Summer is rolling into autumn and before we know it, the festive season will be upon us. Maybe you’ve even started to think about the kids' Christmas presents and how you'll all decorate the tree this year – but whatever you do, don’t forget about their advent calendars! The anticipation and build-up to the special visit from Santa is almost as magic as the big day itself, and opening a new window and getting a treat as you count down the days just adds to the magic.
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Kids advent calendars have come a long way since the cardboard versions which only revealed a picture that they had back when we were kids. These days you can get Lego kits, Disney books and Kinder Surprise eggs. We’ve gathered the best together and there’s something for everyone, whether you’re after something for a toddler who’s crazy about cars or a mini Star Wars fanatic. The more popular advent calendars for children often sell out – so it's a good idea to get in there and order them early.
Best boys and girls advent calendars for all ages
Ages: suitable for all ages
This children's advent calendar was quick to sell out last year, so don't wait too long if you want to snap one up for your little Disney fans at home. There’s an individually-wrapped storybook to open each day featuring the beloved Franchise’s classic characters, including Mickey, Woody, Belle, Olaf and more taking part in page after page of Christmas adventures. There’s also a storybook children's advent calendar exclusively about Frozen up for grabs.
Disney storybook advent calendar, £12, Amazon
Ages: suitable for all ages
Here's another great children's advent calendar for mini bookworms! There are 24 mini books to discover from the Mr Men and Little Miss series, with festive and faitytale themes.
Mr Men Little Miss advent calendar, £14.79, Amazon
Best advent calendars for boys & girls aged 3+
Fans of the famous pig will love this kids advent calendar. There's a new toy for each day of December which they can add to the snowy scene backdrop the calendar opens out into.
Peppa Pig advent calendar, £20, Selfridges
Got a little car enthusiast in the family? John Lewis’ city vehicles children's advent calendar will help them speed into the festive season with a four-wheeled toy treat each day – including everything from police cars to double-decker buses.
City vehicles and accessories advent calendar, £24, John Lewis
Mini fashionistas will love this one. There's a limited edition L.O.L. doll - Tricksta BB - and 24 fabulous fashion outfits to unbox every day of December, including snazzy dresses, glam accessories and cute shoes.
L.O.L Surprise advent calendar, £27.42, Amazon
Little ones can count down to Christmas with Marshall, Chase, Skye and all the rest of the plucky pups. There are 24 Paw Patrol collectibles to discover, including their favourite pups dressed up for the festive season, a sleigh, presents, play pieces and more in this cute children's advent calendar.
Paw Patrol advent calendar, £23.80, Amazon
Elsa and Anna fans can count down to Christmas with this Frozen 2 themed jewellery kids advent calendar. There are 24 surprises, including a necklace and a bracelet with charms and pendants featuring the sisters and the rest of the Frozen characters.
Frozen 2 jewellery advent calendar, 13.95, Amazon
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Currently available on pre-order, Kinder Surprise’s egg-shaped children's advent calendar is one of the most popular chocolate options around. In 24 exciting days, little ones will open 11 Kinder Surprise Eggs 16 Kinder Chocolate Happy treats and five hollow chocolate figures. A delicious countdown to the big day!
Kinder egg surprise and friends, £25.15, Amazon
Another kids advent calendar for little animal fans - this one differs from Playmobile's offering, however, as the animals are all very lifelike. There are 24 surprises from the farm, including a pig, horse, goat and cat - and even a teddy bear.
Schleich farm world advent calendar, 24.99, Amazon
This tasty children's advent calendar brings together Haribo favourites and seasonal mini bags and themed jellies. Look out for Santa’s boot, a red-hatted reindeer and gold star topped Christmas tree!
Haribo advent calendar, £9.99, Amazon
If you want a children's advent calendar to get them creative, look no further than Play-doh's offering. It includes a playmat, 24 surprises and five cans of Play Doh modeling compound featuring 2 special festive sparkle cans.
Play-Doh advent calendar, £15.95, Amazon
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On the first day of December, doll fans open a door to reveal Barbie in a shimmering bodysuit. For the next 23 days there's a new accessory each day, whether it's clothes, shoes, jewellery, purses, hair accessories - including a snazzy pink hair extension - or a pet to keep Barbie company.
Barbie Christmas advent calendar, £27.73, Amazon
Best advent calendars for boys & girls aged 4+
Old McDonald can eat his heart out – this cute kids advent calendar is a dream for farm fans, with 84 pieces in total behind the 24 doors including piggies, cows, a hutch for the rabbits, chickens, a farmer to sow the seeds… Might not be very Chrismassy, but there’s hours of animal fun to be had.
Playmobile farmyard advent calendar, £25, Selfridges
This Pokemon advent calendar will make it very easy to catch 'em all. There are 24 toys, including 16 two inch figures of all the Pokemon faves - Pikachu, Evie and Jigglypuff to name a few - as well as six themed accessories. This children's advent calendar ships in October, but pre-order now to avoid disappointment.
Pokemon holiday advent calendar, £34.99, Amazon
Best advent calendars for boys & girls aged 5+
You get more for your money with this one – there are a total of 50 surprises to discover behind the 24 windows including 10 Hatchimals collectibles, 12 accessories, five paper crafts, five bows, five nests, four tiny presents and four sticker sheets.
Hachimals CollEGGtibles advent calendar, £22.89, Amazon
Best advent calendars for boys & girls aged 6+
This toy-a-day kids advent calendar gives Harry Potter fans a magical build up to Christmas – it includes 24 mini builds of all the main characters and objects kids will recognise from the movies. By the time every door is open, they’ll have everything they need to recreate a magical Yule Ball at Hogwarts.
Lego Harry Potter advent calendar, £24.99, Amazon
The ultimate kids advent calendar for the superhero fans! There are 24 Funko Pocket Pop figures from the Marvel universe, including Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk. Funko also has calendars themed around Harry Potter, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Fortnite if Marvel’s not your little one’s thing.
Funko Marvel advent Calendar, £34.99, Amazon
If you have a jedi in training at home, then definitely snap up Lego’s 2020 Star Wars kids advent calendar – it has a habit of selling out. There’s a new figure or mini build each day – and a Lego first, Darth Vader wearing a Christmas jumper!
Lego Star Wars advent calendar, £24.99, Amazon
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WATCH: Sneek peek at the 2020 Harry Potter Lego advent calendar
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