I’m not gonna lie.
I adore advent calendars for all their numeracy opportunities. Because #teachernerd.
I mean, who doesn’t love a side serve of Maths in their festive season?
These homemade advent calendars are not only sugar-free, but will have kids identifying numbers and practising forward and backward number sequences all Silly Season.

For the third year running, I’m a part of the Craftmas Crew. We are a stellar, international team of crafty ladies who will each share a Christmas crafty project on Instagram during the festive season.
This year, however, there is a plot twist! Craftmas will run across 5 days. Each day has 3 crafty ladies sharing a project and each day is assigned a certain set of simple materials. Again with the Maths, but that will be 15 inspired projects for you to try by the end of the week!

Along with Arielle from Art Camp LA and Rebekah from Heart Art Life, our featured materials are….
Tissue paper and cereal boxes.

What You Will Need to Create your own homemade advent calendars

Tissue paper
Cereal box
Paint (optional)
White craft glue (PVA glue or Mod Podge)

Homemade Advent calendar number 1 is a mash up of 2 of my most popular posts.
Eric Carle-inspired tissue paper painting meets DIY paper beads.

I’ve outlined all of my tissue paper painting tips in this post.
My number one tip is to not be too heavy-handed with the paint.
Too much paint will make your tissue paper too wet and your paper will disintegrate.

Once your paper is dried and oh-so-crinkly, cut it into triangular strips.
Starting at the wider end, wrap this part around a chopstick or dowel rod. Apply a very thin layer of glue and roll, roll, roll until the end.
Slide your bead off the chopstick and repeat x 24.
Tissue paper is obviously quite delicate to work with so this step involves a bit of experimenting.
Too much glue results in your paper bead getting stuck to the chopstick.

I poke a skewer through an egg carton and let the beads dry upright.

Once your beads have dried, apply a layer of craft glue or Mod Podge to the outer of the bead. This hardens them up nicely.

Once your beads are dried on the inside and the outside, I trimmed the edges off for a more uniform size.
Thread the beads onto a piece of yarn.
I cut a Christmas-tree shape out of cardboard and wrapped the garland around the tree.
I secured the yarn in place with tape.

Each day, kids can remove a bead from your homemade Advent calendar.
Collect the removed beads and transform them into necklaces or bracelets for DIY Christmas gifts.
Or re-string them to create a garland or Christmas tree decoration.


Okay- I totally hear you!
Homemade Advent calendar number 2 is a simpler, paint-free idea that is excellent for the toddler and preschooler crowd.

Cut open a cereal box and lay flat.
We’re going to create a tissue paper collage by liberally applying craft glue and laying down sheets of tissue paper.
The key to this project is lots of tearing and layering.
Once the surface of the cereal box is covered, apply a coat of craft glue over the top of your tissue paper collage.
This helps to seal it.

Once your collage is dried, create a diamond template and trace this onto your box 25 times.
Fold your diamond in half to create triangular flags.
I had to place a heavy book on top of my flags, lest they kept flipping open.
Thread yarn between your flags to create an Advent garland.
You could write little messages or activity ideas inside the flags.

I chose to number the flags.
If your child is learning skip counting, you could number every 5th flag. You could number every even flag or every odd flag.
See all the learning opportunities in a simple Advent? Maths for days. Literally.

This 3rd homemade Advent calendar comes from my 12 Creative Days of Christmas eBook.
And it does involve more paint. Sorrynotsorry.

I found these sweet little envelopes in the local Dollar Store.
We popped them in the salad spinner with some acrylic paint.
Spin, spin, spin and once the paint has dried, fill them with notes, activity suggestions or stickers.

If you do try one of the homemade advent calendars, I’d LOVE to see. Just tag me – @ohcreativeday – on social media.

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