22 fun Advent calendars for kids of all ages

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  • Kids love Christmas for obvious reasons, and Advent calendars are an easy way to keep up the Christmas spirit 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.
  • These calendars feature building kits, crafts, activities, books, socks, and more. We even included some reusable calendars that you can refill every 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 (looking at you, Elf on the Shelf). 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.

Here are 22 of our favorite Advent calendars for kids:

A reusable calendar with large bins for treats and trinkets

Step2 My First Advent Calendar, available at Amazon and Walmart, $54.99

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

Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas,  available at Target, Amazon, and Walmart, from $16.99

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 plush calendar for the Disney fan

Mickey and Minnie Plush Advent Calendar, available at Shop Disney, $59.99

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, Walmart, and GameStop, from $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 holiday-themed train calendar

Thomas & Friends Minis, available at Amazon, $28.90

This Advent calendar has 24 miniature engines, six of which feature Christmas-themed designs. Kids will slowly build trains over the month of December, and the box converts to a track for them to play on. The manufacturer sent me the 2019 version to test last year, and I was impressed with the quality and design of the trains.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A calendar that brings a classic video game to life

Super Mario Advent Calendar, available at Amazon, $49.99

Bring Mario off the screen and into real life with 17 figurines and seven accessories. Use the calendar itself to set the scene with a pop-up playing surface and a background showing iconic images from the game.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

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

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar, available at Target and Lego Store, $39.99

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

An Advent calendar with a Halloween twist

Funko Advent Calendar: The Nightmare Before Christmas, available at Amazon and Target, from $39.96

"What's this? What's this?" … an Advent calendar inspired by your child's favorite Tim Burton film! Fans of Jack Skellington will appreciate this calendar that reveals a different Funko Pocket Pop! figure every day. These small figures (each is no larger than 2 inches) are fun toys for younger kids and timeless collectibles for big kids and adults.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A magical calendar full of witchcraft and wizardry

Lego Harry Potter Advent Calendar, available at Amazon, Target, and Lego Store, from $29.46

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, Bed, Bath & Beyond, 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

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 calendar full of 24 surprise crafts

Crayola Craft Advent Calendar, available at Amazon and Oriental Trading, from $17.98

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 crafty unicorn calendar

Unicorn Stamp Advent Calendar, available at Scandiborn, $32

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 Maisonette and Kohl's, $19.99

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

A magical calendar full of stories about their favorite Disney characters

Disney Storybook Collection Advent Calendar, available at Amazon* and Barnes & Noble, from $19.99

Reading stories together can be a fun Christmas tradition, and this Advent calendar makes that easy with 24 different Disney stories, one to read each day. The calendar features popular characters like Pinocchio and Winnie the Pooh and stories from movies, including "Frozen," "Toy Story," "Cars," "Wreck-It Ralph," and "Finding Nemo."

Recommended ages: 6 to 10 years

*currently out of stock

An epic superhero storybook calendar

Marvel Books Advent Calendar, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from $29.55

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 The Tot, $24

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, $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 holiday-themed Lego Friends calendar

Lego Friends Advent Calendar, available at Amazon, Lego Store, and Barnes & Noble, from $19.96

This calendar comes with 236 pieces, including 24 buildable figures plus holiday-themed items. Kids can create holiday scenes like Santa's workshop or a winter wonderland. This set also comes with a fold-down play mat.

Recommended ages: 6 years and up

A calendar straight out of a fairy tale, complete with every accessory Barbie needs

Barbie Dreamtopia Advent Calendar, available at Amazon and Target, $28.99

On the first day of this calendar, kids will open a new Barbie, and they'll find accessories and storytelling pieces on the other 23 days. Accessories include a mermaid tail, unicorn figurine, and necklaces. The Barbie can be dressed up as a fairy, princess, or mermaid with the included items.

Recommended ages: 3 to 7 years

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.

Recommended ages: Sizes 5.5T to 10 kids

A calendar that transforms into a miniature toy store

Playmobil Christmas Toy Store Advent Calendar, available at Walmart, $24.99

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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