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Last minute DIY Advent Calendar ideas for kids 2023

So, I’ve gotta be honest. I was very on time with my 2023 Toy Advent Calendars for kids that are worth it post and then a pretty-nasty-flu-or-COVID-type-thing hit me and I derailed on my programmed posts. So, here I am on the last day of November trying to create I promised in a semi-sort-of-non-timely fashion.

If you get to this post because you’re looking for a last-minute idea (because you’ve only now thought that you might want to do something special for your kids) I’m here for you!

And here’s the best thing about DIY toy advent calendars: you can figure it out as you go.

Here are some ideas that I think are great ideas for a DIY Advent Calendar.

Christmas and Winter Books Advent Calendar

I am not a big fan of ready-made book advent calendars. The reason being the books that come in the packages are way too small.

So what I did last year is: I went to a bookshop and some charity shops, sourced enough Christmas and Winter storybooks to make 24 in total (I already had a few books on the theme), emptied my kid’s bookshelf and every day I took one book out and we read that story that day.

The pictures I took last year are pretty “meh” (it’s the technical term), so this is the only semi-decent one I have at the moment but it helps you understand the gist.

And this is probably something you can do without having the complete collection on the first day. You don’t even need the bookshelf. If you have 3 or 4 Christmas/Winter stories (for example with stories about animals in the winter time), you can start with that. And then spend a morning/afternoon or a couple of days going to some charity shops to source the rest of the books you need at pretty decent prices (or source them online).

If you want to be more thorough (or Instagram worthy), you can wrap all the books and put numbers on them to create an actual calendar (like what has been done by See Vanessa Craft on this post – she has a free printable of the numbers which looks lovely). I wish I had the time and will to do it, but, unfortunately, I don’t and I simply put the books in a pile and let them choose which one they want to read each day.

If they want to read up to three books before bedtime (that’s the limit I had to create to avoid bedtime procrastination), we can re-read the ones that have already been chosen and are sitting on the bookshelf.

I have created the full list of books we own on my Amazon shop just in case you want some to add some to your book collection, even if you’re not doing a full advent calendar. Find the full list of books here. When you click on them, there’s a direct (affiliate) link to the Amazon shop, or

Scavenger Hunt Advent Calendar

When I see the pretty houses and fabric advent calendars, I always wonder: what fits inside those small boxes and pockets?

Honestly, not much. Unless you want to give them a small piece of chocolate or sweets every day (which is probably the only thing that fits), any other things you might get, might be too big. If you’re struggling with this, I’ve got a fun idea for you.

I’m a huge fan of Scavenger Hunts. And it might a really fun moment to create a Scavenger Hunt Advent Calendar. How?

The way I’d do it would be to create a note with clues for every day. Each day, I’d hide the small gift I might have gotten them somewhere in the house (for example under the sofa, or behind a door, or in a basket, etc), and have that day’s note give them clues of where today’s gift might be.

And this can be done with small children too. For a child as young as 2, you can be very direct with your clues (under the sofa, under the table, behind the curtains). For an older child a little more creativity and mystery will be more fun for them, so little riddles with or without rhyme, are a fun exercise for both of you (“Every time you watch TV, you sit on me, what can I be?”). Be as creative as you can.

The greatest thing about this, is that you don’t even need a fancy Advent Calendar. You could simply fold the papers, put a number on them, run a string through it, and hang it on a wall with tape.

If you’re looking for some cute re-fillable advent calendars, find them here.

I’m not doing it this year because I just physically can’t (or I might change my mind halfway through the month, who knows), but I definitely want to do this in the future. Even if just as an excuse to get myself a beautiful looking advent calendar.

Christmas Felt Tree Advent Calendar

Felt Christmas TreeGet it here

OK, this will probably be a thing that will not start on the 1st. BUT! This idea was a suggestion by a lovely lady in a group I’m in, and I thought it was the sweetest thing (thank you Georgia! I hope you’re happy for me to give you a shout out).

Kids love playing with the Christmas tree and those ornaments rarely stay in the place they’ve been located at for a long time. So the idea with this, is to have this Christmas tree put up on a wall or a door, and every day, you can give your child an ornament for them to add to the Christmas tree. And they can decorate them as they please and rearrange the ornaments as many times as they want to. I really loved this idea.

Christmas Tree Ornaments Advent Calendar

On the same vibe of the previous idea, you can create a calendar with Ornaments you already own and each day, the kids can place that ornament on your Christmas Tree.

Of course, this means you might have to give up on the idea that your Christmas Tree will be very aesthetically pleasing, but you know: do it for the kids.

If you’re a crafty person (and you have the time), you could also create an ornament with your kids each day to place on the tree. To make life easier, I would create the template for each craft ahead of time, so that it was just a matter of putting it together on the day. Not only it would help with timing contraints, as it would make everything easier to manage.

(Image and idea taken from here. They have other really cute DIY ideas on that post)

Kindness/Good Deeds/Family Activities Advent Calendar

I think that no matter what calendar you might be doing this year, this is a great idea to add on the side. Or it can be done on its own, and it will still be a great idea.

There are a lot of ready-made calendars out there that you can purchase on Etsy and on Not on the High Street, get on Twinkl (if you’re a member) or simply create your own in whatever way you find appropriate.

If you decide to make your own and don’t know where to start, you can get a lot of ideas from quick Google Search when searching for Kindness advent calendar (which will give you a more Catholic/Christian based idea), Good Deeds calendar (which is a Ramadam advent calendar) or a Family Activities Advent Calendar. There are lovely suggestions on all options, that can apply to any person of any or no faith (and some things that will be more specific to each religion).

This is definitely something I want to implement for my children.

The advent calendar you can see on the picture is from Not on the High Street, and you can purchase it here on the Fearless Flamingo vendor.

Will you create one of these for your kids this year?

Are you doing a different DIY Advent Calendar? Please share!

Please let me know!



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