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Five minute fun activities for busy people to do with little kids

Advice + Tips

The Five Minute Elf / Advent

Here we are again! Another December is rolling around and it’s time to put on the big red pants and create the magic!

If you’re new around here then here’s the deal. At Christmas I share a way to do advent that means the kids do some reading, sprinkled with magic. But obviously in a quick, easy, five minute way because who on earth needs MORE things to do at Christmas time?! We have an elf so I do it with him because it makes my life easier, but you DO NOT need an elf to do this.

It started when Ewan was 4 and he was just learning his letters and the sounds they make. I decided that instead of making our elf create havoc (that I then would have to clear up!) I was going to put him to good use, the five minute way. So before he even arrived I worked out a phrase that was 24 letters long. The idea was that the elf would move about the house and bring one letter each day. That was it. Ewan could then have a go at recognising the letter and the sounds it makes thereby sneaking in some daily phonics, and we’d pop it somewhere in the house, gathering up the new letter each day until it spelled out a sentence on Christmas eve.

Here are the phrases you could use. We used the top one. Words in [BRACKETS] mean it’s the whole word, not just the letters. So on the first one TONIGHT is what arrives on Christmas Eve.

  1. F A T H E R C H R I S T M A S I S C O M I N G [TONIGHT]
  2. S A N T A C L A U S I S C O M I N G T O T O W N
  3. F A T H E R C H R I S T M A S S E N D S L O V E
  4. H A V E Y O U B E E N N A U G H T Y O R N I C E?
  5. T I M E T O G O A N D H E L P S A N T A P A C K
  6. F A T H E R C H R I S T M A S S A Y S H E L L O
  7. J I N G L E B E L L S B A T M A N S M E L L S…[WHAT’S NEXT?]
  8. I L O V E C O M I N G T O S T A Y W I T H Y O U
  9. S A N T A C L A U S I S G E T T I N G R E A D Y

The following year I had Ewan (who now knew all his letters and was starting to blend them together to read words) and Florence who was 3 and very interested in knowing all her letters - she always wants to keep up with her big bro! So I did two messages. One was just letters for Flo, and the other was words for Ewan. 24 of each in different colours, spelling out a magical message for both of them on Christmas eve.

Some phrases in words:

  1. THE BEST WAY TO SPREAD CHRISTMAS CHEER IS SINGING LOUD FOR ALL TO HEAR . WHICH CHRISTMAS MOVIE IS THIS FROM? SHALL WE WATCH IT?
  2. THANKS FOR HAVING ME BUT IT IS TIME FOR ME TO HOP ON THE POLAR EXPRESS BACK TO MY FAMILY IN THE NORTH POLE

The next year, I didn’t bother because we were moving house. And quite frankly, if all of this sounds like a massive faff to you and you can’t be arsed then DON’T! Because no-one needs the pressure. I only do this because I find it easier! The elf just moved about and he turned up at our new house before we did (WHAAAT? Actually I picked up the keys the day before the kids arrived so the elf joined me - Ha!) and that was excitement enough! You don’t HAVE to do anything YOU don’t want to. Christmas is magic enough for the kids.

Last year I had two little readers, aged 5 and 7 so the elf once again bought a word a day but it spelled out three funny Christmas jokes which they loved.

When they were 6 and 8 I printed out these cracker jokes (see downloadable PDF below) and the elf brought one a day, because that is lots of lovely reading, giggles and magic! If you want it even easier you can download these off Etsy for a few quid, then print them and DONE.

So that’s it. I prepare the letters or words before 1st December, it never takes me more than a few minutes, then I leave them somewhere out of kid reach in a little stack in the correct order (usually in a cup in a high up kitchen cupboard) So all I need to do once the elf arrives is pick the top one off the stack each night and shove the elf somewhere new with it. Done!

Obviously if you don’t have an elf then you can do it through your advent calendar or any other way you wish. I loved how this one follower used it to help her daughter learn how to read Braille!

Here are the links to previous years with videos and further explanations if you need them! I’ll be sharing on my social media pages as always too.

CHRISTMAS 2021

FMM’S ADVENT (WITH AN ELF IF YOU LIKE!)

As the children have gotten older and are now great little readers (thanks Elf 😉 I’ve decided not to do a message any more. I did think about linking it to some maths and him bringing maths questions which gave numbers which linked to letters like a code, but to be honest I just can’t be arsed, I think it would take longer than five minutes and I don’t really think my kids would be that bothered. They just love that the elf comes at all. So if you’re in the same boat - cheers to that.

Happy advent everyone - send me photos of yours if you like as I LOVE to see them and hear if your little ones enjoy the messages.

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