When I think of the word “handicraft,” I think of a project that my kids and I have made together that won’t go into the trash after a couple of weeks. Unlike those little cardboard Advent calendars filled with sub-par chocolates that the grocery store sells, I wanted to make a way to celebrate the season that we’d use year after year. This simple Advent calendar is magnetic and therefore space-saving: just put it up on your refrigerator or other magnetic surface, and when January rolls around, stack the jars and put them away. Kids will love helping you make this, and will especially enjoy revealing a surprise every day.
Advent calendars are often used as a way to merely count down the days until Christmas. But if we thoughtfully consider how what we want to put inside each little jar, an advent calendar can help children focus on Christ at Christmas. You can tie this into other advent traditions, like the Jesse tree or acts of kindness.
(I’ve used affiliate links to share how to make this handicraft. You can read more about my policies here.)
Kids Advent Calendar Handicraft
I was able to find magnetic spice tins at the dollar store. There were two in each pack. The lids are clear; which kind of ruins the surprise, but if you’ll stuff the containers with Bible verses, the clear lids won’t be a problem at all. We also found the number stickers at the dollar store, except they aren’t very sticky. You can either make sure you buy high-quality stickers, or paint the numbers on with acrylic paints.
To avoid the inevitable fight about who gets to open each door, I bought three different colors of stickers, one for each child. They will know what color sticker they are, and hopefully this will help stop arguments. If it’s not a red day, they’ll have to wait.
- 24 or 25 small magnetic spice tins, available at a dollar store (there were 2 in each package)
- A magnetic surface for your spice tins- this can be a new, clean cookie sheet, or your refrigerator door! You could also use a square piece of wood big enough to fit the 25 tins, and hot glue them on. But that doesn’t save much space, does it?
- Acrylic paint, in a color of your choice
- Hot glue gun and sticks
- Decorative scrapbooking paper, or colored tissue paper
- Number stickers (optional) I used three different colors, one for each of my children
- 25 small pieces of paper with Bible verses, acts of kindness, etc., OR small trinkets
- If you chose to use a wooden board, paint it in a color of your choice. If you have a metal pan or are using the refrigerator front, skip this step.
- Place the stickers on the tins. This is a great thing for little ones to help with, and a fun by-the-way activity to help reinforce their understanding of numbers!
- Measure how big the window is on top of the tin lid. Cut a circle out of the decorative paper so that you can glue it, pattern side up, under the lid. This will hide the passages or objects you put inside the tins. Because I was short on time, I chose to stuff each tin with a little bit of tissue paper to hide the treasures inside.
- If you are using a wooden board, hot glue the tins onto the board. If you are using a magnetic surface, arrange the tins how you’d like them. Be prepared to arrange them over and over again, because little ones love playing with these tins!
- Open one tin each day to see what’s inside!
Things to Put in Your Advent Calendar
- Bible verses
- Nativity finger puppets
- Small objects that represent something related to Christ
- Jesse Tree ornaments
- Little cards with acts of kindness on them
- Darice Miniature Nativity Ornament Set
- Money, to complete acts of kindness
- Chocolates, of course!