Every year (since 2008!) we’ve scoured the internet to find the coolest Advent calendars to help you — and your excited kids — count down to Christmas. In spite of all the hardships this year has thrown our way, or maybe because of them, I am determined to squeeze every drop of holiday cheer out of this upcoming season. So instead of waiting until it’s too late to find a cool Advent calendar, I’ve pulled together a bunch of my favorites for you to consider for your family. Plus, shopping for the holidays is a nice distraction these days.
So today I’m sharing nearly a dozen of my favorite new Advent calendars for little kids through teens, that will sell out fast.
(Seriously, hurry: I’ve had to remove a calendar because it sold out while I was writing this post!)
Just know this list not include any of our favorite edible Advent calendars, because we’ve shared more than a dozen of those on Cool Mom Eats. Good luck picking just one!
We may earn a small commission from purchases through the affiliate links on this post, which helps us support our team at no additional cost to you.
1. Build-a-Scene First Christmas Advent Calendar for kids
Each of the 24 beautifully illustrated cardboard images pops out of this unique Pop and Slot First Christmas Advent Calendar from Roger La Borde, to slowly build a charming holiday scene. With some owls roosting in the trees and a large polar bear exploring in the background, I know that my preschool-age nephew as well as my grown-up teens would think this calendar is the sweetest. No candy needed. ($21 at My Sweet Muffin, also available a Frosty Forest scene)
2. DIY Crafting Advent Calendar for kids
An Advent calendar that will keep the kids happily preoccupied for a long time? Sign us up! Liz and I first saw this DIY Advent Calendar from Kids Made Modern when we attended Toy Fair 2020 in NYC (right before everything shut down, sigh), and we loved it immediately. With a different craft project prompt every day, this is a great way to give your kids something to do after school and before dinner is ready.
All materials can be held neatly away in the storage box between projects, and when they’re done, your kids will have a bunch of gifts they can wrap up and gift to their favorite relatives, friends, and neighbors. Or keep, if they so desire. ($19.99)
Related: One more 2020 keepsake Advent Calendar we just had to share
3. Printable Christmas Tree Advent Calendar for kids
Not up for a daily art project on top of all the learn-from-home stuff? Oh, I hear you! Instead, check out the Printable Christmas Tree Advent Calendar from MiniExplorers, an Etsy shop whose Reindeer printable Advent Calendar we featured last year.
I love that each day’s countdown can be marked with a simple gold star sticker, found in any office supply store, that sit atop each numbered tree. Plus, once the stickers are peeled off, you can put this inside a frame and use as decor, again and again. Or, print out a copy for each child in your life and let them decorate with markers, glitter glue, and pompons. You know, for a daily art project. Ha. ($4.93, digital download, Etsy)
4. Wood Scene Playable Figurine Advent Calendar for kids
If your kids are always swiping the characters from your nativity set or other Christmas scene to add them to their dollhouse, they’ll love this Wood Scene Advent Calendar by Wondershop. Each day, they’ll get one more wooden figurine to add to their growing winter village. And, yes, I know that the scale is interesting (how exactly do the little people fit into those cars and, holy smokes, watch out for those giant penguins!), but it just adds to the silly fun your kids will have this set. ($20, Target in-store only)
5. The Nightmare Before Christmas Advent Calendar for kids
Funko Pop! always comes through with cool Advent calendars that feature 24 of their little Pocket Pop collectibles, like last year’s Harry Potter Advent Calendar. This year, we’re eyeing Funko Pop’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Advent Calendar because how fun will be to open a door to a little Jack Skellington or two-inch Oogie Boogie?!
Word on the street is that the box features some duplicate, which some find frustrating. But in a house that includes more than one child, that’s not a bad thing at all. Sharing can be hard, you know? ($49, Amazon, or $39 at Target where in stock)
Related: Tim Burton and diaper bag: Two phrases we never thought we’d hear together.
6. Scratch-off Advent Calendar for kids
With this giant Scratch-Off Advent Calendar from Omy, kids will reveal more and more of this colorful “behind-the-scenes” peek of Santa’s workshop. But even without scratching off a single day, this poster is packed full of smile-inducing illustrations: Can they spot the mouse on skies or the one making snow angels? How about the grinning guitar or chatty pine tree?
Hint: You can make it even more special by letting them keep the coin they use to scratch off the little patch each day! ($24 at My Sweet Muffin)
Related: Super cool sibling gifts for sharing. Nicely. Please.
7. Science Experiment Advent Calendar for kids
Inside each colorful box, your little scientists will find another fun and interesting science experiment to do in this unique Science Experiment Advent Calendar by The Purple Cow. Covering such STEM subjects as chemistry, biology, magnetics, and even physics, there are really 24 experiments here for kids 8 and up, though I bet even younger kids would love this cool Advent calendar with some help from a parent. Reviews of this are glowing, so I think this will be a hit — and will sell out fast! ($39.90 at Amazon)
8. Make it Real Together Big Advent Calendar from The Body Shop for tweens and teens
If you have an older tween or teen who loves “spa time,” the nicely designed and jam-packed Make it Real Together Big Advent Calendar from The Body Shop is a worthy splurge, especially after six months of pandemic stress. Each day, they can open a new door to a new lotion, face mask, lip gloss, or bubble bath that they will hopefully share with you!
It all comes packaged in this sturdy carrying case and looks so nice, it would make an excellent gift for a December birthday too. These sell out as fast as you might expect, so go forth and shop! ($109, The Body Shop)
9. Magnetic Christmas Tree Advent Calendar for kids
Want a keepsake you can pull out with the Christmas decorations year after year? I adore this wooden Magnetic Christmas Tree Advent Calendar forbids, available from Sundance Catalog. It also happens to be handmade in the U.S. Count down the days to Christmas with colorful little wooden ornaments that just stick to the front panel. Little kids can “hang” the ornaments all by themselves, just make sure they are old enough to keep them out of their mouths. ($58)
10. Festive House Paper Craft Advent Calendar for kids
Your kids won’t believe that a simple folded booklet can produce something as adorable and ready-for-play as this Festive House Paper Craft Advent Calendar for kids, by Meri Meri. (Also featured on top of page). Each day, they’ll open a new “door” to reveal house furnishings or characters that will make their holiday scene complete.
Part Advent calendar/part doll house, it adds up to something really special and fun that will keep kids playing while you check off all of Santa’s list. ($24, The Hot)
11. Jigsaw Advent Calendar for kids
We have been doing a ton of puzzles around here since March (in face, puzzles are one of our picks for items to stock up on now for winter before they sell out), and this adorable Jigsaw Advent Calendar for kids from Professor Puzzle would be an enormous hit in this household. And maybe yours.
Each day, pop open the door to reveal a few more puzzle pieces, and by the time Christmas arrives, your kids will have completed a 200-piece scene of Santa zooming in outer space. Plus, after the holidays, you can take the puzzle apart and let them put it all together again next year. ($19.99, World Market)
My boys are into the Lego Advent Calendar every year. They keep the scenes for a bit and then add the legos to their collections!