December 1st is just around the corner & I've been thinking about our Advent countdown this year. Every year I make an Advent activity for Minnie, last year I made an Elf Village with houses (1-24) each containing a message from a Christmas elf. The year before I made an Interactive Countdown Following a Star, & this year, well we're going for something completely different!
To make it I used:
24 matchboxes (Ours came from Baker Ross, but they're available on Amazon & eBay)
Magnets (I cut up old magnets, but sticky back magnets are available in craft shops & online)
Treats (small gift, sweet, or written note)
Items to decorate the boxes (a variety of stickers, adhesive jewels, sequins etc)
To colour the 24 boxes green I wrapped each one in green paper. I measured the width of one of the boxes & then cut out strips of paper which I simply wound around each box & secured with tape. You could use paint/pens to colour the boxes, but this was just the quickest way for me to cover them.
To make the boxes magnetic I cut up some old magnets (like the ones that come free with kids smoothies or desserts) & stuck them to the back of the boxes with sticky tape. It wasn't the neatest of finishes but this side was being stuck to the fridge so wouldn't be seen. These aren't the strongest magnets but were perfect for our boxes as their contents was fairly light. If you want to add heavier items to the boxes I would advise a stronger magnet.
Now to fill the boxes! For the decorations for each matchboxes I raided my craft stash & found lots of little stickers, sequins, sparkles, & a few adhesive jewels that were left over from previous crafts. I tried to avoid glitter as I'm hoping Minnie will be able to explore this activity first thing in the morning, & as much as I love glitter, it's not a favourite accessory to start the day!
For the 'treats' I found a selection of small toys, a few chocolate coins (1 in each box), kids jewelry, hair-clips, printing stamps, erasers etc. In some of the boxes I added a written note with the decorations instead of a gift. Each note contains an activity that we can share together. Here are this years activities:
1. Go & see the Christmas Lights
2. Visit Santa
3. Decorate the Christmas Tree
4. Go to a Christingle Service
5. Make mince pies
6. Find a gift under the tree (new Christmas book)
7. Go carol singing
8. Have a friend over for tea.
9. Make Christmas sweets together
10. Have a movie night with popcorn & hot chocolate.
Once all the treats & decorations were added to the boxes I numbered them 1-24, & our Magnetic Tree Advent Calendar was ready!
The idea of using a tree for this calendar is that it slowly begins to be prepared for Christmas. Each day during December Minnie will decorate a box with its contents, & slowly as we make our way through Advent the tree will become more colourful & beautiful, until Christmas Eve when it's complete.
I hope it will help us focus on Advent as a time to prepare for the coming of Christmas & the real reason for the season, with all the joy & excitement it brings!