3 alternative advent calendar ideas for kids


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Sweets aren’t the only thing that go in an advent calendar. Parents can also fill a string of bags with books, vouchers or arts and crafts materials. Photo: dpa

Advent calendars don’t have to be all about chocolate and plastic playthings. But what else can you put in your children’s advent calendar? Here are some handy tips for avoiding throwaway knick-knacks and sugar shocks in the 24 days leading up to Christmas.

The voucher calendar

Every day, your child receives a voucher for a treat that is usually not allowed – for instance staying up longer than usual, getting two portions of dessert, a special movie night with popcorn, choosing a comic magazine at the corner store, or even the parents cleaning up the kids’ room for once. This can be adapted for the child’s age. You could package the vouchers in small envelopes decorated with numbers.

The reading calendar

This calendar is all about the gift of spending time together. Every day, your child unpacks a new storybook with the promise that you’ll read it to them later. Parents should consider that the time it takes to read the books fits into the family’s daily plans. Used books are especially cheap and sustainable and can be bought online or in second-hand stores.

The crafts calendar

If your child is into colouring, scrapbooking and painting, this could be for you. For each calendar day, you fill a small bag with pencils, wax crayons, paintbrushes, stamps, stickers, glue, glitter and other crafts supplies to be transformed into new works of art. – dpa

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