Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Calendar

I was hoping to do this last year, but never got around to it. I saw this muffin tin idea on a number of other websites and the first time I saw it, I knew it was a great idea for us since most premade advent calendars have chocolate in them and my oldest doesn't like chocolate.

Advent Calender

You take a muffin pan (or several) and create covers for the cups (I used sheets of magnets and then glued scrap book paper and embelishments on them). This way I can choose what goes in AND the holes are big enough that I can put two (or more) things in each one so that both kids get something (since I used a regular size muffin tin, you could use a mini one though if you want). And that's what I was originally planning on doing, adding trinkets for each day (I'd rather not encourage my kids to eat candy every day). But then, I got a better idea, a Puzzle!

First, I put the puzzle together:
Advent Calender

Then I carefully took it apart, starting with the edge
Advent Calender
and putting connecting pieces into each cup of the muffin pan (most cups had 4 pieces, some had more since there are 100 pieces in the puzzle and only 24 cups).
Advent Calender
Once all of the cups were filled I placed the magnets over the holes and hung them up on the wall.  Since the muffin cups were strategically filled, the pieces will always fit in somewhere, the kids just need to figure out where.

The only problem I ran into was that the magnets (which were ones I was recycling, not actual magnet sheets I'd bought) weren't quite strong enough in some cases so the pieces fell out while I was trying to hang it.  Now that it's up and we're not fiddling with it, there isn't a problem.

The nice things about this is that it was cheap (the puzzle was $1 at the dollar store), we don't have a lot of cheap trinkets floating around, the girls are working together on it and we can re-use the puzzle.

This is definitely working for us! Even my youngest is working on the puzzle.  For more great ideas head over to the WFMW post at We Are That Family.

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