20 fun Advent calendars for kids of all ages

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  • Kids love Christmas for obvious reasons, and Advent calendars keep the Christmas spirit going in the days leading up to December 25.
  • There are Advent calendars for every age and every interest, so we rounded up a wide variety of calendars to delight toddlers, older kids, and even teenagers.
  • The calendars feature building kits, crafts, activities, books, socks, and more. We even included some reusable calendars that can be used year after year.
  • Check out all of our 2020 holiday gift guides here to shop for everyone on your list.

There are a myriad of ways to make the holiday season fun and special, and one of my favorite ways is with Advent calendars. My mom started an Advent calendar tradition when my sister and I were little, and even though we've both long been out of the house, she still sends us our Advent calendars every year. Now that I continue the tradition with my own daughter, I scour the internet for the best calendars every year.

Advent calendars are simple, fun, and most require no work for busy parents to set up each day. They've come a long way from the ones filled with waxy chocolate. Here are our picks for the best kids' Advent calendars in 2020, from Lego building kits to holiday challenges.

Check out 20 of our favorite Advent calendars for kids:

A wooden calendar that reminds you to stop and enjoy the little things

Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas,  available at Target and Walmart, from $17.29

This wooden tree has a magnetic ornament for kids to hang up every day. This helps younger kids begin to grasp the idea of an Advent calendar, and it's sure to remain a tradition throughout the years. A poem printed on the back of the tree is a reminder to pause and enjoy the little things during the busy holiday season.   

Recommended ages: 3 to 7 years

A train calendar conducted by Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf North Pole Advent Train, available at Target, $24.95

If an Elf on the Shelf makes an appearance at your house every December, this train will fit right in. There is a spot for an elf (not included) to conduct the train, and the train cars hold 24 surprises. Surprises include mini Elf Pets and holiday-themed accessories.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up.

A calendar that will keep a little 'Star Wars' fan's feet warm all winter

The Mandalorian 15 Days of Socks Advent Calendar, available at Target, $15

This is only a 15-day Advent calendar on this list, but 15 pairs of socks are more than enough. No pair is the same, and the set includes quarter, crew, and no-show socks. Each pair depicts a character or symbol from "The Mandalorian."

Available sizes: 5.5T to 10 kids

A calendar full of 24 surprise crafts

Crayola Craft Advent Calendar, available at Crayola and Amazon and, from $16.99

Keep kids active and exploring their creativity through the holiday season with this calendar that includes 24 different crafts and activities for them to complete. Some crafts include ornaments, decorations, and coloring projects. The best part: The calendar comes with everything kids need to complete each activity.

Recommended ages: 4 years and up

A Pokemon calendar with buildable characters

Mega Construx Pokemon Advent Calendar Construction Set, available at Target, $34.99

Kids will be able to construct their own Pokemon figurines and accessories with this Mega Construx set. Figurines include Pikachu, Eevee, presents, a snowman, and an airplane. The set includes 279 total pieces, and there will be something new to build every single day.

Recommended ages: 6 years and up

A whimsical refillable calendar

Hearthsong Wooden Gingerbread House Advent Calendar, available at Amazon and Target, $39.96

Fill this whimsical gingerbread house Advent calendar with your own surprises and reuse it every year. The drawers are small, so they are ideal for tiny treats or notes. Try creating scavenger hunt notes, or for a nonmaterial option, stuff each drawer with a family activity for the day.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A reusable calendar with large bins for treats and trinkets

Step2 My First Advent Calendar, available at Walmart, $59.99

If you want a calendar you can refill year after year as your child's interests change, this is the one for you. Start the tradition when your kids are toddlers and keep it going for years to come. The calendar has large green and red bins with a special gold bin for Christmas day. Designed to look like a snowy cottage, the neutral yet festive look will appeal to older kids too. 

Recommended ages: 18 months and up

A plush calendar for the Disney fan

Mickey and Minnie Plush Advent Calendar, available at Shop Disney, $44.98

This certainly isn't the cheapest calendar on our list, but it can be used year after year. Each day through the month of December, kids will move the plush gingerbread cookie to the correct day. The calendar measures 31 inches high and 21 inches wide.

Recommended ages: unspecified

A calendar full of surprises from a holiday classic

Elf Advent Calendar, available at Amazon and GameStop,  $39.96

"Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?" Kids who incessantly quote lines like this from "Elf" can reenact the entire movie with the figurines from this calendar. The set includes 24 surprises and a pop-up display. Some of the surprise even include buildable pieces.

Recommended ages: 4 years and up

A calendar that will transport kids to a galaxy far, far away

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar, available at Walmart and Target, from $29.97

Bring the Force home for Christmas with 24 buildable figurines and objects from "Star Wars." Kids can build and play with Luke Skywalker, a stormtrooper, and even some Christmas-themed characters. The calendar includes a playmat with a picture of the Millennium Falcon decked out for the season. It also comes with a code to unlock game content from "Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga."

Recommended ages: 6 years and up

A magical calendar full of witchcraft and wizardry

Lego Harry Potter Advent Calendar, available at Amazon, Target, and Lego Store, from $29.96

Nothing is more magical than Hogwarts at Christmas, and with this Advent building set, kids can recreate the magical scenes with six character figurines and pieces like the Triwizard Cup. This year's calendar is Yule Ball themed, and the box folds out to create a stunning scene of Hogwarts at Christmas.

Recommended ages: 7 years and up

A calendar that's fun for toddlers and babies

Little People Advent Calendar, available at Amazon and Buy Buy Baby, from $30.99

Little People figurines are designed to be safe for toddlers; this is the set I bought for my daughter last Christmas when she was 18 months old. In this calendar, kids will get a new figurine each day, including Little People, holiday decorations, and other accessories. All of our figurines are still in excellent shape after being played with for almost a year.

Recommended ages: 1 to 5 years

A calendar with an interactive Christmas train track

Vtech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Advent Calendar, available at Amazon, $24.99

This calendar is toddler-friendly and comes with 24 holiday-themed toys, including a Go! Go! Smart Wheels Christmas train that kids will open on the first day. The train responds to various locations on the track with songs and phrases. The box also includes a train track play mat, road signs, animal figurines, and more.

Recommended ages: 1 to 5 years

A crafty unicorn calendar

Unicorn Stamp Advent Calendar, available at Scandiborn, $24.95

With this calendar, kids will get either a wooden stamp or an ink tray each day. There are festive holiday stamps like a gift and a candy cane. Others are are appropriate for year-round fun, like a unicorn and a rainbow.

Recommended ages: unspecified

A calendar with everything they need to create 25 crafts

Kid Made Modern DIY Advent Calendar, available at Amazon, Maisonette and Kohl's, from $14.99

Crafting can help harness some of that holiday season energy by challenging kids to focus and create. The calendar includes 25 crafts with everything kids need to complete them. Some of the crafts include a gingerbread man, gift tags, and a letter to Santa. Use completed crafts to bring holiday cheer to your home or as gifts for friends and family.

Recommended ages: 6 years and up

An epic superhero storybook calendar

Marvel Books Advent Calendar, available at Barnes & Noble, from $29.99

Arguably the best part about the Marvel franchise is the characters and their storylines. In this calendar, kids will open a new 24-page Marvel book each day. Featured superheroes include Captain America, Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Iron Man.

Recommended ages: 6 to 10 years

A calendar with from recycled paper and nontoxic vegetable inks

Petit Collage Advent Calendar, available at Amazon, $25

Each day, kids will discover a new pop-out character made from recycled paper and nontoxic vegetable inks. Figures include friendly animals, Christmas trees, presents, and more. The calendar also comes with a fold-down play mat.

Recommended ages: 4 years and up

A calendar for the car enthusiast

Hot Wheels Advent Calendar, available at Amazon and Target, $19.99

This Advent calendar includes eight Hot Wheels vehicles and 16 accessories. It also comes with a holiday-themed fold-out play mat with a road intersecting a snowy scene. Some of the accessories include a ramp, a sled, and a snow man.   

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A calendar full of festive doll accessories

12 Days of Cheer Countdown Set, available at American Girl, $50

No American Girl Doll is complete without festive accessories. Kids can play pretend with their dolls as they dress them up and get excited for the holiday season. Accessories include a caroling songbook with real sheet music, gingerbread cookies, a silver bell ornament, and a reindeer headband. 

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

A calendar that transforms into a miniature toy store

Playmobil Christmas Toy Store Advent Calendar, available at Amazon, Walmart, and Barnes & Noble, from $22.92

Kids will open a new holiday-themed figure each day, and they'll be able to set up their own miniature Christmas toy store by the final day. Some of the surprises include Santa, a skateboard, and a soccer ball. The included toy store backdrop really brings the whole scene together.

Recommended ages: 4 years and up

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