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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

99 Advent Calendar Fillers for Kids

One of our favourite Christmas traditions in our family is the advent calendar. The kids get so excited for the whole month of December knowing they get to open a little surprise each morning.

If you've decided to make a DIY advent calendar, or have a reusable advent calendar you bring out each year, then you'll need to start thinking about what you'll fill the advent calendar with. The obvious choice is chocolate or lollies, however if you want to avoid the sugar there are plenty of other advent filler options for kids

child grabbing advent calendar

I've put together a list of 99 ways to fill your kids advent calendar, including some advent activity ideas that won't add more stuff to your home. This list includes advent filler ideas perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, school children and teenagers. Remember to organise all your advent fillers by the end of November so they're ready to go by December 1st.


When you start thinking about what to fill your child's advent calendar with, you'll need to think about:

  • What size is the advent calendar? What type of advent calendar you have? Does it have really small boxes or drawers, or does it have large pockets, or do you use reusable bags? The size of each days space and how many children you have will determine what size items you can use based on how many can fit into the space.

  • Do you want to stick to a theme? Most of the store bought advent calendars have a single theme such as Barbie, Ooshies or books. When filling your own advent calendar you can stick to one theme like Lego figurines, or add lots of different types of items your children love. If you stick to a theme buying bulk lots of items can save you lots of money.

  • 1 set of something or lots of little things? If you don't want to buy lots of little things a more cost effective option can be to buy 1 item with at least 24 pieces and then split them up for each day so your child will end up with one complete item at the end of the calendar. This works well for puzzles, Lego sets, wooden blocks and magnetic tile sets.

  • "Stuff" or mindfulness? Do you want to fill your advent calendar with more things, or something that the kids can do? Some parents are already overwhelmed with how much stuff the kids have {and will receive at Christmas time} so you may prefer to fill the advent calendar with activities instead. There are lots of activity based ideas at the bottom of this post.

  • What do your kids like? The best way to keep kids entertained is to follow their interests. If there's a particular toy or item they're collecting already then get more of those so they can expand their collection. This works great for mini figurines, Oooshies and Pokémon cards.

  • What do your kids need? Are there any small personal care items they need that you would have to buy already anyway... things like hair clips, socks or undies? This is a great way to fill the advent calendar with useful items without having to buy more things.


Whether you're looking for advent ideas for boys or girls, you'll find heaps of inspiration in this list. There's ideas for children as young as toddlers through to teenagers. None of the ideas are food based and there are plenty of activity based ideas included for those who don't want to buy more things just for an advent calendar.

Toys & Novelty Items

advent calendar toy ideas

Without a doubt the most popular advent calendar filler idea for kids, especially younger kids, will always be toys! After all most of the premade advent calendars that aren't chocolate are toy based. It's also a great way to theme your advent calendar and expand on collections and interests your child already has.

Toy advent filler ideas:

  • Lego or Duplo - Buy a bulk pack of mini figurines and add one to each day, or split up the pieces from a set so they combine to form one big set at the end of advent.
  • Animal figurines - Our favourites are Collecta or Schleich, but you may need to get mini tubes like Wild Republic or Safari toobs to fit into your advent depending on the size.
  • Train set - Split up a small train set between each day.
  • Mini cars - You can get a bulk set of die cast cars and add one to each day.
  • Army men - Buy a bulk pack and split them between the days.
  • Story stones - Make your own story stones, or buy some premade ones and add one or two to each day.
  • Magnetic tiles - Although most magnetic tile sets would be too large to include in an advent calendar, there are smaller 24pc sets that can be separated into one tile a day.
  • Loose parts - Younger children will love loose parts and they can be split into a single item per day. Grapat and Totli are great brands {use code FMY10 to save 10% at Totli}, or you can hunt for loose parts in dollar stores or thrift shops.
  • Finger puppets - Make your own felt finger puppets or buy some handmade ones and add one to each day.
  • Small dolls - Some larger advent calendars can fit small dolls like Olli Ella holdie folk, Ambrosius fairies, Evi dolls or Dottie Days personalised dolls.
  • Peg dolls - You can get bulk peg doll sets and split them up between the days.
  • Dollhouse items - Add a different dollhouse miniature for each day.
  • Puzzles - Separate a puzzle across different days.

  • Fidget toys - You can get bulk packs of fidget toys on Amazon AU or Amazon and split them between the days. These are great for sensory seeking kids and will also help build fine motor skills.
  • Sensory toys - Lots of sensory toys come in smaller size packs, or bulk packs that can be split up. Items like kinetic sand, flurry, slime, water beads, bubble wands or Squigs.
  • Squishies - If your child specifically loves squishies you can buy them in bulk at Amazon AU or Amazon.
  • Squishmallows - Proper squishmallows will be too big for an advent calendar, however the clip on squishmallows should fit into advent calendars with bigger pouches.
  • Collector cards - Separate packets of Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Digimon or Minecraft trading cards.
  • World's smallest toys - These are mini replica toys of real toys and games.
  • Shopkins real littles - Shopkins also have mini replica food items.
  • 5 surprise mini brands - 5 surprise balls come with 5 different mini items in a range of brands, including Disney. You can open the balls and add one item to each day. Get them on Amazon or at toy stores.
  • Other surprise toys - There are lots of other small surprise toys like LOL dolls, Rainbocorns, Puppycorns, Pets Alive Surprise, Jurassic World eggs and more.
  • Blind bags - There's also lots of figurine toys that come in blind bags including Squishmallows, Minecraft, Disney Doorables, Ryan's World surprise bags and Ooshies.


crystals for advent calendar

If your child loves crystals, or even collecting rocks, then you could do a DIY crystal advent calendar with a different crystal for each day. You can get 24 piece sets of crystals with descriptions from Manifest and Magic {shown above} or you can make your own set by buying individual crystals here. You can also get a kids gemstone kit and split it up to put one stone in each day. Please note crystals are not suitable for children under 3 or those who are still mouthing.

Stationary Items

stationary advent ideas

Stationary items are a really practical choice for advent calendars and they appeal to kids of all ages. Younger children who are just starting to mark make will love items like crayons, chalk and washable markers. Novelty or themed stationary items also really appeal to older children.

You can also save lots by buying mini stationary items in bulk sets and splitting them up between each day.

Stationary advent filler ideas:

Art & Craft Items

craft items

Art and craft supplies are always a good choice for advent calendars because they're great to have on hand either at home, or for school, all throughout the year and they'll definitely get used. You can get lots of different art and craft items in bulk from dollar stores or online from stores like Riot Art & Craft {AUS} and Amazon

Please remember smaller items that could pose a choking risk shouldn't be given to children under 3 or children who are still mouthing. 

Art & craft advent filler ideas for kids:

Makeup, Jewellery, Hair & Personal Care Items

charm bracelet advent calendar items

Older children like tweens and teens lose interest in toys and begin to get more interested in personal care items, makeup and jewellery. Some of these ideas are also a great way to include items they need into their advent calendar.

You can usually find personal care based gift sets in most department stores closer to Christmas. Split them up between the advent days to save money instead of buying individual items.

Personal care advent calendar filler ideas for kids:

  • Nail polish
  • Nail stickers
  • Lip balm
  • Lipstick
  • Eye shadow 
  • Play makeup - Split a whole kit between the 24 days, if there's not enough add in some other personal care items for the remaining days.
  • Earrings
  • Clip on earrings
  • Sticker earrings
  • Jewellery making kit - Get a jewellery making kit {like this Christmas one} and split it into one piece for each day then at the end they can make their own bracelets or necklaces.
  • Bracelets
  • Charms - You can get a set of 24 charms already packaged for advent here.
  • Necklaces
  • Hairbands
  • Scrunchies
  • Hairbands
  • Shampoo & Conditioner - Use travel sized ones if you only have a small space to fill.
  • Small bath bombs - Buy in bulk and put a different one in each day, or use a couple of individual ones with other personal care items.
  • Nail clippers
  • Hand cream
  • Underwear
  • Socks

Christmas Items & Activities

christmas colouring advent calendar

If you want your advent calendar to be purely Christmas focused, because that's the reason we have an advent calendar in the first place, then try some of these festive advent filler ideas for kids.

Christmas themed advent fillers:

Advent Activities & Printable Ideas

advent calendar wooden tokens

If you're a minimalist, feel like you have too much stuff already, or have multiple children and simply don't want to buy loads of small things for each child, then try some of these activity and printable based advent calendar fillers. They won't take up any space in your home and they'll get the kids involved in a fun activity. As a bonus most can be reused each year.

Activity & Printable advent fillers:

  • Craft projects - Fill each day with different pieces required to make set art projects. If you don't want to come up with the craft ideas yourself you can buy craft project advent fillers that are already sorted with instructions for each day.
  • Activity coupons - Fill each day with a different coupon that your kids can cash in either that day or at any time during December. This advent coupon set can easily be printed at home and reused each year.
  • Advent activity cards - These advent magic cards are a great reusable way to fill the advent calendar.
  • Printable advent activities - Another way to fill the advent calendar with activities is by printing off these gorgeous advent activity cards. If you print them on cardstock you can reuse them each year.
  • Advent tokens - These wooden advent tokens have a combination of festive activities and general bonuses for kids e.g. late bedtime.
  • Advent colouring sheets - These A4 advent colouring sheets are great for younger children or make your own set by printing off some free Christmas colouring sheets from the internet.

advent calendar filler ideas for kids


Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience, which means I may earn a small commission at no cost to you, should you make a purchase.

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