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  • Melissa Porteous

The countdown continues (second half of the advent calendar)

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Welcome back! Here is the second half of the advent calendar countdown. The first half has gone by smoothly, sometimes there is no time in the day for the activity but that's ok. It's all about having fun. Although I will comment that it doesn't feel like Christmas yet. And I really think that it's because we don't have a tree yet! I can't believe it, I usually try to get a tree up on December 1 and here we are, December 13 and still no tree! Oh well - it will come soon.

But enough about trees, you are here because you want to hear about the what I've got planned for my kids on the second half of the advent calendar countdown. Well hopefully they and you think it's all pretty fun stuff.

December 13 - pipe cleaner and beads ornament craft

This one is probably pretty self explanatory, just some basic beads on a pipe cleaner. Hopefully we will make a few different shapes, I'm thinking a wreath, candy cane, reindeer just to name a few. This helps with hand eye coordination and even learning patterns. I've placed the pipe cleaners and a container of beads into the box.

*Update* - We didn't actually do this activity. The supplies sat on the counter for a few days and then I just made a quick wreath ornament myself because I wanted at least ONE thing made. The kids didn't seem to interested and we were fairly busy that it just wasn't a priority. At least I've got the supplies for next year. These supplies have been in my closet for years already anyhow.

December 14 - Christmas bingo

Also a fairly self explanatory activity. I had some cards printed and laminated last year so we will just use the same ones. I might get a few little candies (from out of the Halloween bucket) to use for little prizes. Just a quick game idea to fill an evening after school. I've placed a container of magnetic bingo chips that used to belong to my Memere in the box.

*Update* - This is a family favorite - even to the point of my parents or sisters joining in to play. I've learnt that with a toddler playing any kind of game or activity, the attention doesn't last long. So we did play bingo, and the toddler was able to match the image I was showing and cover it with a bingo chip but he definitely did not grasp the concept of shouting bingo when a line (or whatever we picked) was completed. He would just yell BINGO every time haha. But it was entertaining, and when he lost interest in playing the game he enjoyed using the wand to pick up all the magnetic bingo chips. Overall it was well received and although I thought we would play bingo a few times before Christmas, we only ended up playing the day it was in the box.

December 15 - Wooden snowman ornament craft

This is a craft idea I got from a ladies night the local community club hosted last month. (I actually got the materials from them since they had extras). I've placed the wooden discs and ribbon in the box.

*Update* - This is another craft that we unfortunately did not complete! I feel I may be too ambitious in the amount of crafts that I had in the calendar this year. It's a challenge to get my kids to sit and do crafts most times, let alone so many in 24 days. I will set it aside and keep all the materials for next year.

December 16 - Family movie night with popcorn

This falls on a Friday night, a good night for a movie night. We will pick a classic Christmas movies together (I always vote for The Santa Clause with Tim Allen, it's my favorite), but I'm sure we will pick a cartoon style movie. I've placed a few bags of popcorn in the box.

*Update* - Family movie night is always a big hit. We ended up watching Santa Buddies, which we found by scrolling through one of the numerous streaming services, I can't remember exactly which one it was. We made popcorn and had other snacks and enjoyed a Christmas movie.

December 17 - Bake Christmas cookies

This one is an annual one as well. We will have a fun Saturday spent baking Christmas cookies, listening to Christmas music and doing some sing along (on my part anyways) and dancing. Yes, as magical and cheesy as it sounds - just like how you see in movies. If I want to be realistic, it will be messy, the kids will be pushing each other off their stools to try and be the one closest to me/the work/the cookies and I'll probably get frustrated and not feel like singing. But I can always dream it will be like a scene from a Christmas movie. I've placed cookie cutters in the box.

*Update* - Alright, you guys are going to think I don't follow through on a lot of things, and yes that may be a flaw I have. Buuutttt, we also did not make these Christmas cookies... This is the first year we didn't, and I really hated that. But the day was so busy, although in actuality it wasn't a busy day, I don't think we really did anything. We were home all day but I think we needed a day to relax. Or probably clean. I don't really remember.

December 18 - Secret coded message "Deliver Christmas cookies with smiles and hugs"

This is probably one of my favorites, we get to go out and deliver Christmas cookies. Popping in to have quick visits with people is always so fun, and who doesn't love getting a cookie or two!

*Update* - And because we didn't make the cookies, we obviously didn't deliver any cookies. We did go to a hockey tournament in the morning, I played the piano in church and then we all went to a lunch with Santa at the community club in the afternoon. And afterwards went to my parents house to celebrate my sisters birthday. So it was a fairly busy day anyways. My son did still enjoy decoding the secret message.

December 19 - Candy cane catch/Candy cane fizz

This is two different activities, the first being a game where a string is strung between two chairs and a person stands on the chair and tries to drop the candy cane and have it hang on the string. I think it might be a bit challenging so I've got a back up plan of creating candy cane fizz. The concept is to submerge candy canes in vinegar and baking soda and it essentially dissolves the candy canes. Not sure how it will go but we will try it out and you'll find out in the update!

*Update* - Alright now we DID do the candy cane catch, the kids really enjoyed that one. It probably got about 20 minutes of dedication of play. That's a pretty good chunk of time. I have old candy canes in my pantry, and I mean old. They must have gotten super hot at some point during the summer and had melted a bit or something - the point is - they were good to use for the game cause they got beat up pretty bad being dropped onto the floor. We found when the string was really tight they would just bounce off then fall on the floor. We moved the chairs closer together and they stayed on fairly well. It also created a bit of a headache because the kids just kept asking to eat them. I had to keep saying no - and that gets annoying fast as well all know. The plan was to use those same candy canes in the fizz science experiment but we did not end up doing that.

December 20 - Christmas math trees/popsicle stick alphabet puzzle

I found some pages online that contain simple math equations. It is in the style of a pyramid therefore it creates the shape of a Christmas tree. This is for the older kid, and then I have another version of the popsicle stick alphabet puzzle that creates a different scene.

Here is the link to the site where I found the Christmas popsicle stick alphabet puzzle.

*Update* - My oldest really liked these Christmas math trees. He is always asking me to ask him simple math questions so this was right up his alley. He was able to work on them by himself asking for help a few times. The popsicle alphabet puzzle didn't get played with but I'll keep it packed away for next year.

Here is where I got these awesome printable math Christmas trees

December 21 - Secret coded message "Go for a drive and check out Christmas lights"

I've placed some hot chocolate in the box and we will head out with no map and check out all the amazing Christmas lights people have decorated their yards with. I don't have a specific plan however I think we will head into the city as there will be lots more to see there.

*Update* - This one was Mother Nature's fault. The roads were fairly bad the day we were supposed to check out the lights so we didn't end up doing it. We had full intentions of doing it at some point before Christmas but it didn't end up happening. Try again next year.

Here are all the coded messages I made this year

December 22 - Yarn ornament craft

I've seen some cute yarn ornaments online and we will try to recreate some of them. No particular one in mind, I will show the kids some pictures and see which one they want to do. I've placed some yarn in the box.

*Update* - It's starting to sound familiar to you.. that's right.. we didn't do this craft. As I reflect on things, I realize that during the second half we all start losing a bit of steam. And having an activity or craft to do everyday for 24 days is a bit too much. Anyways, the ideas will be kept in my brain for next year.

December 23 - Ornament roll race

Here we will use a straw and blow some ornaments from a start to a finish line. I've got some little ornaments from previous crafts and a couple straws in the kitchen drawer. I've placed some of those ornaments in the box.

*Update* - Oh boy, now that this is getting written down, I'm really starting to feel like a failure. We did not do this activity either. When I explained what we would do, my kids were not interested. I came up with some other possibilities, to which they were a bit interested, but when I said "so should I set it up?" their answer was "nah". So these items go back in the closet as well.

December 24 - Matching P.J.'s

I've purchased matching P.J.'s for the first time this year. I've put the kids sets in the box. I don't think we will wear them all day (as much as I want to do that) but we can all wear them that night when we go to bed and wake up on Christmas morning!

*Update* The P.J.'s were a hit, my kids were so excited to wear them. We all put them on (except my party pooper husband) in the morning and wore them until it was time to leave for family gatherings/mass etc. As soon as we got home, we all put them back on (this time my husband included) and get ready for Santa. We had a great Christmas morning. I had debated doing matching P.J.'s for a few years and I'm really glad I did it. I found it very fun and festive and maybe just something a little bit special. I had got sizes big enough that the two older kids can probably (hopefully) wear them next year. And I liked having them so much that on Christmas Day I ordered a bigger size for the baby so that he would have a set for next Christmas.

Here is it, the second half of the activities/crafts. Be sure to check back for updates on how everything went. Don't forget to check out the first half of the advent countdown here.

Thanks for reading!

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