Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

Making an Advent Activities Calendar


Making this Advent Activities Calendar can relieve a child’s anxiety counting down the days of Advent while joyfully preparing them for the birth of Christ.

Counting down the days of Advent can be difficult for small children.

There is so much excitement involved: feast days, presents, food, and family.

It’s all very exciting but can create a lot of anxiety. I’ve used a few methods over the years to combat this anxious anticipation. Paper chains, purchased Advent calendars, and the Jesse tree have all made appearances in my home with varying degrees of success, but nothing has worked so well as my Advent activity calendar.

I shouldn’t call it my Advent calendar since it was the idea of a friend of mine, a popular blogger named Dawn Hanigan. A few simple materials help create the blessed air of anticipation for which I have been striving for years in my busy homeschool.

A large piece of poster board, a package of library pockets, a glue stick, stickers, and a marker are all that is needed.

I ordered the library pockets online and used the glue stick to attach twenty-five of them to the poster board. I date each pocket and decorate it with stickers. Most years I use purple with pink accents, but this year, I couldn’t find any so this has more of a Christmas feel than an Advent one.

It is important to recognize that each year is different, and has its own particular flavor, not getting too caught up in details like purple and red.

Each week, I evaluate what our week is going to look like and, depending on the activity level, I write out an activity on an index card and stick it in the dated pockets. Some days, it’s as simple as baking cookies and delivering them to neighbors.

Other days, it’s praying a rosary or going to confession and then stop for hot cocoa on the way home.

Feast days have their own special activities.

On the feast of St. Juan Diego, we read a book about this wonderful saint, watch the CCC video called Juan Diego, Messenger of God, and celebrate with a feast of tacos and guacamole.

Each morning, one of the children pulls out the card of the day and eagerly reads what is to come. It’s fun to watch them get so excited.

I think this method has been successful because it’s so flexible for me. I can evaluate what we can manage in the way of observing Advent, while still getting our Seton work done. There have been days when I’ve unobtrusively switched cards around due to a switch in the workload.

I hope this inspires you to make your own way to observe Advent, and if you do, we would love to see what you have come up with.

Please email photos to mbarrett@setonhome.org.

About Mary Ellen Barrett

Mother of seven children and two in heaven, Mary is wife to David and a lifelong New Yorker. She has homeschooled her children for eleven years using Seton and an enormous amount of books. She is a columnist for The Long Island Catholic and blogs here . Meet Mary Ellen.
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