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While your standard advent calendar options might include candy, cookies, or other perishables, these kids' options come with small toys and accessories that will keep boys and girls engaged long after your winter festivities.
To find the best one for your child, we researched the best countdown calendars, considering the price, age range, and delivery time of each. Some of our favorites include one filled with fidgets from Huibao, a car-themed calendar from Hot Wheels, and one perfect for little artists from Crayola.
Here are the best toy advent calendars.
Huibao Fidget Advent Calendar
Fidget toys are designed to keep busy minds at bay during school, in the car, or even when watching TV. With tons of different designs, there is a perfect fidget out there for everyone, and this advent calendar has 24 pop-able fidgets to collect.
Each can be used for entertainment or as a stress reliever and can be used by any age, even adults. There are five different calendars to choose from, with holiday-themed options from Santa to a reindeer toy.
Kids of all ages (and even adults) can enjoy the surprise each day with a new item squish, push, and pop every day. Users noted that some of the doors can stick together, making it difficult to only open one a day. Still, for such an affordable price, parents can hoard all of the fidgets and dish out one-a-day to kids if this occurs.
Disney Pixar Minis Advent Calendar
Pull your kiddo away from the TV with the Disney Pixar Minis Advent Calendar, which brings all of their favorite characters together in one festive setting. In this set, you'll get 14 character mini figures (including Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl from The Incredibles and Sulley and Mike from Monsters, Inc.), plus ten character stickers and a mini Christmas tree. The calendar is recommended for ages three and up.
Melissa & Doug Wooden Advent Calendar
The Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas Wooden Advent Calendar is truly one of the most festive advent calendars available today. Shaped like a giant Christmas tree, the calendar comes with glittery magnetic ornaments, a shining star to place atop the tree, and an attractive wooden box for easy storage. In addition, there’s a heartwarming holiday poem on the back, which provides the perfect yuletide ritual for families who enjoy reading aloud together.
Fisher-Price Little People Advent Calendar
This calendar is a great way to re-introduce your little person (ages 1-5 years old) to all of his favorite Christmas season characters. On each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas, your kiddo will unveil winter animals, a snowman, and other critters. The bigger and smaller toddler toys are evenly spaced out, so every day is a surprise.
Hot Wheels Advent Calendar
The Hot Wheels Advent Calendar is a great gift for any kid that loves playing with toy cars. With it, you'll get eight Hot Wheels cars and sixteen accessories, plus an included foldout playmat where kiddos can play with all of their new goodies. The cars in this set are the same size and quality as your standard Hot Wheels, so they can be easily mixed into an existing collection once the holidays pass.
Hatchimals Advent Calendar with Exclusive Characters & Paper Craft Accessories
If you're looking for a calendar that includes even more surprises per day, this one from Hatchimals is a great option. Filled with over 50 surprises—ten Hatchimals and an array of accessories, sticker sheets, and more—this set will keep multiple kiddos happy (no more fighting among siblings!). Be warned that some of the parts are quite small, so this calendar is best for those 5 years and up.
Crayola Christmas Countdown Calendar
Perfect for creative types, the Crayola Christmas Countdown Calendar offers a new craft or activity each day, plus a Crayola item to go with it! From paint and markers to crayons and clay, there's a great assortment of products that will be used long after the last door is opened.
The Purple Cow Crazy Scientist Advent Calendar
Keep learning even when on holiday break with this science-filled advent calendar from The Purple Cow. Kids can complete 24 engaging and exciting science experiments as they count down to Christmas. All ages can participate, making this fun for the family. With easy-to-follow instructions, your little one will turn into a crazy scientist themselves by December 25.
Funko Advent Calendar: Harry Potter - 24 Vinyl Pocket Pop! Figures (2021)
Funko Pops are a great gift option for everyone on your list, and this Harry Potter-themed advent calendar is sure to thrill the tiny wizards in your life. Littles ones will love seeing which of their favorite characters they can collect next. By Christmas, they will have a full cast of characters to display in their rooms or act out their favorite scenes with their new mini Pops.
GAMENOTE Slime Advent Calendar
This December, don't be afraid to make a mess with a slime-filled advent calendar. Each day provides a DIY slime with additives including glitter, sand, and ornaments. Create together as an exciting bonding activity, or challenge little ones to make slime themselves with just a few simple ingredients. At the end of the season, they will have 24 new slimes to feel, mush, and mold all year long.
KiwiCo Christmas Village Advent Calendar
Build your very own Christmas village piece by piece with this advent calendar from KiwiCo. Each day, little ones will find a new buildable project to add their winter scene, from a cozy cottage to Santa's sleigh. By Christmas, they will have an entire village to display for Santa when he comes down the chimney! Preserve your village to display as a new piece of holiday decor for years to come.
Uncommon Goods 12 Days of Christmas Countdown Puzzles
Who said toy-filled advent calendars were just for kids? This 12-day countdown from Uncommon Goods is designed for jigsaw puzzle lovers of all ages. Each day reveals a new 5 inches by 7 inches puzzle comprised of 80 pieces. Complete one a day with a spouse or teenage child to reveal a wintry scene from around the globe.
HABA My First Advent Calendar - Farmyard Animals
Perfect for toddlers just learning about the German tradition of advent. HABA's farmyard theme calendar is designed to be their first. Kids between 2 and 4 years old will love receiving a new wooden animal figure each day to add to their collection and by Christmas, they will have a whole new play set to enjoy for hours on end. Little ones might need your help opening the tabs each day and beware of tantrums when they find out they have to wait a whole day for the next present.
Cranky Cake Shop Festive House Paper Craft Advent Calendar
A brightly decorated tree, a handmade Christmas garland, and a blue piano are just a few of the whimsical surprises that children will open up as they countdown to Christmas. Each day reveals a new character or piece of furniture to embellish this four-bedroom paper house. The Festive House Paper Craft Advent Calendar is sure to delight kids and adults of all ages this season.
Etsy LED Wooden Advent Calendar with 24 Drawers Music Box
Customize your child's advent calendar with all of their favorite toys with a homemade wooden option. This music box and advent calendar hybrid contains 24 wood drawers to fill with candies, stickers, or other small toys that they will love opening each day. Ensure that your recipient loves everything in their advent calendar this year by choosing the items yourself. The intricate design even doubles as a holiday centerpiece.
PLAYMOBIL 1.2.3 Advent Calendar - Christmas in The Forest
The LEGO Star Wars advent calendar is perfect for LEGO and Stars Wars toy fanatics. It includes Lego builds such as the Slave I, a TIE Interceptor, AAT, T-16 Skyhopper, Sleigh, Republic Cruiser, Droid Gunship, Jedi Interceptor, Skiff, and an Imperial Landing Craft. It also includes eight mini-figures, a Battle Droid, and extra accessories Luke Skywalker's Lightsaber.
Insight Editions The Nightmare Before Christmas: Advent Calendar and Pop-Up Book
Fans of the iconic Christmas film, The Nightmare Before Christmas, are sure to love this interactive advent calendar that lets you create your own adventures with Jack Skellington, Sally Zero, a skeletal reindeer, and more. Included are 25 different ornaments that will hold up during active play (they're made of thick cardboard), and a guidebook that offers spooky facts about each character and their world.
Playmobil Pirate Cove Treasure Hunt Advent Calendar
Kids ages 5 and up will love opening a new Playmobil figure or accessory everyday in December. Playmobil has the perfect calendar for all of the kids on your nice list, no matter their age or interests. This one specifically follows pirates as they hunt for buried treasure. Sail the seas, fight an octopus, or dig for gold as you countdown to the holidays.
Lovepop Advent Calendar: Pancake the Penguin's Christmas Adventure
Instead of having to get each of your kids their own advent calendar specific to their tastes, buy one that the whole family can enjoy! Lovepop's advent calendars has storytelling at their heart. Every night families can cozy up by the fire and open their next adventure sharing the story of Pancake the penguin. Each day, you will receive pop-up characters from the story as well as the next bit of words to read together.
Just Play Disney Junior Advent Calendar
Disney fans of all ages will love spending the holidays with their favorite Disney Junior characters. Complete with 11 mini surprise figures, five card decorations, five sticker sheets, five stickers, and three stickers in three gift boxes, this advent calendar is perfect for kids 3 years and up. This is also a great budget-friendly option for spoiling your Disney obsessed little one.
Pokemon Pokemon - Battle Figure Multipack (Deluxe Holiday Calendar 2021)
Catch them all this holiday season with a Pokemon themed advent calendar. Young Pokemon trainers can collect all 16 included Pokemon figures including favorites Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charmander, Pikachu, and many more. Battle with friends with an additional 18 accessories perfect for hours of play for kids of all ages. On Christmas Day, kids will love showing off their new catches to friends and family.
FAO Schwartz Dinosaur Advent Calendar
Travel back to prehistoric times with this dinosaur-themed advent calendar. The contents include science-based mini experiments that families can enjoy together such as excavating a fossil, building a bubbling volcano, and hatching dinosaur eggs. Learn scientific concepts and explore the history of dinosaurs with interactive activities that will make learning during the holidays fun.
Zuru 5 Surprise Mini Brands 5 Surprise Mini Brands - Series 3 24pc Surprise Pack Advent Calendar Limited Edition
Perfect for children of all ages, this advent calendar comes complete with 24 Mini Brands for the ultimate collector. Mini Brands are adorable tiny versions of your favorite everyday food items from Hershey bars and Jolly Ranchers to Triscuits and Golden Crisp cereal. You may even find ultra rare or one of six exclusive Mini Brands hidden behind each day.
Joyin Christmas Art and Craft Advent Calendar
Keep the spirit of Christmas alive with holiday-themed crafts to complete throughout the month of December. With paints, glitter glue, stickers, magnets, and sponges, your house will be decked out in new holiday decor created by your little one by the time Santa arrives. With this set, you can foster their creativity or make art together for this special time of year.
Barbie Barbie Color Reveal Advent Calendar
Barbie is ready to celebrate the holidays with your little one. On the first day of December, reveal your full-size Barbie doll adorned in a metallic blue coat with snowflakes. When submerged in water, Barbie's outfit changes colors for an additional holiday look. Over the next 24 days, kids can collect accessories for their new doll as well as a color-changing husky to match Barbie. Combine with other Barbie dolls and accessories for hours of wintertime fun.
What to Look for in a Toy Advent Calendar
When purchasing an advent calendar for the child in your life, think of it as another gift to factor into your budget. As with other toys, there are always less and more expensive options to fit every lifestyle. It is important to consider that with an advent calendar, you receive 24 toys rather than just one, which justifies a higher price tag. Also, with these options, the toys included can be enjoyed long after the holiday season, so it may be worth it to splurge on an option your child will love.
With every toy, it is important to keep the manufacturer's age recommendations in mind. Younger recipients might be better off with wooden figures or toy car sets that are free of small pieces that can potentially be dangerous. Older kids may opt for one featuring doll accessories or Lego builds. Others fit a wider age range, like puzzle advent calendars, fidget toy calendars, or ones with collectible figures. Before purchasing your calendar, check the age requirements to ensure your child enjoys their gift to the fullest.
Advent calendars are a time-specific gift, so ensuring they arrive on time is vital. Many retailers will share the last day you can order your calendar to ensure it arrives before December 1. As with other holiday toys, ordering early is always better. Some advent calendars are a 12-day countdown rather than the classic 25, so you have a little more wiggle room when ordering. For the best experience, you may have to splurge on expedited shipping, but luckily, there are tons of budget-friendly options that make that possible.
How should you pick a toy advent calendar?
The main consideration you should make when picking a toy advent calendar is whether your child is going to like the prizes that are revealed each day. This will make sure that the fun lasts even after the advent calendar is finished. Another consideration is your budget, though there are advent calendars that fit into every budget. Some advent calendars are a 12-day countdown while others are 25 days, so keep that in mind while you're picking one out.
Can you use toy advent calendar year after year?
You certainly can use a toy advent calendar year after year! After the prizes are removed, you can use the actual calendar to put new prizes in for the next year. This is easier to do with wooden or plastic advent calendars that are made to be reused. The paper or cardboard calendars take quite a bit of finesse to put back together, so keep that in mind if you plan on using it for more than one year.
When should you start an advent calendar?
The classic advent calendar starts 25 days before Christmas, but you'll see some calendars that only count down from 12. Start either 25 or 12 days before Christmas depending on what type of calendar you have. You'll want to open the highest number on the advent calendar first and then count down, opening the final one on Christmas Day.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Julia Fields, a lifestyle writer for The Spruce covering all things surrounding toys, gifts, and the holidays. She's also covered similar topics in other roles, including toy reviews, product roundups, interviews with experts, and more.
Additional reporting and research was done by Stacy Fisher, a writer with nearly two decades of experience covering crafting, freebies, and other fun pastimes.