This season, I’m extra excited about our Advent Calendar as it was a family project of love. While we have had fun with our snowman countdowns in the past, I had a few goals for this year’s Christmas calendar:
- Fun for kids
- Recycled or reusable materials
- Encourage literacy
- Doesn’t take up much space
- No nails (we have no wall space!)
- Involve all 3 of our family’s languages (English, Chinese, Korean)
The end result is a Christmas Advent Countdown with 25 envelopes, bible verses, & messages! The envelopes are rainbow-colored at the request of my daughter, and I’m excited to share free, downloadable, envelope templates with you! 🙂
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Advent countdown activity inspired by our regular days
A typical take in our home starts with reading a children’s devotional with my children and my 5-year-old daughter and I taking turns praying before breakfast. Twice a week, she attends school, after which she brings home several little envelopes with messages and drawings for our whole family. My 2-year-old son is all about scribbling on anything he can, so we usually have plenty of cardboard around for him to get his scribbling on!
- 耶稣降临 / 耶穌降臨 or 圣诞降临 / 聖誕降臨 (Yēsū jiànglín or Shèngdàn jiànglín / Advent)
- 圣诞节 / 聖誕節 (Shèngdàn jié / Christmas)
- 耶稣 / 耶穌 (Yēsū / Jesus)
- 生日 (Shēngrì / Birthday)
- 倒数 / 倒數 (Dàoshǔ / Countdown)
- 主日学 / 主日學 (Zhǔ rì xué / Sunday school)
What you need for the Christmas Advent Countdown with Envelopes
- Cardboard trifold presentation board (39.25″ x 27.25″) – we got it for $1 at the local Dollar Tree! We happened to have one at home, but I think it’s perfect for holding up the Advent Calendar and easy to store away.
- Colored markers / crayons / pencils / pens
- Paper – we used recycled brown packaging paper & construction paper
- Mini envelopes – we did not have any, so we made DIY mini envelopes with construction paper! You can use this Mini Envelopes free printable template – 4 envelopes per page measure approximately 3.2″ x 1.9″ (8.1 cm x 4.8cm).
- Mini clothespins – we used the same ones from these activities
- String – we love this cotton twine
- Xacto knife or box cutter
- Long ruler or measuring tape
- Bible verse of the day – for older kids and teenagers, you can use the YouVerision Bible app. For younger kids, you can copy a child-friendly verse from this Preschool Devotions book.
- Optional: paint + paintbrush
How to create the Advent Countdown with Mini Envelopes
- Have your kids decorate the cardboard however they wish! My daughter got lots of writing practice in her 3 languages (English, Chinese, and Korean) in this fun, child-led way!
- Write daily verses on paper
- Cut out verses
- Write or paint numbers on mini envelopes (My numbers are totally different sizes because I am not good at painting, but I still like the look of painted numbers!)
- Insert daily verse into envelope. Ask your child to write special messages to family members to add to the envelopes!
- Arrange envelopes in desired pattern on cardboard. We did 5 rows of 5.
- Poke holes in the crease of the cardboard with push pins. Use ruler or measuring tape to help align to poking holes on the opposite side.
- Use knife to lengthen the holes and to push string to other side.
- Secure strings with single knot at back of the board
- Clip envelopes!
- Open envelopes and read together with family!
Photos of the Advent Countdown Envelope Calendar process
Writing bible verses from our preschool devotions book – although I mainly speak to our kids in Chinese, English is our main family language. We always do bible time in English because our family is not fluent in our minority languages, Chinese & Korean. But we are adding in sweet messages and prayers in Chinese & Korean to the envelopes, and I love that my daughter decorated the cardboard in all of her languages! 🙂
Mini envelopes cut and ready to be folded! We used a piece of cardboard as the stencil so that my kids could trace it to make other envelopes. But you can save time by using our printable which I didn’t make until after we already cut these out!
Mini envelopes are lined up and ready to be filled with Bible verses and messages of love!
Here’s a close up look at how I secured the strings through the crease of the trifold poster board.
In this photo, you can see the slit clearly.
Close-up shot of the Bible verse for December 1st: In the beginning, you made the Earth. And your hands made the skies.” Psalm 102:25.
Voila! Here is our Christmas Advent Countdown with 25 Envelopes, Bible Verses, & Messages!!! My son says his favorite is number 25 haha!
Children’s devotions book and printable calendar
We used our One Year Devotions for Preschool Book (Little Blessings) as the source of our daily verses, and we kept track of the date with our printable Chinese calendar!
Photo from an amazing bilingual mom
With permission, I’m excited to share this photo that another mom showed me their Envelope Countdown with our printable Chinese calendar! She was very clever to add a paper clip to mark the current date! My kids were so happy to see other families celebrating the advent countdown like us!
Winter and Christmas activities for kids
- Paper Chain Snowman Family Christmas Countdown – Chinese, Korean, & English Printable
- Playdough Snowmen Counting & Math Activity
- Montessori Inspired Paper Plate Seasons Puzzle
- Chinese Christmas and Winter Coloring Sheets (Simplified and Traditional Chinese)
- Hands-on Christmas activities for kids!
Holiday shopping guide for kids
- 5 Reasons Books are the Best Gift for Multilingual Kids
- Favorite Educational Montessori Inspired Toys from Etsy
- Ultimate Gift Guide for Kids Learning Chinese!
- 10 Best Toys For Children That Promote Creativity and Learning
Merry Christmas, friends!
圣诞节快乐！(Shèngdàn jié kuàilè)