[Countdown to Christmas] The Best Advent Calendar for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are entirely and wholeheartedly my own.

My preschooler thinks that as soon as December hits, it’s Christmas and Santa is coming (like, that day).

Time is obviously not a strong suite for this age group, nor do I expect my 4-year-old to have the patience during this already chaotic month to be waiting on the red-suited jolly ol’ fella. I knew I needed to start some type of countdown with him this year, so I headed to every mama’s favorite website (ahem, hello Amazon) and searched (because, to be honest, I lack time for DIY in December).

We’re not a religious family, so I wasn’t sure if the traditional advent calendar was the way to go.

However, so many holiday countdown calendars and activities these days don’t refer to the days of Advent, but solely focus on the visual counting down of days until the highly anticipated morning that Santa and his sleigh full of toys arrive. And that was my need – a visual countdown of the number of days left until Santa comes down our chimney so everytime my preschool asks if Santa is coming, I can point to this countdown calendar, and he can count it out. Hey, a mama can dream that knocking out a couple questions from the 300+ questions a day would come from this countdown tool, right!?

Melissa and Doug save the day, yet again.

We’re big time Melissa and Doug toy fans in our house, so when their version of an advent calendar came up in my Amazon search, I added that puppy to my cart right then and there. The Melissa and Doug Countdown to Christmas Wooden Advent Calendar is perfect for little ones waiting for Christmas morning. It’s a wooden tree with a magnetic front full of the countdown numbers. It comes with 24 small, magnetic, and super colorful ornaments for kids to add to the tree once a day, as well as one big, bright start for Christmas Day (that’ll be my “Hallelujah! We finally made it!” day). The ornaments waiting to be added to the tree even have a convenient little tray to be stored in that’s attached to the base of the tee (unless you’ve got a toddler who demands to decorate the countdown tree on the daily – thanks, London). This Melissa and Doug Countdown to Christmas tree is festive, adorable, and perfect in so many ways.

And it’s totally educational.

  • [Working on couting] Early number introduction + recognition (do this as a “call and repeat” activity, where you point to a number, and your preschooler repeats it after you, and don’t stress over those double-digit numbers – focus on #s 1 – 10)
  • [Can count to 10+] Number counting and recognition for #s 1 – 25
  • Counting up and counting down (or counting forward and counting backward)
  • One-to-one correspondence (a fancy way of saying your child can point to an ornament and say “One,” then point to the next ornament and say, “Two”…your child can give an ornament a single representation – it’s a great thing!)
  • Fine motor practice
  • Sharing. Yep, that’s the social side of education. They’ll practice sharing the tree and ornaments and taking turns putting the ornaments on the tree with their (younger) sibling(s), and man, that isn’t always the easiest.

The countdown tree calendar also has a way of either giving me a giddy, Buddy the Elf feeling that “Christmas is coming!” OR a stressed out, Chevy Chase learning of his new jam membership feeling that “I’m so far from ready for Christmas!” – it’s a countdown for me, too.

This countdown tree is bright and fun, and it doesn’t take up much space (and there’s no hanging it up on a wall involved, hey hey!). I’m hoping it’ll be one of those items that my kids look forward to pulling out of our Christmas decor boxes each year, with Christmas countdown memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Happy countdown-ing!

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12 Comment

  1. Reply
    December 5, 2017 at 1:03 am

    I wish I had resources like this when my boys were still preschoolers! Such great and festive ideas. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Reply
      December 5, 2017 at 5:41 am

      Thank you, Theresa! Isn’t it amazing how many teaching tools and fun gadgets just keep coming out over the years!? There’s always something new and exciting! Happy holidays to you! XO

  2. Reply
    December 5, 2017 at 4:06 am

    I love this, since it gives children the chance to do so many activities in one! And who doesn’t love counting down to Christmas!!

    1. Reply
      December 5, 2017 at 5:56 am

      Thank you, Anitra! Right!? My 4 year old practically runs downstairs every morning to add another ornament to his tree! XO

  3. Reply
    Melanie Pickett
    December 5, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    We had an Advent calendar as a child and I remember looking forward to opening each door every day. It’s a fun way to countdown to the holiday and explore its meaning. Nice ideas!

  4. Reply
    December 5, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks for the review on this calendar! I keep looking at it and thinking about buying but haven’t pulled the trigger. You’re right though, the bright colors make me scream “CHRISTMAAAAAAAAS!” In full Buddy the elf exhuberance. 😂😂

  5. Reply
    Jamie Lynn
    December 5, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    LoL my kids think the same thing about when December gets here that it’s Christmas right now! I think it’s incredibly cute I love these countdown advent calenders. They are pretty fun for the adults too. 🙂

  6. Reply
    December 5, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    We have the same, and I absolutely love it. I am a huge Melissa and Doug fan, so when I stumbled upon this advent calender last year, I couldn’t resist. My kids love putting up the ornament each night before bed 🙂

  7. Reply
    December 5, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Melissa and Doug are so great. I personally adhere to the days of Advent, but this is super cute. Always great when you can make it educational as well

  8. Reply
    December 5, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    My kids love counting down to Christmas! My kids are a little older but they still enjoy stuff like this. Your advent counter is super cute!

  9. Reply
    December 5, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Love the educational aspect of this advent! Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents ❤️

  10. Reply
    Angela Milnes
    December 7, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Wow, this is so creative and my daughter would love to countdown too before Christmass. Glad that you share this with us

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