Christmas Activity Advent Calendar! 50 Family Friendly Ideas

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar

 

I started this when my son was 2. He was one of those children that needed to have his mind kept busy because a bored G was a million miles an hour. A Christmas activity advent calendar is also a cheap, fun way of introducing family activities throughout December. Here are some of the ideas I have used in the past, and some I will be using this year.

Here are 50 of my favourite family friendly activity advent calendar ideas.

Activity advent calendar ideas

  • Watch a Christmas film together.
  • Make your own popcorn.
  • Christmas colouring (download some sheets from the internet if you don’t have a Christmas colouring book).
  • Go for a walk to see people’s Christmas lights in your area.
  • Make snowman soup.
  • Decorate a Christmas banner (I use one from The Works).
  • Make paper chains.
  • Decide on dinner and help cook it.
  • Choose 5 toys you don’t want to give to charity.
  • Christmas treasure hunt.
  • Write your letter to Father Christmas.
  • Choose a Christmas story from the bookshelf and we’ll all read it together.
  • Make a nativity scene out of Play-Doh.
  • Talk about your best bits from this year – what are you proud of?
  • Write and perform a short play about whatever you like.
  • Go Christmas shopping for your sibling.
  • Make Rudolph out of handprints.
  • Write a Christmas card for your grandparents.
  • Let’s make Christmas themed chocolates.
  • Help make the Christmas cake.
  • Choose a treat activity like the cinema or Winter Wonderland to enjoy.
  • Shall we visit Father Christmas today?
  • Decorate Christmas biscuits.
  • Decorate and build a gingerbread house (you can usually find these in the shops for about £5).
  • Decorate the Christmas tree.
  • Make Christmas cards for your teachers.
  • Make paper snowflakes (of all different colours – just avoid yellow snow!)
  • Make home made Christmas coloured Play-Doh. Recipe can be found here!
  • Make a pine one bird feeder and hang it out in he garden.
  • Play musical bumps or musical statues to a Christmas album.
  • Go for a walk and see how many red and green things you can find and collect.
  • Collect leaves and make a Christmas coloured leaf rubbing.
  • Do Christmas themed puzzles (a great website is Activity Village, they have loads of fun and free printables).
  • Choose a special Christmas Eve breakfast.
  • Hang your stockings up! Have you left Father Christmas a treat?
  • Do two chores for Mum and we’ll play a board game.
  • Family board game night with hot chocolate and biscuits.
  • Do something kind for a classmate or your teacher today.
  • Family competition on the WiiU – you can pick the games.
  • Watch a Disney film we haven’t seen before (not Zootropolis again!)
  • Go to a Christmas fayre.
  • You have the camera take some Christmas photos for our photo album.
  • Go into Cardiff to see the Christmas lights.
  • Phone someone just to say hello and make their day.
  • With Mum’s help make some cool shaped crayons.
  • Choose a treat for Guido the bunny for Christmas (or any pet you might have).
  • Make a Christmas picture or collage to go in Dad’s office (and one for Mum too!)
  • Let loose with the glitter an decorate some star shapes for the Christmas tree.
  • Can you sing Jingle Bells backwards? A prize for the person who can!
  • Make mince pies and non-alcoholic mulled wine.

I hope these ideas give you some inspiration for your Christmas activity advent calendar. All of this is centred around one thing: they are all things I can do with the children (and the other half when he isn’t in work). For me, Christmas is all about them, and I hope they remember the run up to Christmas for the fun things we did together.

Disclaimer: yes these fun things don’t prevent the usual arguments and I try and tailor them to how full their day is. Any after school activities it’s something short and sharp. The weekends are for baking and the lengthy stuff.

Merry Christmas!

Mummascribbles

Christmas Tree Decorating SOS and my Christmas Tree Cheat

 

That’s how I feel every year when my children happily chuck every last piece of tinsel and baubles onto the tree at their level. Try as I might I can’t help move decorations up a bit to balance it out or remove the hideous red tinsel that doesn’t go with anything else on there. Pre-children everything matched, now they choose a decoration for next year in the January sales and there’s no thought about matching or will it go!

I know I’m not the only parent who would love to ban them from decorating the Christmas tree. But, that would be mean and totally against the spirit of Christmas. So, I have come up with a solution. I have my own tree!

Before you get excited about the thought of me buying two Christmas trees I have a cheat. The children have the fake tree I bought with my then boyfriend (now husband) in 2000. It still looks fab. Me? I wait until Christmas Eve! If you go to B and Q on Christmas Eve they are selling real Christmas trees for a couple of quid. That is my tree.

It goes in our living room (away from the toys and chaos of their room). Every decoration is tasteful and matches nicely and it isn’t all dumped in the bottom foot and a half of the tree. I usually have a glass or two of mulled wine at this point (this year it will be mulled punch – not the same – I hope my unborn son appreciates my sacrifice lol). But you can’t beat the smell of a real Christmas tree.

So think of me Christmas Eve happily decorating my tree, drinking mulled punch, and singing to myself. While my children watch of course……

 

Gift Ideas I Loved (and Bought) at The Works

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If you know South Wales you will probably have visited McArthur Glen at Bridgend. My favourite shop here is The Works; although now Build a Bear has opened that might change!

If you don’t know The Works it is a book and gift chain that carries a lot of stocking filler items and great gift ideas. Here’s what I loved while I was there.

The Works Product Ranges I Like

  • Annuals. All £4 each (granted Asda did have a two for £7 deal a few weeks ago). They have a good range too. Brilliant gifts for Christmas and those December/January birthdays you might be invited to.
  • Books. I took advantage of the kids 3 for £5 and picked up a few titles. They have a great range of books for younger children. There weren’t many in this category for my 8 year old. However, they do have lots of book sets for older readers like Enid Blyton and Harry Potter (the complete set of Harry Potter books was £40). They also do 10 for £10 titles.
  • Craft items: There are some Christmas themed crafts from £1. Make your own Pom Pom characters, colouring and banners to decorate there is something for all ages and abilities.
  • Board games and gifts: 3 for £10! A brilliant range including Shopkins and Paw Patrol and a household favourite at the moment Tsum Tsum. The colour it in yourself bag for Tsum Tsum is cheaper here than I have seen anywhere. Find it here.
  • A good range of well known names like Star Wars, Marvel, Paw Patrol and Harry Potter. My favourite Star Wars book is Where’s the Wookie? a great spin-off from the popular Where’s Wally?

You can buy online at The Works for delivery or click and collect if you live near a store. If you choose delivery there is free delivery on orders over £20. Toy Infinity has reviewed Block Tech Blocks and Ladders, Build Your Model First and Win! and the game is still available in The Works.

Don’t be scared of eBay selling!

At this time of year you can literally hear Mums and Dads all over the country trying to weed out the unplayed with and broken toys and get rid of them without the children noticing. With some things a charity shop bag is the least effort but sometimes selling them second hand, particularly eBay selling can bring in a tidy sum of money. The biggest question is how to sell on eBay? This blog is the Toy Infinity guide to eBay selling! The pros and cons, plus a few sneaky little tips that might help you get a few pounds more. This guide applies all year round and not just at Christmas!

What to sell?

Branded toys always do well. What was your child’s craze last year might be someone elses this year. Make sure it’s clean, not broken, that the batteries haven’t leaked and ruined it, and look up the manufacturers blurb to add in extra details to your selling description. Use eBay searches to look for the  best selling items on eBay.

Good descriptions

Size and dimensions: make sure someone doesn’t get the wrong idea on size from your photos making an item seem larger than they are.

Any extras you have included that you would have to buy separately if buying new.

Point out any scratches or damage to try and avoid any item not as described disputes. Mention any small pieces that might be missing.

If you have the original box state that! Especially if it is in good condition. Original boxes and instructions mean more bids.

Good photos

Use a background sheet if necessary to hide any background clutter! Good clear photos on an item will get you more bids.

You get 12 free photos. Use them! Do close ups as well and photograph all angles.

Try not to use filters that might distort the colours of your item. What looks good on your screen can look totally different on a different specification computer screen. Reduce buyer errors by mentioning colours in the description you write as well.

Camera phone photos are fine, you don’t need state of the art equipment.

Obviously colour photos only!

How do you do it?

If you have the app or if you are using the desktop version the process is the same. I use the app on my iPad because there is no downloading of photos to be done to a different device so it saves time.

Choose the selling option, on the iPhone app it is the shopping tag at the bottom.

Click list an item

Write a good descriptive title. Include sizes, condition, what the item is and make sure it is all spelt correctly!

Choose your category, often the suggested categories are correct but double check that it does suit any bespoke or unusual items you might be selling.

Add your photos. This can take a short time to upload depending on your internet connection.

Choose the item condition. Be honest! Brand new with tags is not necessarily bought it and been shoved in a cupboard for five years.

Details: you can never add too much information here. The listings with one line descriptions never sell well.

Check the format and price carefully. Make sure you aren’t accidentally listing a Buy it Now instead of an auction.

Postage cost: EBay now enters a suggested postage price automatically, it only includes the Royal Mail cost with no extra cost for packaging items. You can alter it to your own cost. Check the international postage option carefully! This is automatically activated but you can turn it off.

Payment: you can now turn PayPal off for collection only items thankfully. Never accept PayPal for collection items! It leaves you open to the well known item not delivered scam. PayPal has its critics but it’s the only method of payment with some seller protection on eBay for posted items.

Fees: check the fees before you list, eBay tell you what they will be. Be mindful that accepting PayPal also has a fee so take this into account when choosing your selling price.

My tips and tricks for selling

  • Get proof of postage if you aren’t sending recorded delivery. You can claim for missing items from Royal Mail although you don’t always get more than a book of stamps though.
  • Search sold items to look at what your items have been selling at recently. This works best on the eBay desktop version.
  • For popular items save selling fees by listing at 99p; otherwise list for the price you would be happy to get.
  • For any high value item use recorded delivery! Enter the delivery code into your listing for the buyer after you have posted it.
  • Sell your toys and popular gift items in late November/early December for the most profit.
  • Don’t chase for feedback! It is annoying to buyers and not necessary.
  • Any disputes a buyer opens use the eBay message system and be polite, however annoyed you might be. Small things like entering the item tracking number can prevent not received disputes and clear descriptions and photos of any scuffs or damage help minimise not as described.

My tips and tricks for buying (couldn’t leave it out)

  • Use Goofbid (www.goofbid.com), link up your eBay account and take advantage of the auction snipe facility to place automatic bids seconds before the end and increase your chance of winning.
  • Search for mis-spelled item listings on Goofbid. These sell for a fraction of the price of correctly spelt and searchable listings.
  • Decide your budget (including postage) and stick to it.
  • Watching items is a great way of remembering where they are and seeing what is selling.
  • In December you pay more for items on certain categories like toys! Buy early and save money.
  • Check you are buying from a UK seller; super cheap can often be shipping from China and Hong Kong with a very long wait.

Take the leap and try eBay selling (and buying). I often make a few hundred pounds by selling the perfectly good things I don’t need anymore. Good luck!

Brean Theme Park: the UK’s Largest Free Entry Theme Park

Over half term we visited Brean Sands down in Somerset with our trusty family caravan. While we were there we visited the Theme Park that is literally a short walk away from the beach. Brean Theme Park is the UK’s largest free entry theme park, which is great if like me, you’re pregnant and can’t go on anything.


An unlimited rides wristband costs £25 for one day or you can extend it to two days for £40. It looks a lot on paper but it is well worth it. My two children and husband spent five hours on rides the first day and six hours on our next visit. I spent a lot of time waving, taking photos and drinking tea. You can pay for rides separately with tokens if you only want to go on a couple of rides. Tokens are available from manned kiosks or the token machines sited throughout the park and cost £1 each.

What is there at Brean Theme Park?

There are toddler suitable rides, larger thrill rides for the more adventurous, laser quest, go-karting and Sooty! We watched the live Sooty show and my two loved it. I won’t give anything away but it’s worth a sit down at the picnic tables to see it.


The go-karts (not included in the wristband charge) and crazy golf (£4 per player). We did (well the girls did the golf) both of those and they were really good fun. At the end of the golf you get to try and win a free game, which if we had cheated and got the husband to do all of our shots we might have won four rounds not just one. There are the usual pay as you go games at Brean Theme Park to win a soft toy that we ushered ours past several times, and plenty of food and drink options. Including the first Wimpy I have seen in years!

All the staff we met were very helpful. Especially the lad on the dodgems who was brilliant after my son smacked his head after an unfortunate double hit. A first aider arrived in a few minutes and one ice pack later he was back having great fun, with an additional small lump on his head.

So what were our children’s favourites?

My 7 year olds favourite rides were: Spinner, Disco Fever (which his Dad hated lol), Dodgems and Space Mission.

My 4 year olds favourite rides were: the small train ride, Caterpillar roller coaster, the canoes, the Pony ride and the huge inflatable slide.

What didn’t we see?

There is also an indoor Splash centre with swimming pool and gym, and an indoor soft play centre on the site. Both cost extra and we didn’t have time to visit either.

It was October half term when we went, cold, but dry and we didn’t queue for any rides. I bet it is packed in the summer though. Brean Theme Park closes for the winter season but if you want more information you can visit their website….

if you are visiting Weston-super-Mare or that area of Somerset then I’d definitely recommend a visit to Brean Theme Park. Plan to spend the day there to get the best value for money and if you are taking grandparents or others who won’t want to ride, you can go knowing that you won’t pay money out for them.