A friend of mine wanted to get the boys an advent calendar. She’s a good friend, so she knows about my shopaholism issues, and she asked me first. Turned out – I already have the two types of advent calendars she was thinking about (chocolate and Playmobil) but her and I started looking together at what else is out there and were blown away! There are so many cool ones out there! I wanted to share them with you and give you my thoughts (which may be a bit cynical at times – being the only girl, I am often reminded how fragile beauty is and why we can’t have nice things).
This one’s a classic. It’s got magnetic pieces that you stick on to the board, and then you can see how many days you’ve got left until the big day. Pros: learning numbers, like with all the advent calendars, and it can be used as a toy year around – developing fine motor skills, etc.
Cons: lots of small pieces that all have to be accounted for in order for this all to work properly. Yes. It says 3+ on the package. How many people pay attention to that? Especially when they don’t have kids themselves and are buying it as a gift. I can’t speak for your household, but over here – I can just see these pieces getting thrown around, stuck on the fridge, attempted to be stuck on non magnetic surfaces, ending up under the fridge/sucked up in the vacuum/chewed up by the dog/swept up by a well meaning grandma… And then what. Christmas never comes because we’re missing a couple wooden disks?
Bottom line – this calendar is pretty awesome but houses with small boys generally can’t have nice things.
2. Advent Chocolate Calendar(like this one)
To me this type is even more classic than the basic countdown one. The first advent calendar I saw was a chocolate one. It didn’t really make sense since in Russia New Year’s is bigger than Christmas and Christmas is on January 7th. We never figured out when we should have started opening it, so – we just opened the little windows in order and ate all the chocolates within a few days. And that’s the problem with these calendars – you can’t just eat one!!!! They require so much self discipline!!! We won’t be doing these for a while (or at least – the boys won’t know I’m doing one ;) – instead of getting excited about Christmas – for us it turns into a tantrum trigger… But if you’re brave – this could be a great teachable moment!
My only piece of advice: check the ingredients! Not all advent chocolates are created equal.
We actually used this one – but not for Christmas. When Niko had to be in the hospital for a week of very very intense treatment – we would bring this in for him several times a day (he had to be mostly alone in the room… this is not relevant to the calendar. sorry!) And though he was a bit young for it – it was still fun and did a good job of keeping him entertained. Each day is either a car or some accessory for it – like pieces that snap on to make it a sleigh, etc. If your boy loves Hot Wheels – this one’s awesome!
Playmobil makes AWESOME advent calendars!!!!! We actually have several. Here’s a tip – if you’re facing a long flight ahead of you – get one of these and set a timer – and open a number each time the timer goes off. We’ve got the fire fighter one, the robbery at the museum one, and an actual Santa Claus one hidden in the closet – waiting for next week.
The only downsides – each part comes in a plastic bag – so if you are using this for travel – you’re gonna have a lot of trash. And – you’re also gonna have a lot of small parts, so – bring a bigger baggie or a box to keep it all together. They also have some fun ones for girls too. So if you’re looking for a non-edible advent experience – this is definitely my #1 rec!
I’ve seen a couple of calendars like this – with an activity or a prompt for each day. And I’m looking forward to doing one of these – making memories together seems like a much more holiday appropriate activity than just consuming tiny chocolates. Of course – you can always get crafty and make one yourself! Maybe I’ll get a little bit of Pinterest up in here and do just that…
Yay for the holidays approaching! Don’t get overwhelmed and plan ahead ;) If you order one of these today – you can get it before December starts!!!
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