How to Make a Christmas Fitness Countdown Calendar With Your Kids

Is your December calendar packed with Christmas planning and preparations, but not much time for play with your kids?

Do your kids love counting down to Christmas all month long?

In this article, I’ll show you how—with minimal supplies and investment—you and your kids can create a holiday countdown calendar that will bring the family together, get everyone active and build excitement for the big day.

Learn how to create a holiday countdown calendar that will bring the family together, get everyone active and build excitement for the big day.

Why Create a Christmas Fitness Countdown Calendar?

A Christmas fitness countdown calendar will help you get up, get active and have some quick family fun every day this holiday season.

We’re always looking for ways to boost kid’s excitement for the holidays without adding too much stress to ours. The problem is most holiday activities are costly, time-consuming or don’t encourage family interaction. How many Christmas movie marathons do we really need?

The Christmas fitness countdown calendar is a fun, healthy, holiday-themed project that will get the whole family involved and excited for the holidays.

It’s an Advent calendar with a lot less chocolate and a lot more family activities.

It’s also a great way to combat seasonal stress and keep cooped-up kids from going stir crazy during their holiday break.

You may hesitate to add another task to your already-overloaded December to-do list. A Google search of “Christmas stress” generates 109 million results in less than a second, so you’re definitely not alone.


Christmas can make people crazy, yo! Exercise can help.

A majority of those sites recommend that you do some physical exercise as a way to combat the effects of stress. And that’s where the Christmas fitness countdown calendar can help.

It’s an inexpensive, easy way to connect with the entire family this holiday season. You can create it together in as little as 30 minutes and enjoy the benefit of 25 planned fun physical activities to do with your kids throughout the month.

countdown calendar

Let the kids help plan fun activities to do together every day.

It’s a great way to stay active and excited about the holidays and to burn off some of those holiday treats.

What You Need

  • Poster board
  • Construction paper cut into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) wide strips. (You can also use ribbon)
  • Markers, crayons or other writing utensils
  • Glue sticks
  • Scrap paper

Prep Time

5 minutes to collect the needed materials, including the kids

Activity Time

20-30 minutes, depending on how crafty your calendar is and how long you and the kids take to decide what activities to include on the calendar

Location

Use a table or area in the house that can be cleaned easily in the event the gluing gets a bit sticky

#1: Prep It

Collect the poster board, construction paper (or ribbon) and a pair of scissors. Cut the construction paper into narrow strips. You’ll need to cut at least 10 strips of paper to make a 4-week calendar.

Add a title. It’s simple to write in with markers. You can also create a fun, festive title out of paper with the aid of a Cricut or a skilled hand on the scissors. Titles with alliteration are not necessary, but encouraged.

Lay out the poster board, strips of paper and letters for the title.

design layout

Do this before gluing. We glued down the strips creating 6-day weeks. Oops!

Don’t glue it yet. Experiment with the design. Space it out. Trace out the design you want. Try it in portrait or landscape orientation. Sketch your title lightly in pencil if you’ll be writing it. Get a feel for what it will look like. Be sure you have everything laid out and ready before you glue.

#2: Paste It

Once you’ve finalized the design and made sure everything fits, you can start to glue. Begin at the top and work your way down.

Position and paste the title first (or go over your sketches with markers). The size of the calendar squares can be adjusted.

gluing it

Cut your strips longer than the paper and trim the excess after gluing.

Second, glue the horizontal lines of the calendar. There are only 4 or 5. This makes it easier to fix if you make a mistake.

Now, paste the vertical lines creating each individual day of the week. Remember if you mess up with glue stick you have approximately one minute to pull it up before it’s stuck.

Lastly, add any bling, bedazzlement, ribbon or pretty Pinterest ideas to accentuate the calendar.

When you finished beautifying your calendar, let it dry. Take this time to plan out the activities.

#3: Plan, Pen, Post It

Brainstorm with the kids about fun physical activities your family can do. Jot them down on a piece of paper. Be sure to include everyone’s ideas.

Take turns and pick which activities you’ll include on your calendar. The dogs even made it onto our calendar!

planning your activities

Strategic planning session.

Increase the excitement by correlating the activity to the date’s numerical value. On December 1, do 1 minute of jumping jacks. The next day, schedule 2 laps biking around the pond. On December 3, dance to at least 3 songs. 20 minutes of Flag Tag on December 20. And so on through December 25.

When setting the dates, be sure to coordinate with your existing schedule. Make sure to plan shorter activities on busier days.

Types of activities to include:

Plan special holiday activities on the days leading up to Christmas or when you’ll have family visiting for the big celebration. Sledding, a visit to the ice rink, a snowball fight or Santa’s sleigh ride are great ways to really pump up the excitement.

Santa’s Sleigh Ride Necessities:

  • Scooter/skateboard/wagon
  • Bike helmet for the rider
  • Rope
  • Optional: Santa hat for rider, reindeer antlers for puller
  • 2 people: 1 puller, 1 rider

It’s time to fill in the dates. Check your “real” calendar to put the dates on the correct days of the week.

add your dates

Pencil in the dates so the kids can just trace with a marker.

Next, write in the activities. Let the kids go nuts. Encourage them to include artwork. Have them really make it their own.

drawing on calendar

Our calendar included pictures of jumping jacks, people on stilts and dancing aliens.

Find a spot to hang your calendar. The fridge. The door. The wall. Keep it easily accessible and visible to everyone.

post calendar

Post it where everyone will see it every day.

Let’s play!

#4: Play It

Let the fun times roll. The 30 minutes of planning creates hours of fun and activity for the whole family.

dancing

Dance parties…

Dancing is great exercise. Check out this video to learn some dance moves.

superman roll

Superman rolls…

Superman rolls are hardcore fun, so get rolling!

zombie tag

and Zombie Tag…oh my!

There are many ways to play tag. Zombie tag and Mummy tag are some creepy favorites.

The countdown calendar removes the guesswork. Gather the family, check the calendar and get moving.

Conversation starters

  • What was your favorite part about making the calendar?
  • Why did you pick this activity?
  • What activity are you looking forward to the most?
  • Feel your heart. Is it beating fast or slow? What does that mean? You’re exercising.
  • Why is it important for us to be active every day? Be healthy, stay healthy.
  • How do you feel after exercise?
  • What other activities do you want to do for exercise?
  • What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?

Some Final Thoughts

The Christmas fitness countdown calendar is a great way to get the entire family connected and active and to relieve holiday stress. You can create a calendar like this for any major event: birthdays, Valentine’s day, last day of school, etc. Increase anticipation and excitement for your next celebration by creating a fun, themed countdown calendar.

What do you think? What types of activities will your family put on the calendar? Please share what active adventures your family is doing this holiday season. Share photos of your calendar. I’d love to hear from you and see what you create.

All photos are courtesy of Kristine Couchman.

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About the Author, Jon Kidwell

Jon Kidwell is the founder of Finding Fit, a company focused on empowering people to lose weight and maintain healthy lifestyles. Learn more at www.jonkidwell.com. Other posts by »


  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks, Jon!
    What a great way to take a break from all the Christmas craziness (and eating!) and establish good habits.

  • http://www.jonkidwell.com/ Jon Kidwell

    Thanks Jennifer!

    Everyone at MKA does such a FANTASTIC job. I am glad to help in anyway I can.

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    Great idea, Jon! I put together our advent calendar and I looked ahead at days we’d be super busy. Those are the days I selected a quick, physical activity we could all do as a family (like a round of freeze-tag or jumping jacks). Great way to mix-up the traditional advent calendar!

  • http://www.jonkidwell.com/ Jon Kidwell

    KJ, that is an awesome idea.

  • Angel

    What a wonderful, planned out concept! Thank you for including my Santa hat tutorial in your thoughtful post!

  • http://www.jonkidwell.com/ Jon Kidwell

    Thanks Angel. My pleasure. It’s always fun to include costumes or dress up to ramp up the festiveness.

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