Friday, November 29, 2019

Build Your Own Block Advent Calendar

Building an advent calendar is the perfect way to sneak in some engineering and numeracy work with your kids. Here's how we used some everyday materials to make a DIY countdown to Christmas.

The blocks used in this post are from our Blocks Rock! game which we were gifted for purpose of review. You can use code 'FINDMORE' for 15% off on Amazon (cannot be combined with other Amazon offers). The Magic Stix markers were gifted to us by The Pencil Grip. Get 10% off your order using code 'LITTLEMIND10' on the website. All opinions and images are our own and completely genuine. This post contains affiliate links.

I was a little stuck for advent calendar ideas this year. We've done various styles in previous years- chocolate, LEGO, DIY envelopes etc. I wanted to involve the kids this year in making their own as I thought it would be a fun link to some STEM learning. Here's how we did it...

What you need:
- building blocks (our Blocks Rock! set was perfect as it has 24 pieces!)
-  white dot stickers (available Dollar Tree or Amazon)
- markers (we used our Magic Stix)

How it works:
I wanted my 6 year old to be as hands on as possible with this task. I simply put out the materials and asked him for his thoughts on how we could make a fun advent calendar. He got straight to work counting the blocks and soon realized he had just the right number.

He decided the first step was to experiment with some fun advent calendar design ideas. He shared his ideas for what it should look like, and was sure to test out how stable his structure ideas were. Once he had a configuration that he liked, he counted the blocks just to be sure he had used all 24.

I then asked big bro how he was intending to label each block so that there were dates on his advent calendar. He got to work writing the numbers 1-24 on the white dot stickers using a color of his choice. This was great for his counting and number formation skills.

I was really impressed that he thought to write out the numbers before sticking them on the blocks. Not only did this avoid marker lines on the blocks, but it also made the engineering stage much easier.

Next up he started to decide which block had which date number on it and got to work labelling them all. This part of the activity was great for his fine motor skills.

That was it, his advent calendar was ready to be proudly displayed on the mantlepiece.

Big bro was so proud of his creation! We plan to simply use this as a way to count down the days until Christmas, but there is potential for so much more. If you wanted to tape mini treats to the back of the blocks that could be fun. Alternatively you could add dot stickers on the back with clues for an advent scavenger hunt. Or another idea would be to add a points allocation to each block. Next to the calendar you could have a little basket of treats which can be exchanged for calendar points. That could be a great little numeracy link.

Although this activity is definitely more relevant for big bro, I think it is great to expose my toddler to all this numeracy as well. Thankfully she is still too short to reach up to the fireplace and be tempted to knock over the calendar!!

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