Art with Alyssa: DIY Christmas Advent Calendar

advent cal A 2127

Everyone loves advent calendars that reveal a daily surprise! There’s no candy in this DIY advent calendar—each surprise encourages new family traditions and holiday memories for 25 days leading up to Christmas Day. Get the kids involved—activities such as writing, cutting and gluing increase fine motor skills.

Discussion Points for Parents and Teachers

  • Activities kids love to do with family
  • Ways to help others
  • Different holiday traditions

Supplies

  • Colored construction paper or cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Glue stick or white glue
  • String or ribbon
  • Clothespins or clips
  • Optional: pre-printed numbers (1 through 25)

advent cal C 2127

Directions

  1. Make a list of 25 fun activities your family can easily do together. Some suggestions:
    Make breakfast for dinner.
    Make a blanket fort.
    Have a sunset picnic.
    Learn about a tradition from another culture.
    Read a book in a funny voice.
    Eat dinner by candlelight.
    Make hot chocolate from scratch.
    Do a kind deed for a friend.
    Make a donation to a food bank.
    Tour holiday lights in your pajamas (with San Diego Family’s Map of Christmas Lights, of course).

  2. Cut 25 (4.5”x4.5”) squares of colored paper to put the numbers on. They can be the same color or different.

  3. Adhere pre-printed numbers to the center of each square or write numbers 1 through 25. Allowing children to write numbers is good writing practice. For young children, write the numbers in pencil and let them trace over them with marker.

  4. Add embellishments around the numbers, if desired: draw frames, colored outlines, curved lines, etc. Be creative!

  5. Cut 25 (5”x5”) squares of colored cardstock, patterned paper or construction paper.

  6. If these squares have different patterns or colors, lay them out in desired order before adhering numbers.

  7. Glue the squares with numbers to the center of the larger squares.

  8. Write one activity from the list on the back of each square (or print activities and glue on).

  9. Let dry.

  10. Use clips to hang the squares (numbers facing out) on a string or ribbon.

  11. Each day, turn a square over to reveal that day’s activity. Have fun!

  12. Optional: When the activity is complete, write a note about the family’s experience on the card. When it’s time to take the calendar down, create a mini memory book by punching holes in the squares and connecting the pages with string.

advent cal B 2127

Note: This countdown calendar project can be designed for other holidays or momentous events such as birthdays, a wedding or graduation.


Alyssa Navapanich is an art enthusiast who teaches art to elementary school kids in North County.

Thankful Jars

Thankful Jars

Start a new family tradition by filling a decorated jar full of thanks. Expressing gratitude is (or should be) a year-round activity! Using a thankful jar at Thanksgiving? Give each guest one or mo . . .

Read more

Thanksgiving Turkey Table Toppers

Thanksgiving Turkey Table Toppers

Decorate the Thanksgiving table or mantle with cute turkeys made from water bottles and simple household items. Fun Thanksgiving craft for kids!Supplies: Package of coffee filtersPlastic water bottl . . .

Read more

Thanksgiving Table Toppers Craft

Thanksgiving Table Toppers Craft

Make this Thanksgiving extra special by crafting these super cute tabletop decorations! Tools and Supplies For All Four Projects: 4 empty food canisters (from snacks, nuts, coffee, pet treats, etc. . . .

Read more

Pilgrim Hat Crayon Holders

Pilgrim Hat Crayon Holders

These cute crayon holders are perfect for the kids’ table, covered with butcher paper. The kids can draw, doodle and write about the things for which they are thankful. Thank you to Deborah at Sup . . .

Read more

Thanksgiving Napkin Holder

Thanksgiving Napkin Holder

Here’s one turkey who won’t mind being at the Thanksgiving table; since he’ll make himself useful by holding extra Holiday napkins, he won’t have to worry about ending up on a dinner plate! . . .

Read more

Thankful Turkey Thanksgiving Craft

Thankful Turkey Thanksgiving Craft

These tiny turkeys are a great Thanksgiving activity. Make them ahead of the holiday, or as a way to pass the time while dinner cooks. Quick and cute, they are a fun way for kids and adults to displ . . .

Read more

Fall Flowers

Fall Flowers

This DIY fall craft is easy, fun, and makes the perfect centerpiece for Thanksgiving or any autumn meal! Supplies:  Sheets of colored tissue paperNewspaper pagesScissorsClear tape Here's Ho . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: DIY Fall Leaves

Art with Alyssa: DIY Fall Leaves

Celebrate the season by making fall leaves with a DIY printing plate made from Styrofoam. Print leaves onto paper just for fun or get creative and use the printing plate to make thank you cards, place . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Nature's Paintbrushes

Art with Alyssa: Nature's Paintbrushes

Create beautiful outdoor art using homemade paintbrushes from plants and items found in nature.Tips for Teachers/ParentsTeach children to respect living plants and only use found or discarded flower . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Alebrijes, Mexican Folk Art Sculptures

Art with Alyssa: Alebrijes, Mexican Folk Art Sculptures

Alebrijes, familiar to those who have seen the movie “Coco,” are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures—mythical creatures with body parts from varying animals. Although not related to D . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Paper Bag Memory Books

Art with Alyssa: Paper Bag Memory Books

Create a unique memory book to save special keepsakes and photos—and to reminisce about all the fun you had this summer!Discussion Points for Parents/Teachers Talk about your favorite summer me . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Recycled Paper Bowl

Art with Alyssa: Recycled Paper Bowl

Not sure what to do with all those old magazines? Get creative and turn the pages into paper bowls or coasters! This is a great project to celebrate Earth Day – or just a fun way to spend a lazy a . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!