Such a great tradition for my family to share each Christmas!

How to Make The Ultimate Advent Calendar!

Growing up, my grandparents would mail us advent calendars from the UK. Customs wouldn’t allow chocolate so we got the simple paper flap ones. My grandparents were limited to what they could send us and it was a tradition, but I was always envious of my friends who got a chocolate each day counting down to Christmas or had a more elaborate one. So I wanted my son to have the most amazing Advent Calendar I could think of!!! I made it last year and at 18 months, he enjoyed sticking the decorations on the tree and playing with them. As planned, I completed the other levels of the calendar for this year, now that he’s old enough to enjoy them. Here it is, start to finish!!!

What you will need:

  • A meter of green felt.
  • 1 1/2 meters of white felt (I used a heavy felt so it wouldn’t curl up and I want it to last for years!).
  • Brown felt for the tree stump.
  • White felt for the back of the letter pieces.
  • A variety of colours of felt to make ornaments, pouches, number tags, etc.
  • Rough Velcro (you can buy this on its own by the metre at Fabricland)…enough for 48 squares.
  • Computer, printer, laminating sheets (you can get self laminating sheets at Dollarama if you don’t have access to a laminator).
  • 2 wood dowels, 1/2″ in thickness and 3 feet long
  • Sewing machine and thread matching the colours of your felt.
  • Just over 3ft of twine or rope to hang with.
  • Number stencil if you can’t draw numbers free hand.

I started with some heavy, thick white felt for the background. 3ft wide and 49″ long. I made 2 button holes on the top approximately 3 inches from the sides and 1 3/4 inches from the top (make sure they’ve aligned).

Button Holes

After sewing and cutting the button holes I folded the felt over and sewed it so there was a big enough gap to slide a dowel in. I didn’t slide the dowel in until I was finished so I could maneuver the felt in the sewing machine.

I also folded 1 1/2″ of felt at the bottom and sewed it, leaving a gap for a dowel at the bottom to prevent the advent calendar from rolling up.

From there, I drew and cut out a tree from the green felt so I knew how big to make my ornaments to all fit nicely in the Christmas tree. My tree measures approximately 30.5″ tall and 28″ wide.

From there, I did the fun part, I chose and designed my 24 felt decorations for my son to add to the tree each day leading up to Christmas. If you search for “free felt ornament pattern” in Google or Pinterest you will find 100s! Be sure to add a small square of velcro on the back of each ornament before sewing it together.

After making your ornaments, cut out 24 pieces of different coloured felt for your pouches. 4″ tall and 4 1/2″ wide. Lay your tree and pouches on the felt to see where you want to position them and sew the pouches on, obviously leaving the top open and with a bit of give so your child can put the ornaments and cards in and out with ease.

How to Make an Advent Calendar

I hand stitched my tree on because I wanted the look of big stitches (that’s true love because I hate hand sewing things!!) but you can easily use your machine to sew the stump and tree on.

Now for the numbers pieces. I used a number stencil so they would all be uniform. I traced all the numbers i needed and cut them out. Then I cut out the pieces of felt, 24 white pieces and a variety of colours. Each piece was 2 1/2″ wide and 2″ tall.

I sewed the numbers on the coloured pieces and velcro squares on the white pieces and then sewed the pieces together.

There is it, the felt part of the Advent Calendar is complete! Now for the next levels.

Scripture and Activity Cards

I wrote my own verses for each sheet with the help of some online examples but and here they are if you would like to print them! advent scripture.

Print your scriptures off and then place paper back in printer so your activities will print on opposite side of paper. Here are the Advent Activities I used that will align with the scripture.

Cut out the squares and laminate each one or place in the self laminating sheets.

The Ultimate Advent Calendar with detailed instructions and free printables

Tie the twine around one end of a dowel and slide through the top. Pull the twine through the button holes and ties it to the other end by pulling the dowel out a bit at the other end. Push the other dowel through at the bottom.

Each year, on November 30th, your child can choose where each number goes on the pouches. Match the number on the scripture sheet to each pouch number and place inside. Choose which ornament goes in which pouch (I like the star to go in 24).

Each day after that, your child can search for the correct number pouch and pull out the ornament inside and choose where to place it on the tree. Together you can read the scripture and talk about the true meaning of Christmas and then plan to do the activity on the other side together as a family. I’m am so excited to carry this tradition on with my son this year!

The Ultimate Advent Calendar with detailed instructions and free printables

If you are going to make this Ultimate Advent Calendar, make sure you give yourself enough time to make each ornament, depending on how detailed you want them, they can take some time!

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Toddler Made Place Settings for Your Thanksgiving Feast

For the last 2 years I’ve done the same thing, a handprint of my son turned into a turkey. It’s cute, it shows the size of his hand at the time, I liked it…and so did the family! However, this year I felt I should mix it up a little or atleast up my game.

great for babies first Thanksgiving!
I definitely wanted something my 2 year old could make because I know for a fact that no one wants a craft my son “made” aka he destroyed his attempt and I sat at his little table and did children’s crafts! So it was important for me to find something that my son can and will actually make!! I also like the idea of incorporating a handprint or footprint so we can look back over the years and see how much he grew each year.

I also think it’s important to include your toddler in holidays and this is a great way to do it. When they look at the table set, they see something they know they made and contributed. Everyone can comment on them and make your child feel proud of their work.

I found quite a few ideas and my son, being the trooper that he can be, helped me make them all! I think this year we will have a different themed place card for each person!
We did a turkey adoring again but this year livened it up with rainbow feathers! turkey with rainbow feathers

A turkey footprint with actual feathers glued on!turkey with actual feathers glued on

An acorn handprint! place in an acorn or cork to add a personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

An owl handprint on a branch!
place in an acorn or cork to add a personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

A corn on the cob footprint!

A fall coloured leaf! (You can do a variety of these in different fall colours) you can do these in any fall colour!

You can use a handprint or a footprint to make a cornucopia…but unless you use stickers for your child to place for food, you’re going to have to attempt some drawing! 

Put the place cards in a pine cone or a cork with a slit in the top and you’ve got a cute and personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

Lots of Great Ideas to Encourage Fine Motor Skills while learning about Autumn!

Autumn Themed Activities for Toddlers

Last year I was really good at putting out different themed/seasonal activities for my son, but lately I’ve kind of dropped the ball. I decided to step up my game because I know my kiddo loved it before. 

SFall Themed Sensory Tableensory Table

I started with a sensory table with popcorn seeds which he’s had in the past and enjoyed but this time I spiced it up a little. I got the idea to dye the popcorn seeds fall colours off of Pinterest which turned out great! It was so easy, some popcorn seeds in a bag with a drop of hand sanitizer and food colouring! Like my last post of a sensory table, remember to put the seeds in a deep tray or container and an old sheet or shower curtain underneath because these babies can bounce and they’re not fun to clean up. This activity also works great with dyed rice! Put some tractors, toy rakes, farm animals and other fall toys and scoops in and let your child’s imagination run wild!

Talk about farming and harvesting. Practice scooping and pouring with different sized spoons and measuring cups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paint with Corn

I decided to do this activity with my son when I didn’t have any actual corn in the house but he has a toy plastic corn on the cob which we used instead. I felt this was better as corn on the cob is one of my son’s favourite foods and I was worried he might try to eat the paint covered corn. I do plan on trying it though, but I’ll be ready to grab the corn at any sign of salivating!

I put some red and yellow paint in a small container that my son can dip the corn in and I demonstrated how to roll it on he paper. He preferred stamping the corn which still had a cool puppy look.

Paint with Corn...Fall Activities

Pipe Cleaner & Button Tree

Wrap 3 brown pipe cleaners together to make a tree and give your child some large, fall coloured button or beads to put on the tree branches. Talk about the colours, how leaves change colour and fall off for winter, etc. (my son preferred the beads).

Pipe Cleaner Tree...Fine Motor Skills 

Fall Scented Playdough

There are a few recipes on Pinterest that are actually edible but I personally think that is too confusing for a child, one moment having Playdough they can eat and other times not so I personally recommend sticking to homemade, nontoxic Playdough that ain’t allowed near the mouth.

Here’s the Playdough recipe I like to use. Use fall coloured food colouring and scents, my favourites are:

  • brown with cinammon
  • Orange with pumkin pie spice (Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice) or for a gluten free option check out this recipe!
  • Red cranberry…instead of Playdough check out this recipe using cranberry sauce and cornstarch, it’s also gluten free!

Fall Play Dough...Smells like Pumpkin Pie!

Seasonal Bin

Find stuff around your house or head to the Dollar Store! Here’s what we have in our bin!

  • finger puppets
  • Halloween whistles
  • a skeleton
  • a pompom pumpkin
  • red and orange drink lids
  • jack-o-lantern pieces to use in play dough
  • an owl cookie cutter to use in play dough

Season Sensory Bin

Easter

I love chocolate. My grandma (also a chocolate lover) always said, there’s nothing wrong with eating chocolate, it’s calcium. I believe this to be true.

We are still trying to get through our Halloween chocolate but I can’t say no to mini eggs and creme eggs, I’m human. But I do try to limit all that sweet stuff for my son without taking the fun away. Here is what I plan on filling his Easter basket with.

  • Easter themed Stickers
  • A plastic egg filled with jelly beans and a printout of the prayer below.
  • A few small toys
  • A spring themed tshirt (I don’t know what that looks like for a boy but someone suggested it and I think it’s a cute idea, so we’ll see what I can find.)
  • I like the bunny money pic below too but we don’t have $1 bills in Canada and I think a few coins in a plastic egg would be more appropriate for my son’s piggy bank at his age.
  • Colouring book
  • Fishy cracker carrot bags

Fun ideas for an Easter Basket that isn't all chocolate!

My son is at the age where my husband and I want to start traditions, combining some from our own childhoods and some new ones as our own family. We also want to combine the fun and childhood innocence of the Easter bunny and chocolate part of the holiday but without forgetting the reason why we, as Christians, actually celebrate Easter. Our son is obviously too young to understand anything this year, but we still want to be mindful of this as we choose our traditions and ways of celebrating.

This Sunday morning, we will tell our son the Easter bunny came and hid chocolate eggs for him. My son will probably get that cute, excited smirk on his face that he gets when he hears the word ‘chocolate’. We will head downstairs to find the eggs before our dogs beat us to it. My guess is, he will find the first egg and than just want to eat it, not realizing the long term gain of continuing the search. After getting our child hyped up on chocolate, we will have a nice breakfast together and than go to church, dropping our sugar high child off at nursery.

Easter Basket Ideas that Aren’t Chocolate!

Dozens of Great Easter Basket Ideas That Are NOT Chocolate!! 

  • Stickers
  • Colouring book
  • Easter notebook
  • Story books
  • Children’s Bible
  • Bubbles (check out this homemade bubble recipe!)
  • Bubble bath
  • Bath toys (rubber ducky)
  • Bath crayons
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Paint
  • Craft supplies
  • Letter sponges for painting or in bath
  • Easter stamps
  • Bunny bowling
  • Blocks
  • Hot wheels or Toy cars
  • Thomas trains
  • Barbie
  • Disney Princesses
  • My little Pony
  • Mr. Potato Head
  • Little People
  • Stuffed animals
  • Doll
  • Finger Puppets
  • Puzzle
  • Flash cards
  • Game (memory or matching game)
  • Stacking cups
  • Slinky
  • Plastic animal toys
  • Tambourine
  • Maracas
  • Harmonica
  • Letter magnets
  • Easter magnet
  • Play food (plastic or felt)
  • Sandbox or beach toys
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Shirt (Easter or Spring themed)
  • Tights
  • Socks
  • Big Boy or Girl Undies
  • Slippers (bunnies!)
  • Spring/Summer Pajamas
  • Flip flops
  • Swimsuit
  • Child’s umbrella
  • Hooded towel
  • Summer hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Bow tie or Tie
  • Lip chap
  • Hair accessories
  • Jewellery (cross necklace)
  • Bunny Ears
  • Children’s nail polish
  • Playdough (check out this homemade Playdough recipe!)
  • Some seeds (wheat grass, alfalfa, etc.) and a photo of child’s face and do this craft together later!
  • Cute hand soap
  • Tooth Brush
  • Lotion
  • Sunblock
  • Body wash
  • Twisty straw
  • Plate set
  • Cutlery
  • Training Chopsticks
  • Easter themed cups or water bottles
  • Wind up toys
  • Bouncy ball
  • Balloons
  • Kite
  • Beach ball
  • Frisbee
  • Plastic Easter Eggs (filled with snacks)
  • Money
  • CD
  • DVD

Travelling with a Toddler

$25.00CDN for 1 sided $40.00CDN for double sided

here’s hoping for smooth travels with a toddler!!!

This is my 3rd airplane activity tray cover and I think the 11th flight with my little guy.  We go very prepared and so far (touch wood!!) he’s been pretty good.  I made this with my little guy in mind, he loves vehicles, especially buses! Whenever he sees anything to do with hockey he yells “GO GO GO!”. He loves dinosaurs and animals…especially if they roar and he loves playing peek-a-boo.

I make these custom to order in my Etsy Shop, I usually need about 2 weeks to complete and I love to make them as personal as possible for each individual child.  They are $30.00CDN for one sided covers or $50.00CDN for double sided as shown above.

My son will be testing this one out on our flight to Mexico in March, I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂 Fingers crossed!