Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Advent Calendar - Part One

We love Christmastime! We have so many fun things going on at home. There's Bixby, our Elf guest, whom we find in various silly places each morning. We have a countdown to Christmas we revisit each morning. We open a door on our advent calendar and do a fun activity described inside each day. And we also have regular tot school happenings! Such a fun and busy time of year.

Here is a glimpse of what surprise was inside each advent door so far this month:

December 1: Begin a Christmas countdown
December 2: Unwrap this year's new Christmas books
December 3: Write a letter to Santa
December 4: Make a forest out of paint swatches
December 5: Watch a Christmas Movie
December 6: Unwrap this year's new Christmas ornaments
December 7: Decorate a gingerbread house
December 8: Decorate our Christmas tree
December 9: Make a Frosty the Snowman of craft sticks
December 10: Make Christmas playdoh
December 11: Go on a candy cane hunt

Christmas Countdown + Advent Calendar Doors

I have seen a few versions of these Santa beard countdowns on Pinterest, but I wanted an easy printable. I found a cute one at Busy Little Bugs! Each day before opening our advent calendar door, one of the kids glues a cotton ball onto the day's number. We have them both hanging right in our front hallway.

Writing Letters to Santa

This printable comes from Alpha Mom. Honey Pot didn't really know what to ask Santa for. She doesn't watch commercials, and we don't often stroll through toy aisles at the store. So she was stumped when I sat the two of them down to write to the big man himself! 

Here she is though, trying hard to write something!

Little M&M did a little doodle too...

On the back she drew a robot for Santa. So that ended up being what she asked him for!

And we added special North Pole stamps (stickers).

Paint Swatch Forest + Reindeer Craft

We did this as part of Little M&M's green unit this week, but it overlapped with our advent activity. To see the full description and pictures, click here and scroll down to the craft!

Decorate a Gingerbread House

We bought a cute Mickey Mouse kit for this year. The kids had so much fun!

Frosty the Snowman Craft

Check out the full description and pictures by seeing our mini-unit on Frosty the Snowman!

Christmas Playdoh

Learn Play Imagine had a wonderful playdoh recipe that we used. I just added the vanilla to make them smell like sugar cookies, because I didn't have special peppermint or pine oils. Hope to make a gingerbread-scented playdoh before the month is out though!

Here are my two little helpers in the kitchen!

The kids tested out the red playdoh while I cleaned up the mixer so we could make a green one.

They were both such willing helpers. I was surprised Little M&M had such interest in staying at the kitchen counter to help, even though his contributions were few. I think he liked watching the mixer go 'round! Here is Honey Pot playing with both the red and green doughs.

We'll take out the tools, playdoh mats and cookie cutters later. But for now, we just did some old fashioned sculpting! Here is a snowman...

And a Christmas tree!

Candy Cane Hunt

I discovered this idea from Toddler Approved. It was a hit! I hid twelve candy canes around the bottom level of our house, and sent both kiddos out, with little baskets, in search of them.

Honey Pot found a fair few on her own, but started asking for clues after a while!

I may have guided Little M&M toward a couple so he felt like he was finding a bunch too.

Falling out of the microwave in their kitchen!

I reminded them to "look up high" and "look down low" whenever we were approaching one that was out of eye level. Little M&M kept saying, "Up there?"

We paused to count how many they had found between them, so we knew how many to search for!

We found eleven. And I couldn't remember for the life of me where I put the last one. I even convinced myself that the package was faulty, and only came with eleven instead of the advertised twelve! So we concluded our activity and each sampled a candy cane.

Much later, Little M&M gets excited and says, "Look!" and grabs the twelfth candy cane. Silly Mommy.

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