Thirty Low Cost Advent Activities for Children and Toddlers (with FREE printables)

Thirty Low Cost Advent Activities for Children and Toddlers (with FREE printables)

I love Christmas. Always have, always will. And I’m determined that my boys will grow up and love it too.

Not for the presents, or the toys. But because it’s a magical time of year. The excitement of Santa, the family traditions, and the memories made. I probably wouldn’t list them in that order (note: probably) but I know Small Human would definitely rank Santa first. Followed by Christmas lights, Ho Ho trees and, of course, the presents.

I also don’t want Christmas just to be about ‘one day’ and bucketloads of presents. He’s small and easily overwhelmed. Hell, I’m grown and easily overwhelmed.

Hence making an activity advent calendar. It nicely spreads out all the Christmassy activities across December, sows the seeds of tradition for the next few years, and gives us some fantastic festive memories to look back on when they’re both too old to be bundled in the car to look at Christmas lights.


We’re putting ours in one of those wooden advent calendars from Hobbycraft, but you could easily use an envelope instead. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

So, here are my thirty budget family-friendly advent ideas:

  1. Make a Christmas wreath
  2. Make chocolate truffles (half chocolate, half double cream – so simple!)
  3. Bake some biscuits for Santa
  4. Write a letter to Santa
  5. Visit Santa’s grotto (try village fairs for cheap entry; our local one is £2 including gift)
  6. Decorate a gingerbread house
  7. Make paper snowflakes
  8. Decorate the Christmas tree
  9. Make clay ornaments (salt clay is super easy to DIY)
  10. Go to the shop and pick a decoration (Poundland have some great things this year!)
  11. Make Christmas themed bird food
  12. Watch a Christmas movie
  13. Enjoy a special Christmas breakfast (this could be as simple as cinnamon pancakes or special pastries – make your own with frozen puff pastry to keep costs low)
  14. Have a Christmas disco
  15. Go on a hunt for Christmas lights (make this extra special with hot chocolate and snacks, or play Christmas light bingo)
  16. Write and send Christmas cards
  17. Wrap some Christmas presents
  18. Make up a Christmas story
  19. Collect pine cones on a festive walk
  20. Donate a toy (new or old; we’ll be donating to a charity shop and Food Bank)
  21. Buy a present for family (perfect for siblings)
  22. Have a Christmas picnic
  23. Go ice skating (okay, this is a tad spendy – but try Groupon for special offers)
  24. Go on a candy cane hunt (paper will do, if you don’t have a sweet tooth)
  25. Make some Christmas paper chains
  26. Decorate chocolate truffles
  27. Decorate a gingerbread man
  28. Make some Christmas tree decorations
  29. Make some Christmas presents
  30. Do a Christmas craft

And if that isn’t enough, I’ve created two printables for you to cut up and use in your calendars…

Download Advent Activities for Children >

Download Advent Activities for Toddlers >

I’d love to hear what you get up to! Let me know in the comments, tag me on Instagram @athriftyfox or follow our advent activities with #athriftyfoxadvent



  1. 11th December 2018 / 6:34 pm

    Nice posts! 🙂