This post may contain affiliate links. Read my whole disclosure here.
My favorite thing to do at the end of November is to prepare an easy and fun Christmas countdown for our family to enjoy in December.
We tried several Advent calendars in the past years, but the ones we enjoyed the most were the homemade ones! (the Christmas countdown box we prepared a few years ago was one of our favorites!)
I don’t want our Advent calendar to be all about sweets and toys, because the holiday season already brings plenty of opportunities for the kids to receive treats or gifts.
I love the idea of using the Advent calendar as an opportunity to spend time together as a family or to encourage kids to do activities they enjoy.
The theme I chose this year for our Christmas countdown was inspired by my oldest son, who spends a lot of time drawing every day. He is very creative, so we often do art activities together and he enjoys them as lot!
This is why I decided that this year our Advent calendar will focus on creativity!
How to prepare a Christmas countdown that encourages creativity
If you want to encourage your kids to be creative this holiday season, I hope you’ll try this idea as well! It’s very easy to prepare and it will bring many opportunities for your kids to use their creativity!
- small paper bags
- labels for the bags (you can just write the numbers on the bags if you don’t want to use labels)
- pieces of paper to write the activities (I decorated them with washi tape on top)
- small art supplies to include in every bag (you can find a list below)
- (optional) a few treats to include as surprises in some of the bags.
What art supplies we included in the bags:
Every bag includes an activity idea for my son to try, but I also wanted to include a few art supplies in every bag to make the opening of the bags even more exciting.
Here is what I included:
- crayons (these wax crayons are great)
- washi tape
You can see below a few of the supplies I included in the bags. I only included 4 oil pastels / crayons / markers from the sets in the bags, so at the end of the Christmas countdown my son will have the complete sets.
- Add labels on all the paper bags. If you don’t have labels, you can write the numbers on the paper bags using markers.
- Prepare 24 easy art activity ideas and write them on pieces of paper. (you can find our ideas below)
- Prepare 24 small “gifts” to include in the bags. I used the art supplies I mentioned above and a few gummy bears my son likes to surprise him on some of the days.
- Place one activity idea and one small gift in each bag. I used washi tape to seal the bags and placed them on a big tray.
- Enjoy the activities with your kids every day until Christmas
What activity ideas we included in our homemade Advent calendar
I only chose easy ideas because I wanted the activities to be fun and offer my son the opportunity to get creative.
Here are the categories I included in our creative Christmas countdown:
Art inspiration – easy art prompts to inspire my son to draw or paint something holiday-related:
- You and a reindeer
- Your favorite winter activity
- A friendly snowman
- Drawing inspired by a Christmas movie
- A family of penguins
Art projects – more complex projects inspired by one of our favorite art blogs, Deep Space Sparkle:
- surprise theme (I added 4 surprise activities in our countdown to be able to include new projects I discover in December and have more flexibility – this is a great way to allow yourself more time in case you want to look for more activity ideas during the month).
Book-inspired art – I planned 10 days of Christmas books for us to enjoy in December, so I used some of them as prompts for my son’s art:
- Painting inspired by a Christmas book (e.g., drawing inspired by the book “Last Stop on the Reindeer Express“)
- Drawing inspired by a Christmas book (e.g., painting inspired by the book “The Great Spruce“)
Other activity ideas – easy ideas to try together (I plan to encourage him to use different art techniques for these projects – e.g. collages, watercolor resist art, etc).
- Draw your favorite Christmas memory
- Family portrait with … penguins
- Drawing using oil pastels and watercolor paint
- Decorate a painted Christmas tree
- Design a Christmas card for a loved one.
I plan to offer my son a mini sketch pad on the first day of our countdown so he can use the pages for his creations.
Then we will glue the artwork on a colored paper and display it on the wall. The colored paper looks like a nice frame and makes the drawings look even better. (you can see an example below)
My hope is that by the end of our Christmas countdown we will have a wall full of 24 atworks and many happy memories from the art projects we will do together!