Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Muffin Tin Advent Calendar & Ideas

I'm so sorry I never made even one blog entry the entire month of November...shame on me!!   Well, I love to share, so I'm back at it!  Thanks for sticking with me!  I promise not to let you down...this entry will make up for my long absence!!!

Last year, I started a new advent tradition with Josiah.  I confess I stole the idea from other bloggers.  And he/we liked it so much, I passed the tradition onto 4 other families last year and another 7 this year. Counting our family, I created materials for 12 family advent calendar this year! 

Muffin Tin Advent Calendar

To make the advent calendar use a mini muffin tin (with 24 holes).  Then, using solid scrapbook paper, cut 2 1/4 X 2 1/4 squares and cut 2 X 2 squares out of coordinating scrapbook paper.  (Note: I like to corner round all the edges.)  Stick the squares together with adhesive tape and stick magnets on the back corners.  (I cut my magnets from a roll of magnetic strip). 
Embellish the squares with numbers and decorations!  (FYI- I bought most of mine at Hobby Lobby).  The smaller the embellishments the better because a 2 X 2 space isn't very big. 

Here is a closer look at my squares (you can click on each photo within the collage for an even closer look): 

Here is the link to access my number template, if you don't want to create your own.  Just print them on solid cardstock and punch them out with shaped punchers (circles, starts, hearts, etc...). 

Now the fun begins... you need to think up 24 activities!  Type up your ideas, cut them into strips and tuck them behind your cardstock squares. 

**SPOILER ALERT--To the families I gave muffin tins and activities to, don't look at 2011 ideas if you still want to be surprised each day**

Here are the links to access my advent calendar ideas:
Or get creative and make up your own!!!! I am already starting next year's list :)  Of course, you can find more inspiring advent activities on Pinterst, too!

Bag of Activities

If you peeked at my lists, you noticed that most days the kids have a "present" to open.  The "present" usually contains the materials for the activity, craft, etc... Or it is a small candy or gift :) I wrap all of the "presents" and label them with the coordinating day of the activity, so they know what present to open on which day.  I provide a big sack to stick the presents in. 

It is a lot of work to gather all the materials ahead of time, but I completely recommend it!  This makes the whole process hassle/stress free for you, which is especially important during December!  It also builds the anticipation for the kids, because each day they get to sort through the bag of packages to find the right one! 

I prop up our advent calendar with a large easel.  It not only makes your advent calendar more functional but turns it into a great decoration as well :)  I found it's also important to have a little bucket or basket near your calendar to put the number squares in as the kids take them off-- or the little squares will quickly become ruined and UNusable for another year. 

This is what our advent calendar looks like this morning
after 6 days of activities.

Here is a picture of Josiah with his addressed Santa letter-- that was the advent calendar activity this past Sunday :) Thank goodness, Santa won't have any problem making his wish list come true this year!!! Since it has been an issue in the past....phew!

Dear Santa....

In case you'd still like to make an advent calendar to use yet this month, then just make one out of a regular size muffin tin with 12 holes and count down the last 12 days until Christmas! 

Also, let me know if you have any questions or need more clarification! I will provide you with all the links, directions, etc... for each activity by request. 

I would love to know the intentional ways your family celebrates advent/Christmas or if you plan to make a muffin tin advent calendar for you & yours! Or just comment on what you'd like to see next on my blog...Christmas cookie recipes, main dish recipes, more crafts, stories, etc...

p.s. An advent calendar makes a wonderful family Christmas gift!!

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