Yesterday, I promised you some ideas for filling a DIY Advent Calendar. My boys are 3 and 7, and will pretty much be getting the same. A couple of things are recommended for ages older than 3, but the little one pretty much wants what his older brother has, and we supervise him with any toys that have a different age recommendation. Some of these suggestions are things we were sent free of charge for review, or that I picked up at the BlogOn Conference in September (and promptly squirreled away for the Advent calendars!). Any such provided items will of course be marked accordingly, and I want you to know that I am only including those which I feel would genuinely make good calendar fillers for my boys! All of these suggestions would also make great stocking fillers too, by the way.
Usually, I do about half and half on the Advent calendar fillings for treats and toys, but since since we are still recovering from an overdose of sweets, chocolate and cake, following Hallowe’en and two birthdays in the past month, and were fortunate enough to have some free items provided for review, I decided to include more toys and go easy on the sweeties this year. You can of course vary it according to your needs, how many sweeties you are happy to include for your kids, and how you want to spread or manage to manage the costs for the calendar fillers overall. All of these suggestion would also make great stocking fillers too, by the way.
1. The beautifully illustrated flash cards are from Lil’ollo, which I introduced you to the other day in my post about the writeable world map. They come in a combination of English + a choice of various languages. We were provided with a copy of the animal, colour, number and shape sets in English + German, and I will be showing you different ways to use these, in the weeks to come. These cards would make perfect little gifts for bilingual children or little language learners. If you use the code BEARANDFOX at the checkout, you will get 10% off your order (and I will get a 15% commission, at no extra cost to you).
2. To go with the animal flash cards, I am also including some new Schleich animals, that are missing from our collection. Available in all good toy stores, or online.
3. Stickers are always a winner. I picked these up at a stationery shop in Edinburgh.
4. Pens are always handy too – these ones that look like Lego bricks are from GOGOPO, and were included in the BlogOn goodie bags.
5. Chocolate Buttons! Mr Fox’s favourite.
6. Can’t have an Advent calendar without some Haribo!
7. A little set from Donkey, which I bought in a kids boutique in Berlin, with a roll of tape that looks like a road, and a little toy car. Perfect for creating your own car tracks anywhere. I have seen similar things in the UK.
8. A light-up spinner from Spinbladez, provided by WirePR at the BlogOn conference. It says for ages 4+, but other spinners I have seen are for ages 3+ so I have bought a second one so the boys can have one each – and you can also connect them together for a double spin!
9. It’s Christmas time. It’s a candy cane. Enough said.
10. I saw the Mayka Toy Block Tape demonstrated at the BlogOn Conference. It is compatible with Lego, and can be used to make anything in to a surface for Lego to connect to. I thought this was really cool, so I have bought the boys some for their calendars.
11. Play Dough is always a winner in our house, so we can always do with some more. Addoplay, who I have been working with on a few things, have kindly supplied me with several free jumbo tubs of Ready Steady Dough. I’ll be showing some fun seasonal crafts to do with the dough in the next few weeks, so make sure to check back!
12. More chocolate.
13. Oskar has been really interested in astronomy recently, so with these glow stars he will be able to recreate constellations. These were handed out in the brand area at the BlogOn conference, though unfortunately I can’t remember who by (if you were there too, please let me know).
14 & 15. For a more healthy alternative to the Haribo and chocolate sweeties, I am including some treats from Bear too. My boys love their pure fruit shape ‘Paws’ and pure fruit ‘YoYos’.
16. Oskar has been making slime and putty in his science club at school, so I know he will love this liquid lava glow-in-the-dark putty! For ages 3+ so his little brother can have some too. Addoplay (see above) have kindly supplied me with a couple of free tins.
17. For his birthday, Oskar got a game from Oma & Opa called ‘Bugs in the Kitchen’, where you need to try and trap a little Hex Bug Nano that runs around the board. It’s brilliant! You can also buy the bugs separately, and they are the perfect size for an Advent calendar.
18. Maoam is a really popular sweet in Germany, and I am happy to see they are available in the UK too, so I am including a couple in the calendars.
19. This pack of Avengers Top Trumps was included in the BlogOn goodie bag (provided by Playtime PR), and is going in Oskar’s calendar. I am going to try and pick up another card game for Mr Fox, more appropriate for his age, such as maybe a Paw Patrol snap set.
20. I always like to include some mini books in our Advent calendars, and the Mr Men (or Little Miss) series are just the perfect size. Amanda, over at Books & Pieces, has some Christmassy themed ones in her web shop, available for just £2 each or 3 for £5. And since I am a member of the Books & Pieces Parent Panel, if you use my exclusive discount code and quote ‘BearFox10’ at check out, you will receive an extra 10% off your order!
21. My boys are both Paw Patrol fans, so I was pleased to find these Paw Patrol surprise eggs at a shop here in Edinburgh. They each include a small toy, some stickers and some jelly beans. And the plastic eggs are the perfect size to be reused for an Easter Egg hunt at Easter.
22. I was delighted to discover that Nairn’s now do a gluten free range, and actually bought these mini bags of choc chip cookies for myself, but the boys keep eating them instead so Im including some in their calendars.
23. Since bath toys have a limited life span until they need replaced, they are always a great idea for calendar or stockings stuffers. This pink flamingo rubber ‘duck’ was handed out by Paladone at the BlogOn conference, and I will be getting another rubber duck so that the boys have one each.
24. And, finally, this beautiful sticker play set was sent to us for review, and is one of several products offered on the Elf for Christmas site. It comes complete with 12 background sheets in four different designs, and 12 sheets of stickers with over 750 stickers in total, again in four different designs, so there is plenty there and it’s perfect for sharing between siblings. Both the sheets and stickers appear to be of a really nice quality too, i.e. not too flimsy. I will be sharing these across the boys’ two calendars on Christmas Eve, so give them something to do while they wait to open their presents (yes, we do it the German way and open presents on Christmas Eve). The sticker set is available on the Elf for Christmas website, and retails at £7.99. Disclosure: We were sent a free sticker set for review, but all images, words and opinions are our own.
I hope you enjoyed my recommendations. Obviously, you can pick and choose as is suitable or appropriate for you. And as I said at the start, these are great both for Advent calendars and as stocking fillers too. If you have any other great recommendations to add, feel free to add them in the comments below!