Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Advent Calendars and Visual Timetables

My boys got given their chocolate advent calendars last weekend, in preparation for the Christmas countdown. They are very excited, of course! There are lots of great ideas around the web at the moment about how to make advent calendars and that got me thinking...thinking about upcycled advent calendars!

I came across this great idea by Lucy Barr-Hamilton for making one from old jeans (shown by 'The Sewing Directory').

Also, this great idea for using upcycled book pages to make advent boxes by Caroline from 'Cannycrafter'.

How about this idea that uses bottle tops by Belle at 'Belle and Burger' ? (I am going to do this one! I am a hoarder of bottle tops!)

We will probably put little pieces of paper into each bottle top, each one with an activity on (I got that idea from my friend Anna at 'The Imagination Tree', who has made an advent tree with fun activity ideas for each day here).

Or maybe we will put a Bible verse into each bottle top to share as a family for that day. That would be a good way for us to remember the true meaning of Christmas as a family.

I am going to make it with my boys tomorrow because they are off school. We will also be making another sort of calendar - a visual timetable to show the events over the Christmas period.

My two eldest sons are on the Autistic Spectrum and become anxious when routines change or they are not sure what is happening next. Christmas holidays, especially, can be very stressful for them as we travel, meet family, do different activities at home and school that they wouldn't usually do.

We have found, over the years, that to help limit this anxiety, we need to have a visual reminder for them of what is happening each day.

This is what we did with them last year:

We sat down and I drew a rough square to represent each day and numbered them. We then talked about what would happen on each day and wrote it in. They decided that at the start of each day they would put an orange sticker (huge pack from the pound shop) on that day's square and then at the end of the day, before bed, they would tick that day off. Doing this really helped to calm a lot of their anxieties away.

I have a cereal box set aside ready for our Christmas timetable and will do that tomorrow with them.

If you have children, what do you do to prepare them for the busy, exciting Christmas time? And are you making an advent calendar with them and will it be upcycled? I'd love to hear what your ideas are!


  1. I have seen some wonderful homemade advent calendar ideas out there. I would like to make one but maybe it will have to be a plan for next year :)

  2. I know what you mean Susanna. This time of year springs up on us so fast doesn't it? I may be sticking to the chocolate ones if we don't have enough time tomorrow! ;-)

  3. Oh my gee, xmas is coming AGAIN!
    I just freaked out while looking at you pics!
    Thanks for the inspiration though, it will be needed!! lol