Being Jewish I did not grow up celebrating Christmas, although I always found the holiday season especially magical. Now my family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah which makes the next couple months twice as much fun. To make this year even more memorable I decided to introduce a new tradition to my children; a “Do-Nice Things” Advent inspired calendar.
For under ten dollars I purchased all the supplies needed to create our own special calendar.
Using poster board, envelopes, and stickers we created a beautiful calendar that is made even more special by what we put inside the envelopes; instead of a toy or candy we came up with nice things we could do and wrote them on slips of paper.
Each day we will pull out the paper and carry out the nice deed. We decided to start our calendar on Thanksgiving; what better way to kick off the holiday season than doing nice things for each other and others?!
Here’s how we created our calendar:
- I cut medium sized envelopes in half and taped down the cut flap to make a pocket.
- Using stickers and paint markers we placed the dates on the back of the envelopes and glued them to a large piece of poster board.
- Next I let the kids get extra creative and decorate the borders and the envelopes making sure they knew not to cover the numbers.
- We came up with a list of nice things we could do each day. I wrote each idea on a strip of paper and inserted them in the pockets.
Knowing how crazy the holidays can be I made sure to keep these nice deeds manageable and age-appropriate. Here is a list of some of the things we came up with:
- Give each other a hug.
- Send a letter to a friend or family member letting him/her know how much he/she means to us.
- Go to a pet store and donate money to an animal shelter.
- Say something nice to each other.
- Call Oma and Grandma and Grandpa to say I love you.
- Go through a drive thru and pay for the person behind us.
- Donate a new toy to children in need.
- Donate clothes.
- Bake cookies and bring some to the neighbors.
- Buy canned goods and donate to a food shelter.
- Go to Donors Choose and pick a project to donate money to. Donors Choose is a website where teachers from all over the country post about a project they need funding for and you choose which project you would like to support. Your donation can be as little as one dollar.
The above is just a few of the ideas we had. There are so many ways you can do something nice with your children, even if it is just snuggling up on the couch and reading together. Spending quality time together, learning how good it feels to be nice and do nice things for others is a great way to welcome the holiday season. If your kids need convincing remind them they are guaranteed to make the nice list if they participate. Chances are they will have such a great time they will not need any convincing in the years to come!
This project is very educational as well. Not only are your children learning amazing social skills they can also practice math and spelling. The level of skills practiced depends on your child’s age.
- I had my six year old sound out the words Happy Holidays and find the correct letter stickers to place on the poster board.
- We created a pattern using colors and both my six and four year old were able to tell me what color came next as I was writing the numbers.
- Both children were able to help me count out the days and tell me what number came next.
- Having your children cut, glue, and place the stickers on the poster board helps them to develop their fine motor skills.