GeekMom Holiday Traditions: Sensory Advent Calendar

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All photos by Jackie Reeve.

Last year was my daughter’s first Christmas, so I made her an Advent calendar to match the ones I’d made for my husband and myself the previous year. I followed the exact same tweaked tutorial from The Purl Bee that I used for our calendars.

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But then I had to ask myself, “What in the world do you PUT in an Advent calendar for a baby?” It’s not like I could give an eight-month-old chocolates and small toys. I thought about it a lot, and I decided to put 24 different textures in her calendar.

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She’s always spent so much time hanging out with me in my sewing room, and as an infant I saw the way she loved to play with pieces of yarn, old magazines (she still loves those), and especially cables. There was something about her dad’s stash of USB cables that she just loved.

We really wanted her to explore and figure out all the cool things she could do with her little hands and fingers. So, we thought why not give her a cool new sensory item from around the house for each day? She didn’t play with any of them unsupervised, and she really loved her new treasures. Some of them stuck around with her toys for months into the new year.

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The sensory goodies are, starting from the back left: old wrapping paper, plastic canvas (for cross-stitching), parchment paper, aluminum foil, stiff felt, soft felt, a Post-It pad (Adam had recently discovered how much she loves those), quilt fabric, fat green yarn, Play-Doh, blue tweed from an old skirt, batting, and an old pair of (clean) yellow socks. The front row is pink cardstock, orange tissue paper, a Christmas bow, plastic from a presentation sleeve, a USB cable, blue flannel fabric, red and orange canvas fabric, silver smooth ribbon, green grosgrain ribbon (hidden next to it), brown and white yarn, and a page from her favorite magazine to tear up.

It was a big hit with her, and all I had to pay for was the felt!

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Jackie Reeve is a Core Contributor and former Senior Editor at GeekMom. She's a librarian, a writer, and a quilt designer. She's wife to an Englishman and mom to a little geek girl, and she blogs about life and crafts at The Orange Room. Jackie's obsessed with cardigans and thinks Die Hard is the best Christmas movie there is.