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Wednesday, November 2, 2022

38 DIY Advent Calendar Ideas for Kids

As a child the magic of Christmas isn't just about Christmas Day itself, there's also so much joy and excitement throughout December knowing Christmas Day is getting closer and closer. One of the easiest ways to build that excitement is with an advent calendar. You don't have to automatically go out and buy a chocolate filled one from the store though, there are plenty of ways to get creative and make your own unique DIY Advent Calendar that's special to your family.

diy advent calendar with numbered bags

I've searched the web and put together a list of 38 different DIY Advent Calendars the kids will love. There's so many different types of DIY advent calendars including tree shaped countdowns, Christmas villages, book advent calendars and printable Christmas countdowns. You don't have to be super crafty to make them either, as long as you can follow directions and know your way around scissors and glue you're set.


Before you decide which advent calendar to make, you'll need to have some idea of what you want to fill it with so you know what size boxes or bags your calendar will need. The cheapest and most obvious choice is chocolate or lollies, which is really easy to do by buying a share pack or 2 and splitting it up between the days. You can also do small toys like mini animal figurines, matchbox cars, stickers or other small stationary items. If you want to do a minimal advent calendar that doesn't take up too much space you could print out songs, poems, or random acts of kindness to fill each day.

I've also put together a detailed post of 99 non-chocolate advent calendar filler ideas for kids.


door shoe organiser advent calendar

My very clever friend Sarah created an over the door advent calendar using a neutral shoe organiser and tying it to a tree branch. She added numbered gift tags and a few Christmas decorations to make it festive. Because the shoe pockets are tall they can fit bigger items like full size animal figurines and candy canes. Sarah also included some printed Christmas activity cards so her calendar was part treats and part activities.

advent calendar reusable bags

This reuseable advent bag kit from Oh Clementiny comes with 24 numbered calico bags. Fill the bags then hang or display them however you like. The neutral design means they'll match any Christmas decoration colour scheme so they can be reused each year.

diy advent scratch off ornaments

These DIY scratch off Christmas advent ornaments are a great idea for an activity or acts of kindness advent calendar. To make them you'll need some flat Christmas ornaments {like these ones}, acrylic paint and your printed or hand written daily messages. Follow the instructions at Danya Banya to create your scratch ornaments then hang them on a mini Christmas tree to create your advent calendar.

acts of kindness free printable calendar

This acts of kindness advent calendar is a free printable from Lovely Indeed. Download the free printable which includes the envelope templates and the printable acts of kindness. Once printed they can be displayed however you choose. To copy the photo you'll need some wooden pegs, twine and a macrame ring.

christmas advent calendar using boxes

This gorgeous pom pom gift box advent calendar looks bright and inviting and is also really easy to make. Instead of creating all the boxes from scratch, buy a pack of 4x4 gift boxes. Assemble the boxes, fill them and then follow the instructions at Made With Happy to decorate them.

craft train arty advent calendar

Make this arty Christmas cracker advent calendar using empty toilet paper rolls or cardboard tubes and the template from The Craft Train. Once you've downloaded the template decorate it however you like, the ones above have been painted with liquid watercolours. After the sheets are decorated fill the tubes and wrap them with the number sheets and cellophane
vintage toy box advent calendar
This vintage toy box advent calendar is one of the most unique advent calendar ideas I've ever come across. This calendar includes 24 different toy boxes featuring popular toys from the 1970's and the best part is it's printable, so just print it and glue it together. In fact I'd print it on cardstock then keep them for the kids pretend play after Christmas. Get the vintage toy advent calendar from FraNbulle on Etsy.

rustic twig Christmas tree advent calendar

This advent tree calendar is an advent calendar and craft activity in one. The kids will have just as much fun making the tree as they will unwrapping the surprises. Collect some sticks while on a nature walk or visit to the park, then paint them white and arrange in a pot to create your advent tree. Find out how to make the DIY hanging parcels at The Craft Train.

picklebums printable tree shaped advent calendar boxes

These printable advent calendar boxes come in 24 different festive patterns and include number labels. Hang them on the Christmas tree so they double as ornaments or display them as a Christmas forest on a shelf or table. Get the printable advent calendar from Picklebums here.

decorate a christmas tree advent calendar

This 3D Christmas tree advent calendar is a great way for kids to make and decorate their own paper Christmas tree in the countdown to Christmas day. Get the free printable from Barley & Birch and follow the instructions to make the ornaments 3D, then pop a new one onto the tree each day. 

printable christmas tree advent calendar

This printable 3D Christmas tree advent calendar comes in both black and white and colour options. Print it off on cardstock to create the 3D tree and then add the printable baubles or glue on mini pom poms each day to count down to Christmas day. Get the free printable from Kids Craft Room.

diy lego advent calendar idea

Instead of buying a premade Lego advent calendar, you can put together your own DIY Lego Christmas advent calendar. You'll need the instructions from Little Bins for Little Hands and 2 sets of this Lego pack to recreate the 25 Lego figurines.

advent calendar made from lego

If you already had a decent collection of Lego, you can try building an advent calendar with Lego. At first glance this may look a little challenging, but Sarah has put together step by step build instructions at Frugal Fun 4 Boys so you can recreate it.

hot to sew a diy fabric pocket advent calendar

If you have basic sewing skills and a sewing machine then you can make this DIY fabric pocket advent calendar from Christmas fabric. Use old pieces of fabric you have stashed at home, or you can get some great Christmas fabrics online. Follow the instructions at Apple Green Cottage for the easiest way to sew your own advent calendar.

DIY magnetic wreath advent calendar

This DIY magnetic wreath advent calendar is a great advent idea and a cute piece of Christmas décor. To make your own you'll need a metal wreath, ribbon, metal favour tins, magnets and the free printable labels from Artsy Fartsy Mama. If you have younger kids you may want to keep this one up high so they don't pull off all the tins at once.

present punch wall advent calendar

This DIY present punch advent calendar is a cute way to make the advent gifts into one big present and it's a fun interactive way for the kids to get their advent treats each day. You can easily make it at home with some plastic cups, tissue paper and a foam board. Follow the instructions at Play Party Plan to put yours together.

DIY candy cane bon bon advent calendar

This candy cane bon bon advent calendar can be set up as a garland, hanging advent or placed together in a bowl. To make the individual bon bons you'll need some recycled toilet paper rolls or cardboard tubes, candy stripe fabric and the printable number labels from Tikido.

DIY santa punch advent calendar

If your kids can't wait for Santa to come visit, they'll love this DIY Santa punch board advent calendar. Similar to the other punch calendars, you'll need plastic or paper cups and tissue paper. Follow the instructions at Happy Toddler Playtime to see how she made hers.


To make your advent calendar feel even more Christmas-y you could make one of these calendars in the shape of a Christmas tree. You can start the numbers from the top of the tree, base of the tree, or leave them jumbled all over.
diy christmas tree cardboard sleeve calendar
Create this DIY tree advent calendar by making the cardboard sleeves from scratch with card stock, or folding empty toilet paper rolls. As For Me and My Homestead have included templates for the number circles as well so it's as simple as printing and assembling.
random acts of kindness advent calendar tree
Make this adorable acts of kindness advent tree using brown kraft boxes. Follow the instructions at Down Redbud Drive including free printable acts of kindness to make your own calendar. This one could easily be filled with small items as well if you don't want to do an acts of kindness calendar.

diy toilet paper roll christmas tree advent calendar

You can make this cheap DIY toilet paper roll Christmas tree advent calendar using empty toilet paper rolls and tissue paper. The kids can poke open each toilet roll on the right day just like breaking a tiny piñata. Follow the instructions at Mom Wife Busy Life to create your own tissue paper advent calendar. We've also got lots of other toilet paper roll craft ideas here.

diy christmas tree crepe paper ball advent calendar

This ball Christmas tree advent calendar is really easy to make, all you need is your advent filler items and some rolls of crepe paper. This advent calendar by the occupational therapists at The Inspired Treehouse is specifically designed to get children working their fine motor skills as they unravel the crepe paper balls.

washi tape christmas tree advent calendar

This DIY washi tape Christmas tree advent calendar is a genius way to take advantage of empty wall space and decorate for Christmas at the same time. The calendar uses plastic fillable ornaments to hold the advent fillers for each day. Follow the instructions here to make your own and don't forget to wrap the items in tissue paper so the kids can't see them inside the baubles.


Turn your advent calendar into adorable little themed houses with these DIY Christmas village advent calendar ideas. They make a great Christmas table display and can even be used in small world play.

printable christmas village advent

This adorable printable Christmas village advent calendar can double as a small world display. To make it purchase the printable template from Little Llama Shoppee on Etsy then print and assemble the houses. I recommend printing them onto white cardstock for longevity or getting the file professionally printed at a stationary store like Officeworks.

christmas village diy advent calendar

This brown cardboard Christmas village advent calendar has a timeless neutral design that will match with any Christmas colour scheme. This advent calendar is super easy to make, simply purchase the Christmas village advent kit from Etsy and the houses will be sent as a flat kit which you can assemble and fill yourself. The set includes houses in 3 different sizes so it's great if you're filling the calendar with toys or stationary that have a few bigger items. The kit also comes with 25 printed Christmas activities you can include in the houses. You can also get the digital set and print your own house templates.

gingerbread house christmas village advent calendar

Make an adorable gingerbread house village with this gingerbread printable advent calendar. Purchase the template from Little Llama Shoppee on Etsy and print at home or at a stationary store on white cardstock. 

colour in village advent calendar

This Christmas village advent comes with printable colour-in templates. The set comes with 24 houses, 2 are taller and some are shops like the post office, toy shop and sweet shop. The kids can colour in the village with crayons or pencils then assemble it and use as an advent calendar. The colour-in advent village is available on Etsy from Hfc Supplies.

magical christmas snow village printable advent calendar

This pastel Christmas village advent calendar has adorable snow and Christmas light details on all of the houses. The set includes houses in different sizes, a toy shop and two different styles of Christmas trees. Get it from Design My Party Studio on Etsy.

christmas holiday village diy advent calendar

This adorable DIY paper Christmas advent calendar village makes a great festive table display as well as being a functioning advent calendar. The village features paper rolled trees, origami boxes, favour boxes and paper bags. Follow the instructions at Honey & Lime to make your own advent village.

moveable village advent calendar

This adorable printable Christmas town advent calendar can be mixed and matched around to create a number of different town scenes. Make one big red apartment block like this photo or separate them up into a number of smaller buildings. Get the printable calendar from Little Paper Racoon on Etsy.


diy book advent calendar

A cute advent tradition that's gaining more popularity each year is a DIY Christmas book advent calendar. Simply wrap up 24 different Christmas books and open a new one each day in December. Now granted this can be quite expensive if you're starting out with no books, however a way to make it cheaper would be to wrap library books, or buy second hand books. 

printable storybook advent calendar

Another way to incorporate books is with this printable storybook advent calendar. Download the template from Little Llama Shoppe and print on white cardstock to create 3D Christmas storybooks for each day of advent. Fill them with small books, lollies or toys.


If you don't want to do a traditional advent calendar that involves packages with treats or surprises each day then try these printable Christmas countdowns. They still help build the excitement of Christmas coming, without the need to buy anything to fill them. Or you could do them as a bonus countdown alongside a traditional advent calendar.

printable santa beard christmas countdown

This printable Santa beard countdown calendar will keep the kids entertained in the lead up to Christmas. Each morning they can add another white cotton ball or pom pom to his beard and by Christmas Day he'll have a nice bushy beard. This Santa beard countdown comes in 3 different designs to cater for children from multiple cultures.

printable christmas countdown

Make this DIY Christmas countdown with the free printable from Savvy Mama Lifestyle, a photo frame and some pegs. Kids will love changing the numbers on the pegs each morning as they count down to Christmas Day.

free printable family activities advent calendar

The free family advent activities calendar printable is a great way to countdown to Christmas and enjoy time doing things together as a family. The free printable from Modern Mom Life comes with 2 sheets, one already filled with ideas and a blank version to add your own ideas.

printable christmas bauble countdown

This printable Christmas bauble countdown gives the kids a colouring activity and a visual countdown in one. Have the kids colour the relevant bauble each day and attach it to the tree backing board. Get the free printable from A Little Pinch of Perfect.

printable christmas tree countdown

This printable Christmas tree countdown comes in both black and white or coloured versions. Cut out the baubles and glue a new one onto the Christmas tree each day. Get the free printable from Kiddy Charts here.

christmas countdown colouring in sheet

This free printable Christmas countdown colouring in sheet is an adorable way to count down the days leading up to Christmas. The coloured images could also be laminated and used as advent tags for the next year. Download the free printable from Picklebums.

DIY kids advent calendar ideas


Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience which means I may make a small commission, at no cost to you, should you make a purchase. Please be aware of estimated delivery times when purchasing physical products from Etsy to ensure items will arrive in time before December.

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