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The holidays are a wonderful time of year when friends and family can get together to celebrate and create memories. For parents, they can also be a 24/7 minefield of temper tantrums. Routines are changed, stimulation is at a maximum, everyone is stressed, and there is pressure to get the perfect gift. All these things can often trickle down and leave kids feeling overwhelmed. One way to help reduce the focus placed on a single day is with an Advent calendar for kids.
Advent calendars are typically used as a countdown to Christmas, but many nondenominational Advent calendars are now available for kids and adults. For anyone that loves the Christmas season — and who doesn’t? — Advent calendars also make great early Christmas gifts. Using an Advent calendar to mark the passing of time until the holidays can help kids conceptualize dates. Getting to open one new item each day also spreads out the gift-giving instead of having all the focus on a single day.
Not only are Advent calendars great for the holidays, but we also find them beneficial for other major events. Nondenominational, non-winter-themed Advent calendars can be used leading up to other celebratory milestones, such as birthdays or family vacations. They can also be used to help ease tension in children who are anxious about a major event, like traveling on an airplane for the first time, visiting the dentist, starting a new school, or moving.
Whether you’re counting down until Santa Claus visits or marking time until another major event, these Advent calendars for kids are designed to please little ones.
1. LEGO Marvel The Avengers Advent Calendar
Help your little one have a super holiday season with the new LEGO Marvel The Avengers Advent Calendar. Seven members of the Avengers have assembled for this holiday-themed LEGO set, which includes Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Thor, Captain Marvel, Thanos and Nick Fury. The calendar features 24 individual pieces with some of the most famous accessories in the world of the Avengers, including the Quinjet, Helicarrier, Spider-Man drone, and Avengers Tower. Kids can build their own unique Avengers set or incorporate their new figurines with their LEGO collection.
Read More: Best LEGO Advent Calendars
2. Harry Potter: Holiday Magic: The Official Advent Calendar
BEST FOR POTTERHEADS
Harry Potter fans have access to some of the best merch in film and books and that includes the latest Advent calendar for kids for 2021. The Harry Potter: Holiday Magic: The Official Advent Calendar features 25 days of collectibles that include recipe cards, buttons, keychains, bookmarks and more. Each item has its own unique twist and will make opening a new keepsake as exciting as the first day of school at Hogwarts.
Read More: Best Halloween Advent Calendars
3. The Official Batman Advent Calendar
BEST FOR BATMAN FANS
While we still have to wait a while for Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman to soar into theatres, fans of the caped crusader can celebrate their favorite vigilante now with The Official Batman Advent Calendar. Set to be released on October 26, 2021, the calendar features 25 individual keepsakes that fans of Gotham City’s finest (and most notorious) will love. Keychains, bookmarks, trivia booklets, and more are all included in this colorful set, which is filled with new and exclusive pieces of Batman merch.
4. Disney Storybook Collection Advent Calendar 2021
BEST FOR BOOK LOVERS
Getting to open a new toy every day is heaven for kids, but this much excitement can be overstimulating at a time when the focus on presents is already high. That’s why we like the Disney Storybook Collection Advent Calendar, which features one new book every day for the 24 days leading up to Christmas. Characters kids know and love, including Woody and Buzz Lightyear, Elsa and Anna, Wall-E, Wreck-It-Ralph and Minnie and Mickey are all featured in the holiday-themed books. The Disney Advent calendar is a great option for homes with multiple children, as everyone can enjoy the same bedtime story. Disney releases a new set of books each year and their 2021 collection, which can be pre-ordered now, will be available starting November 23, 2021.
Read More: Funko Pop Advent Calendars
5. Marvel: Storybook Collection Advent Calendar 2021
FOR THE MARVEL FAN
If Marvel is more the speed in your home, Disney will also release a new lineup of superhero-inspired books just in time for the holidays. Available now for preorder and scheduled to be released November 23, 2021, the Advent calendar features 24 books with stories about Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk, Black Panther, Spider-Man, and more. All the Marvel crew are back together to keep kids entertained in the days leading up to Christmas. Each day’s book is a secret waiting to be opened by the super kid in your life.
6. Funko Pop! Advent Calendar: Harry Potter
BEST FOR FUNKO POP LOVERS
Funk Pop! fans will absolutely love this Harry Potter Funko Pop! Advent calendar. In it, you’ll receive Funko Pop figurines of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Snape, Fang, Dobby, and a slew of other characters from the beloved franchise.
7. Pokemon – Battle Figure Multipack
Your Pokémon-loving child will never forget the moment they laid eyes on this Advent calendar. It features 24 windows that can be opened daily to reveal a different Pokémon figurine leading up to the big holiday. With it, you’ll receive holiday versions of Pickachu, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charmander, Eevee, and more.
8. Friends: The Official Advent Calendar – Updated
BEST FOR TEENS WHO STREAM
Everything old is new again in the age of streaming and Friends has seen a huge revival thanks to young viewers who are just discovering the 90’s hit show it for the first time online. If your pre-teen is too cool to celebrate the holidays, they may reconsider when they check out the Friends-themed Advent calendar. The Advent book debuted in 2020 and was updated with a new version for 2021 that will be available starting October 5, 2021. Teens will love opening the 25 days of Friends-themed goodies, which include ornaments, keepsakes, and booklets. ‘Tis the season for the holiday armadillo.
9. Hot Wheels 2021 Advent Calendar
BEST FOR CAR FANS
Get your little racer’s motor running with their very own Hot Wheels Advent calendar for kids. New for 2021, the calendar features 24 surprises, including 1:64th scale Hot Wheels cars and winter-themed accessories for building the ultimate holiday track. Kids will love racing around snowmen, Christmas trees, and more in this calendar that comes with a printed racetrack.
10. LOL Surprise 2021 Advent Calendar
BEST FOR LOL FANS
Fans of LOL dolls will love this year’s Advent calendar for kids, which comes with more than 25 surprises for 2021. The calendar includes Jet Set QT and several accessories, letting budding fashionistas show off their style. Each of the 25 surprises is numbered and includes a new and unique addition, including shoes, bags, and more.
11. Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Super Friends Advent Calendar
FOR YOUNG SUPERHERO FANS
Young fans of the DC world will have fun playing with the new Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Super Friends Advent Calendar for kids. The calendar is designed with 24 mystery toys inside and is perfect for superhero fans aged three to eight. The set includes 24 Imaginext toys, including six Super Friend characters, as well as several vehicles and accessories. The characters have movable arms and legs, helping kids entertain themselves by acting out superhero scenarios.
12. Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends MINIS Advent Calendar
BEST FOR THOMAS FANS
For fans of Thomas the Tank Engine and his group of helpful friends, they’re going to love the new Advent calendar for kids featuring their favorite locomotives. The calendar includes 24 individual windows with mini trains, including all the fan favorites. The set also includes a fold-down track that young fans can use to push their trains around while making deliveries and helping those in need.
13. Barbie Color Reveal Advent Calendar
BEST FOR BARBIE FANS
Barbie fans who love to experiment with fashion will have fun playing with the Barbie Color Reveal Advent Calendar. The calendar features one Barbie Color Reveal Doll, a pet husky, and several color-changing accessories. In total, there are 25 daily surprises that all take on a new look when dipped in water. Kids will enjoy outfitting their Barbie with different outfits and accessories and building their own charm bracelet they can proudly show off during the holidays and beyond.
14. Disney Pixar Cars Mini Racers Advent Calendar
FOR CARS FANS
Want your little one to take a break from watching all three Cars films on repeat this holiday season? Give them a non-screentime but still on-brand gift with the Disney Pixar Cars Mini Racers Advent Calendar. Cars fans will love racing around the winter-themed track with their Advent calendar that features 24 individual toys, including five vehicles straight from the Disney film.
15. American Girl A Dozen Delicious Days Countdown Set
BEST DOLL SET
For fans of the American Girl brand or kids who have entered the doll phase of childhood, they’re going to love counting down the days until the holidays with this year’s American Girl A Dozen Delicious Days Countdown Set. The Advent calendar for kids comes with 10 individual gifts they can use to help their favorite doll get ready for the holidays, including a recipe card, measuring cups, cookie cutters, and more baking-themed items. The set doesn’t come with a doll but makes for a great lead-up to their big holiday celebration, which could include their new favorite doll.
16. The Elf on the Shelf North Pole Advent Calendar Train
FOR ELF ON THE SHELF FANS
For exhausted parents who have run out of shelves (and bookcases, bathtubs, bedrooms, and just about every other spot in the home) to hide their child’s Elf on the Shelf, there is a new Advent calendar that takes the leg work out of the holiday toy known for keeping kids on the nice list. First released in 2020, we loved counting down the days to Christmas last year with this popular Elf on the Shelf Advent Calendar, and it received glowing reviews from our young product testers. For 2021, the makers of Elf on the Shelf are continuing to expand their brand offerings of tiny tattletales who help keep kids in line during the holidays and are now making an Elf on the Shelf Advent calendar.
This Christmas calendar comes with 24 individual boxes, each of which holds toys that kids will enjoy playing with throughout the holiday season, including elves, pets, mini cookies, and baking sheets, a tree, a Santa sign, stickers and several other fun surprises. The boxes can all be placed together to form a train with a spot in the front for the child’s full-sized Elf on the Shelf. Kids will look forward to opening a new toy every day, which is also an activity that will give parents a few minutes to find a new hiding place for their elf.
Read More: Best Adult Advent Calendars
17. Pusheen Holiday Calendar Surprise
BEST FOR OLDER KIDS
If you have a Pusheen fan in your home, they are going to love the Advent calendar from Gund. The calendar comes with a super cute plush Pusheen and several mini friends. Older kids will have fun building a holiday setting with the soft toys includING a tree, a couch, a fireplace, and presents. SPY was provided with one of the calendars and got to see the quality of each plush toy up close. The 12 toys can be set up and displayed in front of the open box, which features a faux-wooden floor with a holiday-themed backdrop. Pusheen fans will love opening each new daily surprise and playing with the toys long after the holidays have ended.
18. Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas Wooden Advent Calendar
BEST FOR TODDLERS
For an Advent calendar that kids can use year after year, we like the Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas Wooden Advent Calendar. The wooden Christmas tree sits on top of a holiday-themed box, which acts as storage for the magnetic numbered pieces. Children can match the corresponding magnet with its place on the tree in the days leading up to Christmas, which helps improve their fine motor skills and counting. The Melissa and Doug calendar provides an alternative for parents who don’t want to add more toys to the holiday season but still get kids in the festive mood.
Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas Wooden Advent Calendar
19. Playmobil Advent Calendar – Santa’s Workshop
BEST PLAYMOBIL FOR YOUNGER KIDS
It’s tough to be more popular than old Saint Nick around the holidays, so give younger kids an Advent calendar that lets them bring Santa’s workshop to life. The Advent calendar from Playmobil features 24 surprises, including presents, elves, reindeer, and more, which together help to create a whimsical village that will be bustling with activity on December 24. The calendar comes with a backdrop that features both the inside and outside of Santa’s workshop, giving kids plenty of opportunities to let their creativity flow.
20. Playmobil Advent Calendar – Battle for The Magic Stone
BEST PLAYMOBIL FOR OLDER KIDS
For older kids who want a scene that is more in line with their interest, Playmobil just released their Battle for the Magic Stone Advent calendar. Recommended for kids ages 8 and up, the calendar includes 24 pieces that can be opened each day and added to the Magic Stone backdrop to create an engaging and exciting battle scene. Fans of the Novelmore Knights and Burnham Raiders will have fun acting out battles to see who will be victorious in winning the precious stone and becoming the most powerful army. Not only is the set fun for counting down the days until Christmas, but kids can also continue using the figures beyond the holiday season.
21. The Crazy Scientist Advent Calendar
FOR THE SCIENCE FAN
Just because school is on break for the holidays doesn’t mean your little scientist has to way until January for their next experiment. With the Crazy Scientist Advent Calendar, little lab techs can have fun learning with daily science experiments. The Advent calendar comes with everything young learners will need to engage in experiments that focus on biology, chemistry, mechanics, and more. A full-color instruction manual provides the steps necessary for each experiment, which kids can follow alone or with some parental supervision.
22. Coogam Wooden Puzzle Advent Calendar
BEST FOR YOUNG PUZZLE FANS
If you have a little one that can’t get enough of puzzles, they’re going to love the Coogam Wooden Puzzle Advent Calendar. The puzzle comes with 24 doors that open to reveal a daily wooden puzzle that features a bright drawing of an animal. The animal’s name is also printed in bold text, helping children to begin recognizing letters. At the end of the month, the puzzles can be combined to create one large puzzle that kids can enjoy building again and again throughout the year.
23. D-FantiX Christmas Advent Calendar 2021
BEST FOR BUILDERS
The D-FantiX Christmas Advent Calendar 2021 is a great option for young builders who love using their hands and for parents who want their kids to improve their fine motor skills. The calendar features 24 STEM building toys made from blocks that can be turned into helicopters, construction vehicles, fire trucks, and more. Each piece is made with 100 percent non-toxic ABS plastic. Although the D-FantiX may not boast the same quality of pieces as its more famous block competitor, it still provides hours of fun and at a much lower cost.
24. Crayola Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar
BEST FOR CRAFTY KIDS
For kids who love to create, the Crayola Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar has everything they need to put their own personal touch on this year’s Christmas décor. Each of the 24 boxes reveals a new tool kids can use to paint, color, and debut a holiday-themed masterpiece. Crayons, markers, glue, paint, and more supplies are included in this crafting kit, as well as several coloring pages and instructions on how to create new decorations. Crayola also offers a free app to help kids and parents develop ideas on fun projects they can create using their new Advent calendar.
25. Christmas Gife Advent Calendar 2021
BEST SQUEEZIE TOYS
New for 2021 is an Advent calendar that toddlers and little kids will love playing with all year. The Christmas Gife Advent Calendar 2021 features 24 different squeezie toys that kids can open each day leading up to Christmas. An assortment of animals and holiday-themed characters will delight little ones who will enjoy squeezing the soft toys. The small items are the perfect pocket-sized present to bring to family and holiday events and keep kids entertained with their new toys.
26. Play-Doh Doh Vinci Advent Calendar
BEST FOR SIBLINGS
Whenever possible, buying an individual Advent calendar for each child is the best way to avoid fights. On the other hand, the holidays are already ex-pen-sive. If you have kids that are of different ages, a calendar they can play with together is a great buy. We like the Play-Doh Doh Vinci Advent Calendar, which includes tools, design pieces, and of course, Play-Doh. The Play-Doh is safe for younger kids to play with, while older siblings can help load and use the Deco Pop tube to create 3D lines.