Instead of chocolate or gifts as you count down to Christmas with your toddler and Preschooler why not spend a little time each day doing one of these Advent Ideas that are so simple to do you’ll have fun together and make memories. Check out how we’ve been using them with our tots as well as our 24 days of Advent Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers below.

Advent Calendar Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers

We loved doing all of these activities with our toddlers and use to place a card either in our homemade fabric advent calendar or in the envelopes we used with our snowman advent calendar and then choose one a day to do as a family.

Some of these suggestions (with an asterisk) need a little planning so you could work out in advance which days you are going to do each one.

Book Themed Advent Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Countdown to Christmas with a storybook advent, 4 weeks of classic children's Christmas books with crafts, activities, and more.
Storybook Advent – sign up now to do with your kids this Christmas.

If you are looking for something different then our Storybook Advent Calendar has fun Christmas Book ideas plus activities, crafts and recipes to do alongside them.

You can even get the ideas straight to your inbox throughout the month of December just sign-up over on the Storybook Advent Page here.

Watch our Advent Calendar Activities Video Below

Here’s just a taste of some of the fun advent calendar activities to do with your toddlers and preschoolers this year.

Got more than one child at home and love to do crafts but finding it tricky? Check out our top tips for crafting with 2 or more kids under 4! We did it and so can you!

24 Simple and Fun Advent Calendar Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers

If you love this list then get the free PDF version of it at the end. Just scroll to find the link!

Christmas Tree Fun

family picking a Christmas Tree from the farm
Real or Artificial the Christmas tree is our top idea for counting down to Christmas with the Kids

Whether you have an artificial Christmas Tree or get a real Christmas Tree. Then getting it ready and decorated can be one of the best things about Christmas for little tots. Add in some Christmas songs and make a big reveal of the Christmas lights on the tree at the end.

#2 Make a Nature Christmas Tree

making suet balls with toddlers a great way to countdown to christmas and one of the advent activities for kids.
Make homemade bird feed and feed the little robin red breast as you countdown to Christmas with the kids.

Decorate a Tree in the garden with food for the birds – you could make these easy suet balls perfect for kids as there is no heating involved or how about stringing cranberries together for the bird.

#3 Decorate a Plate for Santa

Christmas craft for kids
Decorate a plate for Santa’s cookies with your toddlers and preschoolers.

Santa’s cookies need a plate and if you make one together it’s a memory that you can bring out year after year. Our kids love to see the homemade Santa’s plate that they made when they were just 1 and 3.

#4 Make Mince Pies

Christmas recipe for mince pies
Toddlers making mince pies for Christmas food

A real treat at Christmas and one of our favourite things to cook. Traditional Mince Pies need good pastry skills, but for your toddlers, we have a no-roll pastry mince pie recipe that is ideal. Then why not take them to a friend and neighbour as a gift.

#5 Go on A Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt

Head out after dark either for a walk or in the car and go on a Christmas Light Decoration Scavenger Hunt with your tots from Joy in the Works.

If it’s cold and wet outside why not print your own Christmas Indoor Scavenger Hunt ideal to play any day throughout December.

#6 Go Late Night Shopping

In the UK at least, in the lead up to Christmas the towns and malls have Late Night Shopping evenings. There are fun fair rides, carol singers, amazing light displays and chestnuts roasting to try as well.

#7 Set up your own Nativity

child playing with nativity story stones.
Nativity Story Stone a fun Toddler Friendly Nativity Set to play and learn with.

We made our homemade Nativity set when J was a toddler and every year since we’ve brought it out to do together.

#8 Attend a Nativity Play

watch a nativity show
Watch a Nativity Show with your Toddlers and Preschoolers

Whether you attend the one play that your toddler or preschooler is in or one at the church it’s a nice way for you to help teach your little ones about the Christian Christmas Story. If you do have a toddler or preschooler in the show then check out our Nativity Costume Ideas to DIY or buy.

#9 Make Salt DOugh Ornaments

cinnamon scented salt dough stars
Make Salt Dough Ornaments with your little ones

Our favourite Christmas craft is to make Salt Dough Ornaments for the Christmas Tree. We use our quickest ever salt dough recipe and in less than 30 minutes we have decorations drying that the kids have made.

#10 Bake Gingerbread Snowflakes

preschooler making gingerbread snowflakes for christmas treats
T age 3 making gingerbread snowflakes. They are a favourite Christmas treat for all of us.

Although we love making gingerbread men you can change it up a bit and make some delicious and easy gingerbread snowflakes. They taste even better than they look. And if you don’t like gingerbread then no worries – they will harden and you can use them for decorations as well (just leave off the icing.)

#11 Decorate a Gingerbread House

Father and Daughter building a Gingerbread House Together
Decorating a Christmas Gingerbread House together

Whether you decide to make your own or buy a kit decorating a gingerbread house is one of our favourite activities to do at Christmas Time. We get the grandparents involved and they help too. If you don’t want an edible one why not try some of our gingerbread house boxes to decorate and hang on the Christmas tree.

#12 Give toys to Charity

With Christmas coming you will likely have some more toys arriving and your toddlers will have some spare toys. We spend some time before Christmas Day sorting out the toys and setting aside some that we then take to a Children’s Charity so that others can enjoy it.

#13 Christmas Nature Hunt

christmas nature hunt
T on a Christmas Nature Hunt looking for Holly and Ivy from the Carol

Go and hunt for Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe. It’s a great time to get out and these 3 Christmas plants are easy to find. See our guide of a Christmas Nature Hunt with Kids.

#14 Make a Chocolate Yule Log

Chocolate Yule Log
Simple Chocolate Yule Log to Make with Toddlers

This is a family tradition that we have an easy to make chocolate Yule log. With storebought chocolate swiss rolls, mini rolls and some dairy milk chocolate to melt it’s so simple and then you can use icing sugar to cover it in snow.

#15 Sing Christmas Carols

We love to sing Christmas Carols and songs every day as we lead up to Christmas. In fact, I think they start sometime in November. But we make a special time out of it and sing them by candlelight. A couple of years we’ve also gone to the Christmas Carol Church Service and sung them there.

#16 Visit Santa

Visit Santa
T’s first visit to Santa at 9 months old. We started this tradition early

Not to be missed off the list, plan in a visit to Santa and capture the moment to look back on when they are teens.

#17 Make an Angel for the Christmas Tree

Wooden peg angel to make with toddlers and preschoolers
Preschooler made wooden peg Angel for the Christmas tree.

Nothing beats homemade decorations on the Christmas Tree. Of the trees we have in the house, our one in the lounge where we spend a lot of the time is decorated with homemade decorations including this wooden clothes peg angel decoration.

#18 Make Handmade Gifts

DIY Hand and Foot print First Christmas Ornaments
Handmade First Christmas Ornaments a great gift for grandparents.

It doesn’t matter how little your kids are they can still help make some gifts for family and friends. We loved our Handmade First Christmas ornament we made and gave it to grandparents to have. But with toddlers and preschoolers, there are lots more possibilities. Check out these ideas for kid-made homemade gifts from Red Ted Art.

#19 Make Paper Chains to Decorate the House

scrapbook paper chain
Toddler Made Scrapbook Paper Christmas Paper Chains.

We love making paper chains and each holiday we have a new set we make. They are so easy to do the kids love to decorate their bedrooms with them as well.

#20 Make Reindeer Print Feet Christmas Cards

making toddler hand and footprint christmas cards
Toddler making handprint Christmas Cards

Handmade hand and footprint Christmas cards will always be a favourite with grandparents and aunts and uncles and they are so simple to make. You could make Footprint Reindeer and Handprint Tree Cards. Or how about using some shapes and pompoms and create some really simple handmade Christmas Tree Christmas Cards.

#21 Deliver your Christmas Cards

envelope ready for a toddler to deliver as you play postman
Play Pretend Jolly Postman with our Role-Play idea for Christmas Cards.

Wrap up warm and head out to deliver your handmade Christmas Cards to your neighbours. If you can’t do that why not play pretend and deliver some Christmas Cheer to each other.

#22 Write a Letter to Santa

a toddler letter to santa

Although you’ve probably already got everything for Christmas sorted we do like to write a letter to Santa. A toy magazine, some glue and you and your tots can make a letter and then leave it out for the elves to find and take to the North Pole.

#23 Have a moment and sit down to watch some Christmas Movies

Selection of the best bits on Netflix this Christmas for families to download, watch and enjoy plus a favourite for the Mums as well.
Christmas Movie time

You really can’t beat sitting and watching Christmas movies with the kids.

Whether you are looking to add to your DVD collection with our Best Christmas Movies for Toddlers and Preschoolers or hunting for something to watch this Christmas on Netflix we have you covered.

We make some popcorn like this Grinch Popcorn from Ruffles and Rainboots and pick our favourite to enjoy.

#24 Read the Night Before Christmas

Simple Christmas Story Basket to make and use with young children based on the classic Christmas Storybook Twas the Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas Book

Make a special time and sit down together and read The Night Before Christmas. It’s our favourite story and we love to get the duvets down, cosy up on the sofa and read together.

Fun Advent Calendars for your Toddlers and Preschoolers

We have included affiliate links to some of the products and resources as an associate we may earn from qualifying purchases.

Are your toddlers and preschoolers fans of Paw Patrol then this Paw Patrol Advent calendar will be a hit this year with them.

A lot less commercialised this Melissa and Doug Wooden Advent calendar lets you and your child count down to Christmas adding the ornaments to the wooden magnetic tree.

If you are looking for something to share with the children this Christmas then the Fischer Price Nativity Set is great as you can add the characters to the scene as you countdown to Christmas.

Out Now! – Countdown to Christmas Ebook

When life gets hectic in the lead up to Christmas wouldn’t it be great to be able to spend a little time with the family creating gifts for others, food to enjoy together and traditions that make magical Christmas Memories?

But what actually happens is you spend hours searching through Pinterest looking for ideas and realise halfway through saying you are going to start that you have only 1 thing on the materials list!

I’ve been there!

So that is why we’ve put together our 24 favourite Christmas Activities, Crafts and Recipes with full materials lists and step-by-step instructions so that you have everything at your fingertips.

Download your Printable Advent Activities for Toddlers

Oops almost forgot here’s your printable advent ideas for toddlers to use this Christmas.

24 simple advent activities for toddlers
24 Simple Advent Activities for Kids
Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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