Thursday, November 29, 2012

toddler advent calendar & advent activities.

Olive was gifted this advent calendar by Tyler's parents.  (But she hasn't opened it yet)

It is made of wood and there are tiny magnetic pieces in each cubby that stick to the middle section.  It's pretty cool.  :)

I had been hoping to make an advent calendar for Olive that we could put family activities in.  Each morning she would open it up and see what special thing we would do that day.  The compartments in this calendar are much larger than the little magnetic pieces so there will be plenty of room for strips of paper.

Olive is only 21 months old so this isn't going to be quite as amazing and as exciting as it could be with older kids but I'm excited to get the tradition started.

Here are some of my small toddler friendly ideas that we'll be doing with her this month:

- Get a Christmas tree (go cut it down, go to a lot and buy one, or bring yours up from storage)
- Decorate the Christmas tree (to help fill the month this can be done on a different day than getting the tree, it can also allow time for your small child to adjust to the tree)
- Go to the Holidazzle parade (Minneapolis has a nighttime parade throughout the month of December. Maybe your town has special holiday activities, too!)
- Go to Macy's A Day in the Life of an Elf (another Minneapolis specific holiday activity)
- Go to the zoo (our free zoo doesn't do anything special for the holidays but some do. Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago just set up their nighttime Zoo Lights event)
- A special hot chocolate date with dad dad and a special hot chocolate date with mom mom (Olive doesn't regularly consume things with sugar or not great ingredients often so this would be super special)
- Watch a Christmas movie (I'm thinking Charlie Brown. Olive doesn't watch much tv so this would also be something special)
- Stand on a frozen lake
- Build a snowman
- Make paper snowflakes
- Bake cookies (Olive doesn't usually actively help me in the kitchen and we don't make much now that I avoid gluten so baking cookies will be tons of fun!)
- Make a wreath for our front door
- Make ornaments for Christmas gifts

Here are some things you can do with older kids:
- Decorate outside
- Go ice skating
- Go sledding
- Go caroling
- Volunteer at a toy drive or soup kitchen
- See a movie in a theatre
- Do something nice for a stranger
- Read a Bible story

Some of these things are weather dependent and if you keep a main list of what is in each compartment you can easily switch activities, if needed.

Most of these things are free or very inexpensive.

Some of these things would likely happen anyway, regardless of being "scheduled" into our month but having them in the advent calendar will make them a little more special.  This will also assure that we actually do these things instead of saying we're going to make it to the parade, or go ice skating, or make a wreath, etc. but never get around to it.

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