I posted earlier this week about the advent calendar I made for Arthur last year. I’m really looking forward to getting it out again this December, but before I do I have the challenge of how to fill it.
There is of course the option of something edible: whether it’s sweets or chocolates or homemade cookies this would be a fairly traditional way to go. I’m not sure I want to start every day in December with something sugary but I might slip a couple in along the way.
I love the idea that the little gifts will build the anticipation as Christmas approaches – things to talk about, or to spark off activities to get us in the festive spirit. The tricky thing is finding gifts which are at least vaguely suitable for a nearly two year old, but I think I’ve managed to come up with some ideas that will work.
These were a real hit last year and I think will make it in again. Chasing bubbles around is certainly a fun way to start a December morning! There are various mini bubbles in festive designs out there, though I’m pretty sure the toddler in your life won’t be too worried about the package they come in…
This was a bit of a specific find last year – a set of baby-friendly blocks with little jingle bells inside. I separated out the blocks into different days and they fitted together to form an ever-growing musical instrument. There are probably other options you could find for older toddlers – and it was nice to inject a bit of music-making into the build up to Christmas.
This is a new idea for this year, as Arthur’s really starting to get into drawing. Dapper Baby have some great handmade ones in different shapes – the penguins and angels are particularly festive. I might even get a Christmas colouring book too to add to the fun…
4) Finger puppets
Last year I found a little collection of Christmas finger puppets which definitely put a smile on Arthur’s face. They were handy as December unfolded, providing something to keep him entertained at family gatherings and on journeys to see friends. This year I couldn’t resist a Gruffalo’s child set to spread across several days though this is rather more than I was intending to spend. I think I’ll be making my own next year!
Again an easy crowd pleaser, blowing up a balloon never fails to get Arthur excited – by the time Christmas came around last year he had a whole collection to play with.
6) Plastic animals
Arthur loves these little Schleich plastic animals, and as long as he’s being supervised I’m happy for him to play with them. They’re a bit more expensive than my other gift ideas, but I might slip in one or two as an extra special treat.
7) Christmas socks
What would Christmas be without some festive socks to keep toes toasty warm? And the ones that fit on tiny feet are perfect for squishing into a pocket on an advent calendar.
A really easy and cheap solution, little festive stickers (cut from larger sheets) are perfect to slip into the smaller pockets.
9) Tree decorations
I made some little felt decorations last year that Arthur and I could hang on the tree together. He really loved it, so that’s another idea I’m going to repeat.
10) Treasure map
I’ve just come across the concept of Christmas eve boxes, which I think are a lovely idea and a tradition I very much intend to steal. The perfect place for some new pyjamas, a Christmassy book, maybe a couple of carrots for the reindeer… So this year my 24th December pocket will contain a map – and together we can hunt down this final extra special pre-Christmas treat!
So there you have it! Ten different ideas for toddler-friendly advent calendar gifts, many of which can be made or bought very cheaply, and with a couple of variations on each theme easily enough to fill twenty four little pockets.
I’m always on the lookout for new inspiration though, so if you have any other ideas then please share them in the comments.