Saturday, November 29, 2014

Christmas Advent Calendars with FREEBIES!

Welcome to our first Christmas 2014 post. This year I wanted to begin the Holiday Season posting a few of the different advent calendars we have done throughout the years.

Some of you may also have carried this advent calendar fun tradition  through the years and I would really DIG checkin' them out! If you've - a - mind, lay a "linky" on me in the comment section & I will be sure to trip on over for a visit. If enough of you are hep to this action, I will do an Advent Calendar "linky" post.

Our first Advent activity is an oldie but a goodie. Quite basic & quick, this timeless advent calendar was done in just about every classroom across the nation when I was in Elementary school. I continued this type of advent calendar with my A Kinders Garten Pre-K program during the '80's & in my homeschool. Always a fun family and classroom "together" project during both the creating and the counting down process. 

I do not have actual fotos of this project as in those days, we did not take pictures for the web. What I do have is a photo of the bell in which a paper chain was added, one link for each day. I do not think I have to spell it out in this here post as most of you have made a paper chain at sometime in their life. But this particular time, I used my large bell pattern  tracing & cutting out a bell  for each child.

As anyone who has done the same job, hobby or craft throughout the years, I have figured out ways to make processes easier & quicker.
Did you know with a good pair of paper scissors, you can cut up to 3 pieces of heavyweight tagboard without tearing it? This is a sweet time & hand saver for sure. Just line the edges up even with each other & either staple or paper clip them to hold them in place. Trace the pattern(s), then cut out. You can also do this with construction paper (up to 6 sheets) or tissue paper (up to 10 sheets):

 Check out the smooth edges after cutting in bulk:

That accomplished, I did the same with the tissue paper using my handy paper cutter, cutting it in @ 2" - 3" squares and placing them in a bowl for quick retrieval. Using liquid starch and a paint brush, the children placed a tissue piece on their bells & then brushed it down with the starch.  

Liquid starch is another staple in our homeschool. I use it for paper mache, tissue paper crafting and I mix it with tempera paint to make homemade fingerpaints. You should have some on hand in your classroom as well and while it is somewhat illusive in the stores now-a-days, I am STOKED I found several on Amazon:


and Sta-flo on ebay: 

Sta-flo Liquid Laundry Starch

We let the starch dry, then glued on the following poem I revised:

December first to Christmas is the longest time of year,
It seem as though old Santa never will appear! 
How many days until Christmas? 
It is mighty hard to count,
So this paper chain will tell you the exact amount. 
Undo a link each evening as the sandman casts his spell,
Christmas will be here by the time you reach the bell!

I Punched a hole at the top of the bell and each child chose a pipe cleaner to put through the hole, twisting it into a circle for a holder. I had some Santa stickers laying around so we added one to the clapper. Here is our finished Bell for our Advent chain: 

Next we attached our paper chain to the back of the bell clapper & tore off each link until Christmas. 

You can make this exact same Christmas Bell Advent Calendar Chain with your babes using our FREE bell pattern from our Teacher's Notebook Store:

Christmas Bell Advent Countdown Pattern  

If you are wantin' to trip on MORE Christmas Bell activities, visit our Christmas Bell post. Packed FULL of Christmas Bell movies, songs & crafts from the days of yesteryear:

AKGVH Vintage Christmas Bell Activities

When Julian was younger, we did a Nativity Advent paper chain calendar. I found some old Christmas cards with Nativity scenes on them and had the children choose their fav.I drew a quick stable pattern for each one on a piece of scrap cardboard, then on yellow construction paper. We glued the yellow stable on top of the cardboard stable, then glued on the cut out Nativities on the yellow paper. 

After drying, we glued some straw hay here & there, threw on some glitter & added popsicle sticks to the top with a Star in the middle. I typed a doc of certain Christmas Story Bible sentences I paraphrased, cut them out using my good 'ol paper cutter, and each child glued one onto pre-cut Christmas colored construction paper strip. We let the strips dry, then made them into a chain and attached the to our Nativities with a strip of paper glued to the back. Check them out:

Here is Sierra's Nativity Advent Calendar:

I hung Julian's from an antler deco I have in my kitchen and every night before bedtime, we reviewed the Nativity Story, then read the link to be torn off that night. As the chain got smaller, I took the calendar down so he could tear off the next link, then hung it back up:

I kept the torn links and after Christmas I had each child glue the links in story order on a piece of tagboard. I paraphrased the actual scriptures for smaller children to tell it as a story:

Tell the Christmas story as each link is torn & soon you will be at the manger where the Christ Child was born.

Gabriel the angel was sent from God to Galilee.

Gabriel came to Mary & said “Fear not for the Lord is with thee.”

Gabriel told Mary she would have a Son.

God told Joseph to name the child Jesus.

Jesus is the only begotten Son of God.

God will give Jesus the throne of David.

Mary asked Gabriel “How can this be?”

Gabriel told Mary “With God all things are possible.”

Mary said “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

Mary knew God is mighty & His name is Holy.

God would fulfill the promise He told Adam & Eve.

A savior will be born who will redeem us & guide us.

And His name shall be called Mighty God, the Prince of Peace & King of Kings.

Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem the city of David.

The shepherds were in the field watching their sheep.

An angel came & said  ”I bring you tidings of great joy.”

“Unto you is born this day a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”

“You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.”

“He will be lying in a manger.”

With the angel was a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God.

The angels said” Glory to God in the highest & on earth goodwill to men.”

The shepherds said “Let us go to Bethlehem.”

“Let us see that which the Lord has made known to us.”

They came fast & found Mary, Joseph & the Babe lying in a manger.  

For older children, have them look up and copy the actual verses referenced. Or you can use these for older children:

Happy Home Fairy Bible Advent Verse Cards

And now for another FREEBIE! You can do this with your babes this year with my Nativity pattern and poem sentences from our Teacher's Notebook Store:

Vintage Nativity Interactive Advent Calendar Pattern FREEBIE!

Another advent calendar we did was a Christmas Tree Goodie Calendar. I drew a tree on a large cardboard & cut it out, one for each child. Next they painted their tree. Using peanut party cups, we counted out 48 cups for each child & painted them on the outside. Then we glittered them heavily so they were really sparkly like lights. I had the children glue 24 cups bottom side down onto their painted trees, and let them dry.

Inside each cup I placed a hard candy but you could also place a Hershey's kiss or a mini Reeces Peanut Butter Cup:

Next, we glued the remaining cups on top of the 24 cups on the tree & The cups represent Christmas Tree lights...L@@K how pretty they came out:


After dinner, if Julian ate ALL his food, I let him choose a cup to open so he could eat his candy treat. If you want to make this Advent Calendar with your babes, here is a FREEBIE tree pattern from our Teacher's Notebook store:

Christmas Tree Advent Calendar Tree Pattern

We also did this the next year using Santa's head, kept the cups white for the hat trim, ball & Santa's beard. This Advent Calendar had Hershey's kisses inside :


Need a Santa head? Here you go, another FREEBIE!! This is the 4th FREEBIE thus far on this here Christmas Advent Calendars post....SWEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!

Vintage Santa Interactive Advent Calendar Pattern

Nut cups are more oft than not sold at party stores of possibly in the party section of your local store, but you can shop for them at home with these QUICK & EASY links:

 eBay also has these cups in Christmas colors: 

Paper Nut Cups

Here is another Advent Countdown Calendar we made. My babes glued  their handprints on a cut out doughnut shaped cardboard. Then I gave them some red tissue squares which they crumpled up and glued on the handprints for berries:

Next we glued two strips at the bottom and hung it on a door. PTL we have LOTS of doors in our 5 bedroom home, altho' cleaning all those rooms is NOT top on my list for pleasure :)  I printed out some numbered ornaments I found on line several years ago. I have tried to find the link for the ornaments, but for the life of me I cannot. If any of you recognize these ornaments & know where I got them, let me know & I will add the link to this post. I put the ornaments inside an envelope & secured it near the wreath. Before bed, each child took the correct number of the calendar date from the envelope & glued it onto one of the strips. By the evening of the 24th, all the ornaments were hanging on the strips:

Our next Christmas Advent Calendar was HUGE! I made a GIANT Christmas tree from green felt and stapled at the bottom of my stairway wall. I placed the same ornaments I used for our Handprint Wreath Advent Calendar above^ in an envelope stapled near the tree. Only this time, I printed them on milk filters which by the by are the BOMB for using as felt board printing. You may get these most DYNO milk filters to use to make your classroom resources, crafts, games and the like from this quick link here...can you DIG it?!

Hamby Dairy Supply Milk Filters

While I had to cut them down to printer size, my handy dandy paper cutter SAVED the DAY once again!!!

And like I said on my Vintage American Indian Communications & FREEBIES post, if you do NOT have one, TRIP on this one from Amazon cuz a paper cutter for classroom use is whats happenin':

or choose one that meets your needs on eBay:

Guillotine Paper Cutter

Our Christmas Advent Calendar Dr. Suess design type Tree is interactive and my babes had so much fun re-arranging, counting & sequencing the these ornaments on their GIANT tree day after day:



And guess what?! Here is that Christmas Tree Pattern FREEBIE again!! Yup, just click on the link below and it will take you directly to our Teacher's Notebook Store where you can print this out and use as a pattern to make an Interactive Christmas Advent Calendar Tree for your babes:

Christmas Advent Calendar Tree Pattern FREEBIE!

I also printed out the following Names of Jesus ornaments for their interactive enjoyment found here:

Names of Jesus Ornaments

Our last Christmas Advent Calendar activity is one you have probably seen on Pintrest. I went to the $$$ Store and picked up enough pairs of Christmas themed stockings to represent 24 days. I wrote the numbers on them with puff paints and let them dry. Then I hung them up across our ceiling beams and stuffed them with candy and mini toys . Every evening after dinner, they got to reach into the days stocking and get their goodie or gift. DIG all the different Christmas designs I was able to get...SWEEEEEEEEET!!


If you would like to do this craft yet unable to find stockings, these mini stockings from Amazon are bodaciously BOSS! So let's go shopping!!

or select from this nice array on eBay: 

Mini Christmas Stockings

Need some puff paints:

or choose from a bigger selection on eBay: 

Puff Paints 

Or you can make your own stockings with yet another FREEBIE! You can print out my stocking pattern from our Teacher's Notebook store & shrink it down to any size you like:

Interactive Christmas Stocking Advent Calendar Pattern

Well, that is it for our Interactive Christmas Advent Calendar activities for this year. I sure did lay a lot of FREEBIES on ya in this here post! 

 If you are l@@king for MORE Advent ideas & activities, DIG these links:

Joyfully Weary Advent Ideas

Beauty & Bedlam Jessee Tree Advent

Teach With Me is one of my FAV sites! She has a whole slew of Christmas Countdown Activities:

This Reading Mama is another of my FAV bloggers & she has posted  FREEBIE Jesse Tree Advent Cards in both print & script font...dash on over and download them today!

Jesse Tree Advent Cards from This Reading Mama

Leave us NOT forget Confessions of a Homeschooler...she has a whole Jesse Tree unit study FREEBIE you can download...SWEEEEEEEEEEET!!

Jesse Tree Unit Study

Carisa at 1+1+1=1 has a few Jesse Tree Printables from lovely ornaments to calendar printables and even an ebook!

1+1+1=1 Jesse Tree FREEBIE Collection

Meet Penny is a DEF hook up & you will want to get on her email newsletter list if you have not as of yet. She has a whole SLEW of Jesse Tree links to choose from:

Meet Penny's Jesse Tree Link Hook-Ups

Monica from Happy and Blessed Home has some FREE Advent Calendar Christmas Ornaments on a PDF you can download and print out:

Free Happy and Blessed Home Advent Christmas Ornaments Crafting 

I hope you were diggin' our happening & ALL my FREEBIES! Remember if you family enjoys this activity from year to year, shoot us a link in the comments section & I will be sure to trip on by:)!

See you then!
C.S. Calkins

Join us and others at our FAV linky parties:

Five for Friday

                                                             Vintage Charm

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday



The Deliberate Mom


I was featured for Tot School!

Clever Chicks Blog Hop


Tell it to Me Tuesdays

Family Fun Friday

Learning from Each Other

My Bored Toddler

Tots and Me

Tree Valley Academy
Fun Money Mom


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your freebie on Manic Monday Freebies.
    LMN Tree

  2. So many advent ideas, well done!

    1. Many thanks for stopping by & leaving feedback all the way from Oz, Alison! I hope I post some more things you may be interested in soon...

    2. Oh wow! So many creative and beautiful ideas here.

      Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop!

      Wishing you a lovely weekend.

    3. I am so STOKED you have visited our blog once again, Jennifer! As for all the activity ideas, there are so many I have done with my students throughout the decades it has been quite a challenge to re-format them to the web along with tying it all together to make a post. I have never been much of a writer but I try my best to convey our activities in written form. And as you can see, I DIG shopping for a BARGAIN! As a homeschooler I must do my best to enrich my babes learning experiences as frugally as possible, hence some bought, some improvised & some made. This blog has been quite an en devour for me & I must say, I applaud ALL the hard work others do for their babes, students & other educators!

  3. Some lovely advent ideas! Thanks for sharing on Toddler Fun Friday

  4. Such cute ideas! Thanks so much for sharing at Share The Wealth Sunday and I hope you'll join us for an all new party tonight!
    Lisa @ Fun Money Mom