sticker advent calendar mock up with child's drawing as image

Easy DIY Sticker Advent Calendar for Toddlers (And Big Kids Too)

The countdown to Christmas is such a huge deal for little kids, and yet the littlest toddlers also don’t really understand time so it’s a tricky thing to help them get excited yet also know they need to wait.   Which let’s face it – waiting isn’t exactly the strong suit of most toddlers!!!  Enter a fun and easy DIY sticker advent calendar for toddlers to help them have fun tracking the days until Christmas!

calendar showing Christmas Day

Seriously though, I’m writing this on November 21 and my 2 year old has been waking up asking if it’s Christmas for a week now… because he’s “so excited for Christmas” and it’s “almost Christmastime at our house” – both said with the cutest little happy dance ever!  

But it’s still over a month until Christmas… enter the advent calendar on December 1 to help the little ones understand that it’s exciting but not yet!!!

Christmas Stickers DIY Advent Calendar title with two calendars

**This post contains affiliate links meaning at no cost to you I may earn a commission on purchases made using the links.  Read my full disclosure. **

Why Choose a Sticker Advent Calendar for Toddlers?

There are lots of reasons to stick to a simple idea like a sticker advent calendar.  Here are the main reasons for most people to choose to go with a DIY sticker advent calendar for toddlers and other little kids:

  1. Do you want to teach your child they get something new everyday of the Christmas season???  Personally I don’t.   Christmas comes with enough new presents and toys that we choose to keep the lead up all about the excitement of the season itself, not about more stuff.
  2. Toddlers and kids get to enjoy in a fun Christmas activity every year that becomes a meaningful Christmas tradition.
  3. Supplies are cheap and super easy to get making it an accessible Christmas activity for more people. 

Full honesty, at our house we do this calendar plus a calendar that we move a marker everyday and they get one of the cheap little chocolate treat calendars.  Perhaps a bit much, but honestly I loved making these calendars as a kid so it’s a tradition I’m carrying on with my kids.  

More Christmas Fun:   10 Perfect Christmas Eve Box Ideas for Toddlers

Just for Toddlers?

This sticker advent calendar is for toddlers and kids of all ages! It makes it the perfect advent calendar craft for anyone with more than one child as it can be totally personalized for each child without any extra effort on your part!  It also works as a tradition you can do year after year because it’s perfect for any age.

child sitting in front of homemade sticker advent calendar
Yep, this is me circa 1995 with that year’s sticker advent calendar!

You can start your sticker advent calendar tradition with toddlers and continue right up with teenagers.  Truthfully though, there’s no need to do do it until your toddler is 2 at the earliest.  A one year old wouldn’t really get a lot out of it and it is a bit of effort at the beginning for you to make it. 

Toddlers will love decorating the calendar – colouring and making the picture is fun for any age who likes to use crayons.  Just be open to whatever their interpretation is of a Christmas drawing lol – it’s the process not the product! Next, putting the stickers on daily is the other main fun part for toddlers.  Picking a sticker is serious business when you’re 3! 

More Christmas Fun: Easy Christmas Bell Craft for Preschoolers (And Big Kids!)

How to Make a DIY Sticker Advent Calendar:

As you read, the first part of the DIY sticker advent calendar starts out pretty adult focused because it involves making the calendar grid.  But then there are lots of fun parts for little ones so it is still worth it to involve them in the making of the calendar too. 

Step 1: Make the Grid (the old school way)

Yes it’s more work but it also leaves you with a nice big calendar grid for big, fun stickers!

  1. Set your poster board up so it’s taller than it is wide.  If you have more than one child, you can definitely cut your poster board in half width-wise and make two smaller calendars – they’re still pretty big!  This is what we did growing up.
  2. Measure your poster board and draw a line straight across the middle. I measured and my poster board is 28″ so draw a line across at the 14″ mark.  The bottom half will be the calendar grid and the top the picture. black rectangle with line across halfway up
  3. Draw the calendar grid for 25 days. You don’t need the days after Christmas for a countdown and this way the boxes for each date stay a bit bigger.
    •   For a 22×28″ poster board, your halfway was 14 inches.  So if you need 4 rows to fit in the bottom half, draw a line every 3.5″ from your middle line.  If it’s a year that you need 5 rows, draw your lines about every 2 3/4 inches. black outlined rectangle with four rows across the bottom half
    • Going across 7 days of the week the 22 inches across, draw your grid line about every 2  1/8″rectangle with blank sticker advent calendar grid and open space for calendar picture
  4. Add the days of the week across the top of the grid and the month December somewhere at the top of the poster board.  sticker advent calendar grid with month and days of week
  5. Write in the numbers on each day box.  Make sure you put Dec.1 on the right day of the week!
      • 2021 – Wednesday
      • 2022 – Thursday
      • 2023 – Friday
      • 2024 – Sunday (it’s a leap year) 
  6. Write in any special events or dates to help your toddler or older child keep track and look forward to them!

More Christmas Fun: Sweet Daily Christmas Message for Kids

Step 2: Draw the calendar artwork

Let your child have fun drawing whatever Christmas picture they want in the big calendar photo space above the grid.sticker advent calendar mock up with child's drawing as image

DIY Calendar Grid Shortcuts:

Okay, so you read about how to draw the grid and got confused or decided it was a bit too much effort? 

No worries, it’s no longer the 80s like when I was a kid starting these and printers are common now.  You don’t need to abandon the sticker advent calendar idea for your little one…just make it easier and updated.

Here’s your sticker advent calendar hack options to simplify the process:

  1. Print a calendar online and glue it on your poster board.  Your child can still do all the decorating, drawing and put a sticker on everyday.
  2. Get a regular calendar like this fabulous wall calendar full of positivite quotes and take out the grid for December once you’re there.  Glue it on a bigger paper and still have your child have fun drawing their own picture. NO measuring, no rulers, just quick and done.
  3. Give toddlers a Christmas coloring book picture they can color first then glue onto their picture sleigh colouring page scribbled on by child
  4. Use a calendar you already have!  There are so many great kids calendars out there, so if it’s got a great December picture already just focus on the stickers and not the DIY part! Let your kiddo put a sticker on it everyday.  Especially if they’re really little and won’t care as much about it being their artwork yet, this is a great intro to the DIY sticker advent calendar.

How to Use Your Sticker Advent Calendar:

This is the part that’s especially fun for toddlers!! 

Everyday your child gets to pick a fun Christmas sticker and stick it on the box for that day’s date.  You don’t have to organize a specific sticker for a certain day or anything like that at all – you are keeping this one easy for yourself during a busy time!!!  In fact, getting to choose is half the fun!! 

christmas sticker book

All you need is a sticker book or sheet and let your kiddo choose which one they put on each day.  Another top tip for toddlers is to remove the outer paper around the actual sticker shapes and it’s much easier for little fingers to peel off the stickers all by themselves.

The dollar store is your best bet for stickers usually, but if you haven’t got time here are some great Christmas stickers you can just click and get delivered from a maker on etsy – gotta love supporting small shops!  Because I know, sometimes having a task done and with less effort beats saving two dollars.

Your little one will love watching as the whole advent calendar fills up with fun Christmas stickers and seeing how much closer you are getting to Christmas.   It also makes for a fun Christmas decoration in your child’s room or play space.

Sticker Advent Calendar Learning Opportunities

There are SO MANY learning opportunities with this DIY sticker advent calendar which is exactly why it’s great to keep it as a DIY, not just a printable already done for your kiddo!  Getting them involved in the process helps your toddler develop their:

  • fine motor skills drawing the lines and picture
  • creativity 
  • numbers – drawing them as they get older plus figuring out the math of the grid as they get even older
  • spatial awareness seeing the grid come together

Then when you’re using the calendar there are even more developmental opportunities:

  • fine motor skills peeling and sticking stickers
  • counting + number sense – how many stickers have you done? how many days are left?  what number is today?
  • making choices – assuming you let them pick from a selection of stickers

I would love to see your sticker advent calendars!! Check out the Happy Moments Mom facebook page and tag me on your posts @happymomentsmom so we can all see your kiddo’s awesome artwork!

Enjoy a happy moment,

❤ Sara

More fun activities for little kids:

Sweet Daily Christmas Message for Kids

Save Time: 10 Perfect Christmas Eve Box Ideas for Toddlers

25 DIY Pin The Tail On The Donkey Games For Any Occasion

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