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 ISSUE 101   •   14  NOVEMBER 2011  
   This issue: advent challenge


1. Editorial
2. Mini envelope advent calendar
3. Paper chain advent calendar

4. Origami cup advent calendar
Advent activity ideas

1. Editorial



Did you have a fabulous halloween? Here in Australia halloween doesn't have a very big presence but it's grown much bigger over the past few years. This year, for only the second time, we dressed up and got together with our neighbours to do a spot of 'trick or treating' which was tremendously fun. That's us in the photo above in case you didn't guess :)

Now here's a very spooky fact!

Do you notice how quickly time seems to pass in the latter half of the year? I feel like I've only just stopped thinking about spooky crafts and already it's time to start planning our annual activity advent calendar!

Fortunately, advent calendars are pretty much my favourite thing to craft.

We started making our own advent activity calendar five years ago now and I have to say the whole experience has completely transformed the lead-up to Christmas for our family. The kids love doing something a little special or different each day and I've found that tailoring the activities can really make this increasingly commercial time of year a lot more meaningful.

To get started simply have a look through the ideas in this newsletter and choose a calendar that best suits your family. Alternatively, come up with an idea of your own! Advent calendars don't have to be difficult or elaborate and if you start now you've still got plenty of time to get organised.

I recently received an email from Kids Craft Weekly subscriber Catherine who had some great suggestions for advent activities that encourage children to think of others in the lead-up to Christmas. I've updated the suggested list of advent activities in the newsletter below to include some of her ideas so be sure to check them out.

Thanks Catherine for the great ideas. If you have some ideas of your own please pop over to the Kids Craft Weekly Facebook page and join the conversation.

If you'd like to see some additional advent ideas then you should grab a copy of the Christmas Craft printable mini-book because it has heaps of great advent crafts and a whole page of cut-out activity suggestions. It also has a stack of other great crafty Christmas ideas that make it well worth the $6 cover price. Plus, it's a fabulous way to support Kids Craft Weekly which is completely free all year round. Thanks in advance for your support.

Happy crafting and I'll see you next time!

Amber Carvan

PS. I've received a number of emails about whether I'll be running the Kids Craft Weekly handmade card swap this year. After much agonising I've decided that it's probably best to give it a miss this year due to work commitments and time constraints. Apologies in advance to those who are disappointed about this, I just don't feel as though I could find the time to give it the attention it deserves.

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2. Mini envelope advent calendar

This is a really simple and cute advent calendar. We've used potato prints to decorate the envelopes but you could make it even more simple by buying some Christmas stamps or stickers and letting your little ones go crazy with the embellishments!

You will need

• small envelopes
• stickers or paint to decorate
• string
• miniature pegs
• advent activities, sweets or trinkets to put inside


1. Decorate some miniature envelopes using potato prints or stickers. Whatever you choose to do, keep it simple as you will have to repeat it 24 times!

Number the envelopes from 1 to 24 and enclose an advent activity and a sweet or trinket in each envelope.

3. String some colourful string along a wall or mantle and use mini pegs to hang the envelopes from the line.

3. Paper chain advent calendar

This is the advent idea that we are going to use this year. It's a great way to recycle old artwork and provides a visual guide to how many days are left until Christmas. The downside is that it's not very easy to switch activities around at the last minute which is something that I have tended to do in previous years. I'll let you know how we get on!

You will need

• colourful paper or old artwork
• scissors
• markers
• stapler
• white stickers


1. Cut some colourful pieces of paper into long rectangles.

2. Write your advent activities on the back of each of the rectangles, then fold the rectangles in half, longways, so that only the coloured side is visible.

3. Using a stapler, make a paper chain from each of the lengths of paper.

Remove one of the paper chains and read the advent activity inside on each day in December. The kids will love to watch the chain get shorter and shorter as Christmas approaches.

4. Origami cups advent calendar

We made this lovely origami cup calendar for our 2006 activity advent calendar and it was a big hit. The folding did take a while though so make sure you have plenty of helpers!

You will need

• origami paper
• ribbon
• stapler
• advent activities, sweets or trinkets to put inside


1. Fold some origami paper into simple cups. Look here for instructions on how to fold an origami cup. Staple on some ribbon to make a handle then number the cups from 1 to 24 and enclose your advent activities plus some sweets or trinkets.

2. Pin the cups to a notice board or to some wood or hang from a curtain rod.

This was definitely the most attractive advent calendar that we've ever made. The little origami cups looked gorgeous hanging on our old broom handle – a real visual delight!

5. Some advent activity ideas

Following are a few ideas to get you thinking about what activities you might like to include in your calendar. A smart way to plan your advent calendar is to pull out your diary and include pre-scheduled events and activities (such as 'go to the school Christmas concert') in your advent calendar so that you don't wind up with too much to do on any given day.
  • Paint everybody's toenails in Christmas colours.
  • Make Christmas cards.
  • Make Christmas ornaments.
  • Set up the Christmas tree.
  • Make gift tags.
  • Bake Christmas cookies and decorate them.
  • Purchase a present to give to charity.
  • Have a picnic for dinner.
  • Go out to look at Christmas lights after dark.
  • Write a letter to Santa.
  • Make gifts for teachers.
  • Hold a family disco.
  • Go out somewhere special for dinner.
  • Eat fancy ice creams after dinner.
  • Watch a Christmas movie before bed.
  • Smile at someone who looks sad or lonely.
  • Talk to someone (at playgroup/nursery/school) who is not your friend.
  • Help someone today, when it is not convenient for you.
  • Make a Christmas card that you love, and give it away to a stranger.
  • Don't buy anything today - nothing at all.
  • When grocery shopping, chose two of your favourite healthy foods (long-life only), and donate one to the food bank. 
  • See if you can find three toys you enjoy (can chose more or less), but have outgrown, and donate to charity resale shop.
You will even more advent ideas and along with a full page printable list of advent activities and numbers in Christmas Craft – the Kids Craft Weekly printable book. You can buy it now and start working on your advent calendar within five minutes!

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