing items that are not pin worthy but I hope it’s inspirational.

Disclaimer: There are things I have done over time that I have taken my time and strived to make it as close to “perfect”. There is a time and place for those items but it’s not alway the end goal.

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