Advent Calendars For The Younger Members Of The Family
It is a long-standing tradition to use advent calendars to countdown to Christmas with many families around the world. If you have a toddler or two in your home, it’s a good idea to have an Advent Calendar catered to their needs especially. You are probably already starting to work with them on counting and number recognition so getting a little extra practice while they do something fun like counting down the days until Christmas is not only beneficial it is a fun activity for the child, too. They will not see this daily activity as a learning process at all, they will just look forward to getting to find out how many more days until the presents are under that tree.
Shown above: Kubla Nativity Fabric Advent Calendar
Depending on the toddler and his or her attention span, you can make each day of counting into a real learning time by working on how many days are left and how many days have already been counted. This will introduce not only the numbers and counting but a little of the basic math of addition and subtraction concepts.
This Little People Advent Calendar is aimed at babies and toddlers aged 18 months & up. I’m sure it will bore the older children, but the little ones will love that you can move the pieces around and stick them to the manger scene with ‘hook and loop’ fasteners (somewhat like velcro).
The pieces have a number on the back, so your toddler will get their first taste of what numbers look like. Don’t obsess over that aspect of it yet though. Time enough for them to learn those. Just talk to them about Christmas and the nativity and you’re helping them learn in age appropriate ways.
I love this Advent Calendar: it is made with a toddler in mind! The pieces are soft and large enough for them to handle and it helps them not only learn to count down the days but gives them a good background for the religious meaning of Christmas. Many of the calendars for Advent have a more secular theme to them and that is OK but if you want your child to also start to learn about Christmas as a Christian holiday, something like this one is a perfect choice.
This Kubla Nativity Fabric Advent Calendar is similar to the previous one, except that it’s a bit less formal. The pieces aren’t numbered, for instance, so you can put them in any order you want. Baby Jesus goes in the last pocket of course, but other than that you can organize things your own way. You can even let the older kids help you organize it.
It appears that you can put the pieces anywhere on the manger scene. This too gives toddlers more room to develop their creativity.As with the previous set: reviewers on Amazon report using this with very small children – starting at 1-year-old. Toddlers will certainly learn about the Christmas Story with this and smaller children will love holding the shapes.
Does your family use an advent calendar each year to count down the days until Christmas? Did you know that there are some wonder options for a toddler advent calendar for those little ones to use? What I like about the ones that are designed with the youngest members of the family to work with is that they usually follow a theme that they can relate to and enjoy while learning about Advent and Christmas as a whole.
For 3-year olds and up – for kids who like to make things! 5 small containers of glittery play doh as well as cookie-cutters with Christmas themes. Several parents note that it is a good idea to have bigger containers on the ready if you have several children.
Share A Story Each Night Of Advent
I love this idea, especially for the little ones in the family! Besides using an advent calendar, supplement it with a storybook that offers 24 different stories to be shared with children. Little Benjamin Bear enjoys the stories that his mother shares with him each night as he learns about Christmas as a different little bear goes on an adventure to Bethlehem crossing deserts, mountains with snow and other places. This book is a wonderful way for a child to learn the story of the Nativity in a way that they can understand.
Small Pieces Can Be Swallowed
We should always be mindful that even toddlers will sometimes place small items in their mouths. Keeping these smaller pieces out of reach of the toddler is the safest practice. The pieces could cause a choking hazard that none of us would want our child to have to go through.
Adult supervision with the little pieces involved is the best idea even on something as simple as an Advent Calendar, which is why I picked only those few advent calendars that don’t have small pieces like that. Both these advent calendars have cloth ‘surprises’, so they are toddler (in fact baby) proof!
Toddlers are still not very good at manipulating small objects. I distinctly remember when one of my brothers had put a pea in his nostril. We had to get him to the hospital.
The above advent calendars are both suitable for toddlers, though a story book requires adult supervision as much as the advent calendars below.
On the whole I would personally prefer a toddler advent calendar that they can be around without the adult having to mind the small pieces and toys like the above Little People Nativity advent calendar. However, you will have to put away the one below in between daily advent-sessions, just like you would any book.
Choose A Theme They Are Familiar With
At least that is the advice that I would give. Something like this one that is based on a popular book by Eric Carle called Dream Snow. It has a nice holiday theme to it and they are most probably familiar with Carle’s work from this book or The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The calendar is easy for a toddler to use with pop-up windows that are opened each day to reveal a new item to be added to the scene. I’m sure they will have fun with the farmer and his animals named One, Two, Three, Four and Five along with other parts of the story. A great way for a young child to begin to learn to count.
The mother who took the picture shown here, reports that her 3-year old could successfully do the pull-outs. Do judge for yourself if your toddler is likely to be ready for it.
Why Advent Calendars are good for Toddlers
Young children, especially toddlers, have no real concept of time. We can tell them that Christmas is 25 days away but they really do not grasp what that means. Using an Advent Calendar can help them to start to understand time in the form of days. As the days roll by and they are moving further along with the calendar, they begin to see how long a day is.
It is also a fun way to practice counting and if you make a game out of it each day, your toddler will probably start to count at least a little bit along with you each day. They will not realize that you are sneaking in one more activity to help them to learn how to count.
The calendars, whether for young or old, involve opening windows or pulling open drawers which also helps with some fine motor skills in their development.
Advent Has Been Celebrated for centuries now
We can find accounts of the season of Advent dating back to the 1600’s. Although calendars did not come into vogue until the 1800’s.