Christmas Advent Calendar

If you’ve been following our kids activities this year, your little ones have been kept quite busy every weekend. That’s the whole point though, isn’t it? So now December is here, the kids are on holiday and instead of giving them an advent calendar that offers a moment of enjoyment while they hunt for a number, open a window and eat a chocolate … we’ve made a gardening advent calendar that should give them something to do almost every day. The best part? You can pop into your local accredited garden centre, pick up the items and make it all yourself. It’s a DIY dream come true!

What you’ll need:

  • Thick String
  • Bamboo Poles
  • Small Pots
  • Pliable Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wrapping Paper, Sellotape and Ribbon
  • Some Creativity!

Step 1:

Plan the size calendar you’d like to make. We made a 1m x 1m calendar which allowed us to fit 6 small pots across and 4 down to make up the 24 days in December before Christmas. Our pots were 7.5cm which is quite small and it’s possible that you may want to have more of a selection of gifts, so going with a 2m x 2m calendar may be more suitable. Choosing the spot where you’ll be hanging your calendar will help with this decision too!

Step 2:

Take a trip down to your local accredited garden centre, without the kids, and choose the pots you’ll be using first. Plastic pots are recommended because they are lightweight and if you have 24 of them hanging on a bamboo frame, you won’t want to risk hanging very heavy pots and breaking the frame. Grab all the other items in your shopping list too.

Step 3:

This is the fun part! Choose 24 items you can pop into your pots for your kids to open. Don’t be shy about choosing things you want too! So if you’ve always wanted to have basil in your herb garden, why not pick basil seeds for the kids to plant? Don’t forget to get the kids seedling mix and fertiliser with their seeds too. It’s also important to get them the tools of the trade but remember that every gift already comes with a pot so don’t double up and buy a pot for the seeds. If you just look carefully, you’ll be surprised at the wonderfully novel ideas in garden centres!

Here are some of the things we did for the kids, to get you started:

Step 4:

It’s time to lash your bamboo frame together. If you’re not sure how to lash bamboo, look no further than YouTube, there are loads of videos! We built our outer frame first and then added the three cross bars. If you pull the frame corners tight enough, it is really sturdy, but if you feel you need some reinforcement, you can include a diagonal bar across the back and it will be perfectly solid. We decorated over our string with some ribbon, just to make it a little prettier.

Step 5:

It’s time to make metal loops for the pots to sit in on the calendar. There are various ways you can do this and if you’re a DIY guru, you may prefer to attach them differently. We just took some pliable wire, made a loop and then twisted it tightly around the bamboo, using pliers, making a loop for the pots to just drop neatly into. You could also use meat hooks which could latch over the bamboo and the pot could hang on it, but they are quite pricey.

Step 6:

Time to wrap it all up. After experimenting with a few different wrapping methods, we found a cone shaped wrap to be the most effective and uniform way to wrap to make the calendar look somewhat uniform. We used three different colours for the wrapping paper and different labels to make it a little more difficult for the kids to spot the numbers when hunting for the package they were opening each day. This will always come down to personal preference so see how creative you can be.

Step 7:

Watch the kids enjoy!

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