Advent calendars are a great way to add excitement to the countdown to Christmas. Traditionally children usually have chocolate advent calendars, however, if your child doesn't like chocolate or wants something a bit different then there are an increasing amount of non-chocolate advent calendars to buy each year.

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To help you find the best advent calendar for your child we scoured the market to see which advent calendars were on offer and found options for everyone. Advent calendars are not just for children, take a look at our best advent calendars for teens and, if you want one for yourself, we have best advent calendars for adults too.

Best advent calendars for kids at a glance

  • Best advent calendar for book lovers: Usborne Advent Calendar Book Collection, £19.99
  • Best fill your-own advent calendar: Christmas Advent Calendar House, £20
  • Best advent calendar for Christmas LEGO: LEGO CITY Advent Calendar, £21.99
  • Best advent calendar for giving back: Advent of Change Children's Charity Advent Calendar, £17.95
  • Best advent calendar for Pokémon fans: Pokémon Advent Calendar, £30
  • Best advent calendar for baking: Playmobil Christmas Bakery Advent Calendar, £21.99
  • Best advent calendar for crafting: toucanBox The Very Merry Advent Calendar, £35
  • Best advent calendar for Peppa Pig lovers: Peppa Pig's Advent Calendar, £24.99
  • Best sustainable advent calendar: GLT Woodland Christmas Advent Calendar, £45
  • Best advent calendar for LEGO Friends: LEGO Friends Advent Calendar, £21.99
  • Best advent calendar for decoration: Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas Wooden Advent Calendar, £24.99
  • Best advent calendar for nostalgia: Peter Rabbit Advent Calendar, £34.99
  • Best sensory advent calendar: Fidget Toy Advent Calendar, £9.99
  • Best advent calendar for dinosaur lovers: Schleich Dinosaurs Advent Calendar, £29.99
  • Best STEM advent calendar: Ravensburger GravitTrax advent Calendar, £29.99
  • Best advent calendar for stationery: Paperchase The Big Stationery Advent Calendar 2022, £45
  • Best sweet advent calendar: Haribo Sweets Advent Calendar, £5
  • Best advent calendar for budding race-drivers: Hot Wheels Advent Calendar, £18.99
  • Best advent calendar for expanding Elf on the Shelf: Elf on the Shelf Advent Calendar, £31.95
  • Best advent calendar for modelling: Play-Doh Advent Calendar Playset, £19.99

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The best non-chocolate advent calendars for kids for 2022

1. Usborne Advent Calendar Book Collection, £19.99

– Best for book lovers

Usborne Advent Calendar Book Collection being tested

Suitable from: 3+ years

For children who love reading, this advent calendar is ideal. It opens up like a book and inside, behind each door is a wonderful classic story such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Pinocchio and the Nativity.

It's also a lovely thing to do together, each night in the lead up to Christmas you can read the books with your children.

Available from: JoJo Maman Bebe and The Works

2. Christmas Advent Calendar House, £20

– Best fill-your-own

Christmas Advent Calendar House being tested

Suitable from: 0 months (depending on what you fill it with)

With this adorable Christmas house advent calendar you can fill it up yourself with whatever treats you want. It's great for sustainability as it isn't a single-use advent calendar and can be used for many years, filling it up with different things each year.

The house is made of cardboard and features 24 drawers of varying size, awaiting to be filled with magical treats.

Available from: JoJo Maman Bebe

3. LEGO CITY Advent Calendar, £21.99

– Best for Christmas LEGO

LEGO CITY Advent Calendar being tested

Suitable from: 5+ years

LEGO advent calendars are extremely popular and provide your child with more than just a treat each day as they get to enjoy building the contents.

Behind each door you will find minifigures or little festive builds. The advent calendar has a snowy playmat which folds down onto the surface from the box to allow you to create a magic, wintery scene.

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If you have other LEGO sets you can also combine these to create even bigger festive scenes.

If you want a themed LEGO advent calendar then Very has Harry Potter, Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars so there's a LEGO advent calendar to suit everyone.

Available from: Very, LEGO, and Amazon

4. Advent of Change Children's Charity Advent Calendar, £17.95

– Best for giving back

Advent of Change Children's Charity Advent Calendar

Suitable from: 0+ years

Christmas is all about giving, and that includes giving to charity too. The advent of change makes opening each window in the lead up to Christmas such a beautiful and educational experience.

Behind each door you will see which charity you've helped that day, buying this advent calendar equals 24 50p donations to family-friendly charities. It's a really lovely way to teach your child the act of giving and the advent calendar makes it fun too as kids can help Santa find his lost present by searching for decorations which spell something special.

Available from: Advent of Change

5. Pokémon Advent Calendar, £30

– Best for Pokémon fans

Pokémon Advent Calendar being tested

Suitable from: 3+ years

Pokémon fans can collect Pokemon figures each day to battle and play with. Inside the advent calendar you will find 24 holiday themed figures and accessories and all the figures have an exclusive sparkly finish to make them fun and festive.

At the end of the countdown you will have a whole load of Pokémon collectibles to play with all year round.

Available from: Argos and Smyths Toys

6. Playmobil Christmas Bakery Advent Calendar, £21.99

– Best for baking

Playmobil Christmas Bakery Advent Calendar being tested

Suitable from: 3+ years | Awards: Gold – Best Christmas-Themed Toy, MadeforMums Toy Awards 2022

This Playmobil advent calendar is a fabulous combination between play and real life. Similar to the LEGO CITY advent calendar, you can create your own festive scene with the figures behind each door such as a snowman or Santa Clause himself.

But, the best thing about this advent calendar is it also has baking accessories such as cookie cutters to help your children bake festive treats.

Award tester Emma tested this advent calendar with her 6 year old (pictured above) and said, "I like that it has cookie cutter shapes and you can play with it as well as bake cookies. I also liked that Father Christmas delivers presents to the house and that the snowman could even ride the sleigh."

Available from: Boots, Very and Selfridges

7. toucanBox The Very Merry Advent Calendar, £35

– Best for crafting

Toucan Box The Very Merry Advent Calendar being tested

Suitable from: 3+ years

This advent calendar is fantastic for amusing children, especially over the Christmas break when you may be trying to get lots of festive errands done. In each box is something fun for your child to do such as a craft, recipe card, story book or elf challenge.

Some of the crafts included are; making a snowball juggling bear bauble, making snowmen puppets and many more.

It's beautifully laid out in the box with a big bag in the middle including an elf plushie and accessories.

There is so much to be discovered in the box to keep your child occupied.

Available from: toucanBox

8. Peppa Pig's Advent Calendar, £24.99

– Best for Peppa Pig lovers

Peppa Pig's Advent Calendar

Suitable from: 3+ years

Peppa Pig fans out there, this advent calendar is for you. Open up the 24 windows and find a Peppa Pig toy behind each door.

Have fun building a Christmassy scene with all the figures and objects you get throughout the days.

Inside you will find Peppa herself, George and Santa and lots of cute accessories including a Christmas tree.

Available from: Booghe and Amazon

9. GLT Woodland Christmas Advent Calendar, £45

– Best for sustainability

GLT Woodland Christmas Advent Calendar being tested

Suitable from: 3+ years | Awards: Silver – Best Christmas-Themed Toy, MadeforMums Toy Awards 2022

The Great Little Trading Company is a great advent calendar for the more eco-conscious people. It has a lovely wooden reusable Christmas tree with cute woodland and festive themed decorations.

Each piece has a number which matches up with the tree for you to place on during the build up to Christmas.

Child tester Sienna, aged 4 (pictured above) tested this advent calendar and said, "I think it's great because it's cool, it has animals on and I like all the animals. It's good for Christmas. When it's number 24 Santa comes."

Available from: GLTC

10. LEGO Friends Advent Calendar, £21.99

– Best for LEGO Friends

LEGO Friends Advent Calendar

Suitable from: 6+ years

Another LEGO advent calendar but this time it's LEGO Friends and you can celebrate Christmas with Olivia's family. Visit the tasty food stalls you build behind each door.

The same as the other LEGO one, you will get minifigures and objects to build to layout on the festive playmat attached to the advent calendar box.

Available from: LEGO, John Lewis and Amazon

11. Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas Wooden Advent Calendar, £24.99

– Best for decoration

Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas Wooden Advent Calendar being tested

Suitable from: 3+ years

The Melissa & Doug Christmas countdown is a fun way to get excited for Christmas and display in your home as a lovely decoration each year.

The set includes a magnetic wooden tree and 24 magnetic baubles and a star to be placed at the top of the tree. To keep all the baubles safe throughout the month, there is a little wooden box at the bottom of the tree to keep them in before they're put onto the tree.

It looks great and thanks to the baubles being magnetic, it's easy for a child to do it themselves to countdown to Christmas.

Available from: Amazon

12. Peter Rabbit Advent Calendar, £34.99

– Best for nostalgia

Peter Rabbit Advent Calendar being tested

Suitable from: 12+ months

This one might be a bit for adults too, with the nostalgic Peter Rabbit. Behind each door you will find the beloved Beatrix Potter characters from Peter Rabbit to Jemima Puddle-duck. It really is a beautiful advent calendar with figures you can keep and play with all year round.

As you reveal the different characters and items, including a 3D Christmas tree you can create a Christmassy Peter Rabbit scene.

Another bonus is the figures in this advent calendar are made from sustainable wood and the advent calendar itself is 100% recyclable.

Available from: JoJo Maman Bebe and Selfridges

13. Fidget Toy Advent Calendar, £9.99

– Best for sensory

Fidget Toy Advent Calendar being tested

Suitable from: 3+ years

So many kids love fidget toys, whether that's to play with in class (if allowed) or just to build up their collection at home. Fidget toys are especially good for children with sensory needs to help calm them in stressful situations.

Open up each door to reveal a different fidget toy and on the back of the box you will find a bedroom hook which can be cut out and a maze to be completed.

Available from: Home Bargains

14. Schleich Dinosaurs Advent Calendar, £29.99

– Best for dinosaur lovers

Schleich Dinosaurs Advent Calendar being tested

Suitable from: 4+ years

For dinosaur lovers there's this dinosaur figure advent calendar. Open the doors to reveal figures and items to create a Jurassic theme, from a Velocriaptor to a Baby Stegosaurus.

The advent calendar isn't overtly Christmas themed meaning the figures are suitable for all year round and can be added to your dinosaur collection.

Available from: Schleich, Smyths, Selfridges and Booghe

15. Ravensburger GraviTrax Advent Calendar, £29.99

– Best STEM advent calendar

Ravensburger GraviTrax Advent Calendar

Suitable from: 8+ years

To add to your GraviTrax collection, this advent calendar has 24 days of GraviTrax fun from height tiles and tracks to special curves and a spinner to create a marble run of dreams.

You also get 3 holiday-coloured marbles to race down your new track.

We love that this advent calendar is also a STEM toy, helping your child learn and develop during the festive season.

Available from: Amazon and John Lewis

16. Paperchase The Big Stationery Advent Calendar 2022, £45

– Best for stationery

Paperchase The Big Stationery Advent Calendar 2022

Suitable from: 5+ years

Who doesn't love stationery? If you're someone who finds buying their stationery for the new school year the best thing ever then this advent calendar is for you.

First of all the box is so colourful and fun with a gingerbread house design and inside you will find so many goodies including, a £5 voucher for Paperchase, 2023 diary, pens, paperclips, washi tapes and so much more. There is £100 worth of stationery inside.

For some very lucky people there is also the chance to win a £200 Paperchase voucher, all you have to do is be the lucky recipient of a golden pen.

Available from: Paperchase and Amazon

17. Haribo Sweets Advent Calendar, £5

– Best sweet advent calendar

Haribo Sweets Advent Calendar being tested

Suitable from: 4+ years

If you don't like chocolate but still want a sweet treat each morning in December then the Haribo advent calendar is a fantastic option. Each day you get a mini bag of Haribo sweets to enjoy, including Moams, pinballs and of course their gummy bears.

Please note that as Haribo have gelatine in, they're not suitable for vegetarians.

Available from: Asda

18. Hot Wheels Advent Calendar, £18.99

– Best for budding race-drivers

Hot Wheels Advent Calendar

Suitable from: 3+ years

Budding race-drivers can race cars all around a Christmas scene to get in the festive spirit. Hot Wheels' advent calendar has 24 doors of toy-car fun to be revealed including 8 cars and 16 accessories.

Attached to the box you will find the playmat to race your cars.

Available from: Boots, Very and Amazon

19. Elf on the Shelf Advent Calendar, £31.95

– Best for expanding on Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf Advent Calendar

Suitable from: 3+ years

To expand the Elf on the Shelf fun get the Elf on the Shelf advent calendar. The advent calendar is designed as the North Pole Train and inside each box is playable surprises and fun accessories such as miniature Scout Elves and Elf Pets.

With all the little figures collected throughout the month you can create an elf'tastic scene to be enjoyed by all.

Available from: Booghe and Amazon

20. Play-Doh Advent Calendar Playset, £19.99

– Best for modelling

Play-Doh Advent Calendar Playset

Suitable from: 3+ years

The Play-Doh advent calendar is brilliant for giving children something to do each morning. Behind each door is a can of Play-Doh and a modelling tool to help you create your own Play-Doh Wonderland.

There are also playmats and creation cards to help give inspiration and ideas at to what to model

Available from: Boots, Amazon and WHSmith

How did we choose our 10 of the Best?

When testing and selecting the advent calendars for kids we considered, opening experience, what's inside and value.

Our 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.

Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don't just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.

About the author

Chloe is a Digital Reviews Writer and Coordinator for Immediate Media's Parenting team. She researches and writes articles, recommending the best products for parents, ranging from best sleep aids to best playpens. She has a First-Class Honours Psychology degree where she developed a strong interest in child development.

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