The 9 Best Advent Calendar for Kids of 2021

Countdown to the holidays

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Counting down to Christmas or Hanukkah is an exciting time for kids. The best advent calendars make the lead-up to the holidays fun and rewarding with little gifts for 24 days before the big day. 

Advent calendars are great for any age, but there are some aimed at younger children and some that are more universal. You’ll also want to consider themes, budget, and quality when deciding which calendar may be best for your family. The one thing we advise when it comes to the best advent calendars; shop early! These are sure to sell out every year.

Below, our choices for the best advent calendars.

Our Top Picks
Every kid loves slime, so this advent calendar is sure to surprise and delight the whole family as you countdown to Christmas.
Cute, durable, and portable, the Funko series characters are fun for all ages and great for kids who love collectibles
This calendar comes with 5 cans of Play-Doh and behind each door is a new tool to create shapes and designs with.
Every year there are a few LEGO advent calendars to choose from, but this City version has the most holiday spirit.
Your child’s very first countdown to Christmas is the perfect time to splurge on a beautifully designed advent calendar.
This wooden reusable advent calendar is well designed with drawers big enough to fit candies or notes with activities on them
This brain teaser advent calendar is fun for the entire family but especially good for those teens who are into STEM and building
This wooden calendar can be used year after year with its 24 reusable magnets and shining star.
You can pull out the felt candles and it is a great way to make kids feel like they are participating in lighting the menorah.

Best Overall: Oriental Cherry DIY Fluffy Slime Kit Advent Calendar

We didn't take an official survey but we think it's fair to say that most (if not all) kids are obsessed with all things slime-related. This advent calendar will play into their love for the ooey-gooey stuff. Filled with fun mix-ins, the set has over 30 different surprises that will help to ease the anticipation for the upcoming holiday.

Best for Big Kids: Funko Pop 2021 Pokemon Advent Calendar

Older kids will get a kick out of this calendar filled with 24 Pokémon Pocket Pops to add to their collection of these adorable vinyl toys. Cute, durable, and portable, the Funko series characters are fun for all ages. Be sure to preorder this calendar before it sells out.

Best for Toddlers: Play-Doh Advent Calendar

Play-Doh is so much fun for toddlers to learn, play and develop. This calendar comes with 5 cans of Play-Doh and behind each door is a new tool to create shapes and designs with.

This is great for younger kids as the numbers are in order so they won’t need to hunt for the next day. Fans of the product rave about how excited kids were to see what tool or shape cutter they would open up, and it left them playing and creating long after!

Best LEGO: LEGO City Advent Calendar

Every year there are a few LEGO advent calendars to choose from, but this City version has the most holiday spirit. It is a great introduction to the exciting world of LEGO City. Each day kids will add to the Christmas adventures with mini characters, a Christmas tree, Santa’s sleigh, and a snowy city play mat.

The best part is these LEGO pieces can be added to any collection and used year-round. Be sure to snatch one of these up as they sell out fast every year!

Best for First Christmas: Wee Gallery Festive Friends Advent Calendar

Wee Gallery Festive Friends Advent Calendar

Your child’s very first countdown to Christmas is the perfect time to splurge on a beautifully designed advent calendar. This one from Wee Gallery is modern and neutral-colored with cute winter animals printed on the pockets. It’s handmade and made with 100 percent organic cotton—the perfect keepsake for a new baby.

Best Reusable: West Elm Wooden Tree Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar

This wooden reusable advent calendar is well designed with drawers big enough to fit a few candies or notes with activities on them. The beautiful Christmas scene and neutral tones make it easy to fit with lots of decor styles. Made of wood, the book shape folds up nicely and stores well to be used the following year.

Keep in mind the drawers are too small for the average toy, so it may take some creative thinking to come up with unique ideas for each day.

Best Teens: Coogam Metal Wires Advent Calendar

This brain teaser advent calendar is great for the entire family but especially good for those teens who are into STEM and building. The calendar includes 24 different style metal wire puzzles with no repeats. 

This is a great alternative to a candy advent calendar with each day posing a new challenge. Reviewers love the anticipation of the next day’s puzzle and parents are happy this calendar helps stimulate the minds of their children.

Best Wooden: Melissa & Doug Wooden Advent Calendar

This wooden calendar can be used year after year with its 24 reusable magnets and shining star. Kids can pick a favorite design to place on the tree each day, and they will love moving and rearranging the pieces to customize their own tree numerous times.

It even has a holiday poem on the back that encourages the family to get into the festive spirit as a “read-aloud” ritual.  This is a fun hands-on advent calendar suggested for kids ages 4 and up.

Best for Hanukkah: Fun Express Hanukkah Countdown Felt Calendar

Fun Express Hanukkah Countdown Felt Calendar

Celebrate Hanukkah in style with this high-quality felt piece themed like a menorah and filled with candles. You can pull out the felt candles and it is a great way to make kids feel like they are participating in lighting the menorah by having their own. If you want to add a sweet treat, the pockets are the perfect size for small candies.

It comes with a string and dowel that makes for easy hanging on a wall.

Final Verdict

For younger tots that can't fully participate in the countdown to Christmas, the Melissa and Doug Wooden Advent Calendar (view on Amazon) is a great way to get them involved, minus the candy and toys.

The DIY Fluffy Slime Kit calendar (view on Amazon) is ideal for the whole family, even your big kids who are aging out of holiday traditions. They might not believe in Santa but this advent calendar will put them in a cheerful mood!

What to Look for When Buying Advent Calendars

Traditional vs. Trendy

Breaking out the advent calendar after Thanksgiving is a cherished Christmas tradition that has evolved over time from the traditional cardboard calendars with chocolate to trendy options that fit today’s modern decor. The original advent calendar was a simple cardboard design fill with candy. Fast forward 50 years and kids have opted for tiny toys and mini gifts over sweets.

While there are still traditional advent calendars on the market that feature chocolates for each day during the month of December, there are endless options alternative options that won't cause a sugar rush. Depending on your child's age and your family's traditions, you may choose to opt for a trendy calendar like the Funko Pop! Pokemon Countdown (view on Amazon) or a traditional and customizable one like the gorgeous West Elm Wooden Tree (view on West Elm).

Disposable vs. Reusable

One of the best parts about advent calendars is that you can reuse them each year. While you don’t have to reuse the same one every year, it will make a difference when it comes to the age of your children. Considering their age and the material of the calendar will ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck whether it be that year only or over many years. 

If you have older children who are close to aging out of the tradition, you may want to consider a disposable advent calendar. With so many fun themes to choose from, disposable options allow you to choose a calendar that your big kids will actually enjoy.

If you have smaller children, check out advent calendars made from fabric or wood so it can be reused year after year. Reusable advent calendars can also be passed down to the next generation, so you’ll want to keep that in mind, too. 

Age-Appropriate

Before purchasing an advent calendar, be sure to check the age recommendation. This will depend on what the calendar is made from and the surprise inside each day for the month. Older children may be able to eat the chocolate while younger children may want to skip out and opt for a toy instead. 

There’s also the possibility of some toys being choking hazards for smaller children, like toddlers. Because of this, look at the age recommendation to not only ensure safety, but that also point to the child’s interests at that particular age.

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Deanna McCormack is a freelance writer who focuses on family, lifestyle, and commerce. She regularly tests and researches products for young children and parenthood and stays up to date with the latest technology for the home.

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