Best 2021 advent calendars for kids

We can see why advent calendars have become a holiday staple: Surprises are fun and so are treats. A huge part of the holiday season is simply the excitement from the Christmas countdown. Kids love counting down the days until Christmas and there may be no better way to highlight the holiday buildup than an advent calendar. Little ones can prep for their holiday haul with a tiny gift each day until the 25th. They open a numbered door and find a little something inside. 

Advent calendars of yore (OK, of the ’80s and ’90s) used to hold candy, if they held any sort of prizes, but these days, toys and trinkets are common filler. Characters like Mario and Harry Potter are sure to charm, but there’s also a science-themed set and one set in a barn. Cars, horses and trains — we’ve got all the angles covered. 2021’s best kids’ advent calendars are on this list, but some of these will go fast, so get your order in before the December countdown begins.


Lego advent calendars are always popular, but we think this year’s Marvel Avengers version will be extra hot. Best for ages 7 and up, this Lego advent calendar set features 24 gifts composed of 298 Lego pieces. Kids will love the seven included mini-figures or lego friends (spoiler alert: they are Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Thor, Captain Marvel, Thanos and Nick Fury) and accessories. Other popular Lego advent calendar themes include Star Wars and Lego Friends, and a Harry Potter advent calendar.


Two trends combine in this cool advent calendar. Funko Pop figurines are popular collectibles and the wizards of Hogwarts are still going strong. 24 Harry Potter vinyl Pocket Pops (mini Funko Pop figurines) are included here, creating quite the menagerie. Kids will love discovering Harry, Hermione, Ron and the other magical characters and creatures. 


Sensory toys aren’t just for stress — kids are all about these trendy gizmos. Pop-its, squishies, tubes, koosh-y balls, fidget spinners and all kinds of doo-dads are tucked away behind the little doors of this fun advent calendar.

Uncommon Goods

Hape’s famous wooden train set is now a sweet advent calendar! This holiday season little ones ages three and up will delight in opening a piece of Grand Station each day until the set is complete. Railway tracks, wooden trains, figures (including Santa) and other holiday-themed pieces are included in this brand-new advent calendar. Bonus: The outside of the box unfolds to complete a winter scene.


Little scientists will love counting down to Santa with daily STEM activities. Twenty-four little boxes contain materials (with the exception of some common household materials) for projects and experiments. The Crazy Scientist advent calendar is recommended for ages 8 and up, but younger kids who are interested in science can partake with some help. Bonus: The empty boxes come together after Christmas to form a board game.


This sturdy wood advent calendar doesn’t come with toys, you fill the 24 little drawers yourself. It may be a little extra work, but this colorful gingerbread house could be the start of a DIY advent calendar family tradition. Just add notes, chocolate, tiny toys, ornaments, or any other itty bitty holiday trinkets.


Kids who love cars will be thrilled to open this year’s Hot Wheels advent calendar. There are 24 little doors, but only eight have Hot Wheels cars behind them. Other surprises include holiday accessories including a sled, snowman and ramp. Bonus: The box folds out into a North Pole race track. For ages 3 and older.


Kids who are into imaginative play will love this royal advent calendar. Hidden behind each door is one of 24 Playmobil figures and pieces that combine to create a royal picnic. The detailed toy set will last far beyond the holiday season, making this advent calendar a great value. Playmobil also makes a Back to the Future 3 advent calendar and a Christmas manger advent calendar, among other toy advent calendar holiday offerings. For ages 4 and up.


Mario and Luigi have never been hotter. So this Super Mario advent calendar hits the mark this holiday season. Pop open the little doors and discover 17 video game-themed action figures, plus seven colorful accessories. Kids ages 3 and up can place each prize around the cardboard scene as they gear up for Christmas.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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