Advent calendars are a traditional way to mark the passage of days in December leading to Christmas Day. Unlike Advent itself, which varies in number of days, Advent calendars only count the 24 days of December before Christmas. Some have a candy or other treat for each day. Some have a picture of a toy or tell a bit of the Christmas story. Each day, one door is opened. As the month progresses, it becomes quite clear how close Christmas is coming.
Advent calendars are a wonderful way to help children experience Advent as a season unto itself. They also help children to experience in both tactile and visual form the passage of time.
I developed this Advent calendar for the children in grades 3-5 when I was teaching in our parish religious education program. It’s an easy project to do in an hour or two and offers a daily reminder of things to do together or individually to prepare for the coming of Christ in our daily lives, on the Last Day, and as he came historically – the day we celebrate at Christmas.
You will need:
2 – sheets of white card stock or construction paper – 8 1/2 by 11
1 – small brad
1 – 5 inch ribbon (wrapping paper type is fine)
Crayons, watercolor paint, colored pencils, pastels or other “coloring” medium of your choice
To make your Advent calendar:
- Print the templates for the cover and activities pages included here – one on each sheet of card stock/paper. Click here for the cover template. Click here for the activities page.
- Draw/color a picture of a lighted candle on the larger circle that has only the “cut-out” marked. Be sure to draw your candle so that the cut-out points to the lower right side of the picture. Don’t worry if the coloring goes outside the lines of the circle. It won’t matter. The important thing is that the child draw the picture, not that it be a great work of art!
- Cut out the cover picture (of the candle) and the activities page.
- Cut out the area of the cover picture inside the dashed lines.
- Make a loop with the ribbon and tape it to the back of the top of the cover picture, so the picture will look straight when you hang it up.
- Poke a hole in the center of each page, where the black dot is.
- Insert the brad through the holes, with the cover on top and the activities page underneath. Open the wings of the brad on the back side of the Advent calendar to hold it together. The activities page should be able to turn behind the cover.
- Set the calendar to Day 1 and hang it where you will see it each day of December and remember to do something special to prepare for Christmas.