I just love going to MOPS. Besides, the friendship, fellowship and great food, we get to make fun craft projects. A few weeks ago we made an easy Advent Jar. What's an Advent Jar you ask? Well, its just like an advent calendar, except you use a jar and Popsicle sticks. Following the easy DIY advent calendar tutorial are 35 ideas for activities and experiences to write on those sticks. If you are still looking for some holiday gifts for your favorite little artist be sure to check out 20 Gifts for the Budding Artist.
You will need:
- Clean glass jar
- 25 Popsicle sticks (the larger the better)
- Ribbon (a wider ribbon and a thinner ribbon in holiday colors)
- Double sided tape or a hot glue gun
- Fine tip permanent marker
A recycled jar would be perfect for this advent calendar. Just make sure you have removed the label. The Popsicle sticks they provided us at MOPS were the larger tongue depressor type, but small ones would work as well if that's what you have on hand. The Popsicle sticks I received were dyed red and green. They sell colored Popsicle sticks if you don't want to go through the trouble of dying them yourself. Of course you can leave them natural as well.
The length of ribbons you use will depend on the width of your jar. You want to make sure you have enough of the wider ribbon to wrap around the jar completely and overlap itself a bit.
Fold over one end of the wide ribbon about an ⅛ of an inch. Then add a few strips of double sided tape to the back of the wide ribbon.
Wrap the ribbon around the jar, making sure it is straight as it goes around. You can also place the ribbon on a table (tape side up) in straight line and set the jar on it so the ribbon is in the middle. Then you can just pull and stick the ribbon on the jar.
Make sure that the end of ribbon that you folded over is the end that overlaps, as it will look much cleaner than having the unfinished end overlap.
Next you will use your thinner ribbon. You will want to cut this ribbon longer than the wide ribbon since you will be tying it. You do not need any adhesive on the back of this ribbon. You can leave the edges on the thinner ribbon as is, or you can cut a little v shape like I did on mine. Tie the thinner ribbon around the wider ribbon on the jar and make a knot.
Now it's time to write your fun Advent ideas on the Popsicle sticks. A fine tip permanent marker works best for this task.
When you are done, place the sticks in the jar and pull out one a night during Advent to do with your family. You can also write a number on the back of the sticks so you know which one to pull out each night. This way you can make sure the activities you have planned go with the time you have on any particular day.
If you are having a hard time coming up with ideas to write on your sticks, here are some ideas from some of my favorite bloggers.
1. Driving around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights (In Lieu of Preschool)
2. Putting reindeer food outside the house on Christmas Eve so Rudolph knows which house to stop at. (Nurturestore)
3. Making cranberry sauce which makes the whole house smell festive (Domestic Goddesque)
4. Building Gingerbread houses (Housing a Forest)
5. Going out to the town's annual tree lighting (Toddler Approved)
6. Bake and craft and listen to Christmas music (Life at the Zoo)
7. Decorate the Christmas tree as a family (Childhood 101)
8. Bake and package up goodies to take to neighbors (This Reading Mama)
9. Visit local train displays (Busy Kids Happy Mom)
10. Going on a hunt for the perfect Christmas Tree (Happy Whimsical Hearts)
11. Nighttime shopping with the kids including a Starbucks stop for some sweet treats (Rainy Day Mum)
12. Baking cookies for Santa (Mom to 2 Posh Little Divas)
13. Playing Find the Wisemen. The wisemen wander around the house on their way to the manger and the child has to try and find where they are on their journey to the manger (JDaniel4smom)
14. Enjoying hot chocolate with the family (Creative Playhouse)
15. Making Santa cookies with cookie cutters (Adventures in Mommydom)
If those aren't enough, here are some more!
16. Make chocolate dipped pretzels
17. Set up the Nativity
18. Watch a Christmas movie and eat popcorn
19. Color Christmas pictures
20. Make a construction paper chain using paper strips
21. Write a letter to Santa
22. Reading a Christmas book
23. Open one Christmas present (done on Christmas Eve)
24. Have breakfast or lunch at a restaurant
25. Family pizza night - make a pizza together
26. Visit Santa Claus
27. Make Peppermint bark
28. Read "The Night Before Christmas"
29. Have a dance party to Christmas music
30. Wrap Christmas presents for friends and family
31. Make rice krispie treats
32. Bake an apple pie
33. Put out the train set
34. Make Christmas colored pancakes
35. Take a trip to the library and look for Christmas books
For more fun Christmas activities for the family check out: