DIY $2 Advent Calendar

Are you still thinking of a way to present the countdown activities from Play Your Way to Christmas?  

I was too, until I went shopping at my favorite store…Dollar Tree.  I saw these signs in the holiday section.

I first thought that maybe I could paint over top of it, but then I turned it over.  I realized the back would be perfect.

I took one more quick trip down the craft aisle to find these cute little clothespins.

I took them home, glued 24 tiny clothespins on the back of the sled sign.  In hindsight, I should have folded up the activity card papers first to space out the pins a little more. 

I then added just a little acrylic paint to finish off the sign.

I copied the activity cards from the book, cut them apart, folded them, and clipped them in order on my new advent calendar. 

How are you going to present the activities to your children?  If my kiddos had not already tried all the activities, I think I would just give it to our elves to present every morning.  I wanted to create an element of suspense, so I think this advent calendar is the perfect solution.  And cost $2.00!

Wanting more information about Play Your Way to Christmas?  Go here!

Want to give the gift of PLAY?

Did you know that you can gift a copy of the 

Play Your Way to Christmas ebook?

The process is just slightly different from when you purchase your own copy directly from the site.  

If you want to purchase one for a friend or a teacher, you just need to know their email address!

Then go to this form to complete the information.  

What will happen?

1. You will complete the form including a special message to the giftee.
2. You will receive a PayPal invoice for the cost of the eBook ($10.00).
2. Once you pay, you will receive an email confirmation.  Your giftee's eBook will be on the way!  The giftee will receive an email with download instructions and your special message.  

Want to purchase a copy for yourself?

You can do that by clicking the button below!

Turkey Invitation

Last night, I shared this play dough invitation with you all on Facebook Live!

You can see the video on the Branch & Blossom Atelier Facebook page.

Here's the invitation: 

Invite your children to form a turkey out of the play dough.  You can find my favorite play dough recipe here.  

If you have a dice, or a play group block (make your own dice, I wrote numerals on mine) have the child roll it to see how many feathers to put into their turkey.  Use the popsicle sticks as feathers.  

This encourages numeral recognition and counting using one-to-one correspondence.

You can extend this activity by writing letters on the bottoms of the popsicle sticks.  When a child chooses a stick, he needs to tell you the letter name.  Older children can tell you the sound the letter makes.  If they get it right, they get to keep the feather and put it into their turkey.

If your child is in preschool, you may want to right only the letters of his/her name on the sticks.  Challenge your child to put them in order.

Younger children can sort the popsicle sticks by color.  They will build fine motor strength by pushing the sticks into the play dough.  

Helpful Hint:

If you are planning on doing the Play Your Way to Christmas countdown activities, you can save this play dough in a ziplock bag.  When you get to Day 19, take it out and put a few drops of green food coloring in!  It will be perfect!

My Go-To Playdough Recipe

Looking for a play dough recipe that lasts a long time?

I have the perfect one for you!  

I have been meaning to write this post for quite a while now.  I posted this recipe on my Instagram stories a few months ago. I tried to save it to my highlights, but the last half of the video was deleted.

Well, the last half of the video is pretty important!

A few weeks ago, my daughter's teacher messaged me in a playdough crisis.  She had followed all the instructions...until the video cut off.

So the part that was missing from the have to cook it on medium heat!  I felt terrible.  We had a good laugh, and she tried again the next day.  And then I vowed to write this post!

Here is the video in FULL:


Combine the following into a large pot: 
2 Cups flour
1 Cup salt
2 Cups water
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
Couple drops of food coloring

Stir all together and heat on medium heat.  
Stir continuously until the dough starts to form a ball. 
Once it forms a ball, scoop it out of the pot onto a cutting board and let it cool a little.
When it is cool enough to touch, knead the dough.


You can store this dough in a large gallon size ziplock bag.  Try to remove as much air as possible.  It will keep for a very long time!  Just depends how many dirty hands play with it :)


You can add in different spices for different seasons!  When my daughter's teacher finally was able to get her hands on the correct recipe...she added pumpkin spice to her dough.  It does smell amazing!  Remember that the color of spice will affect the color of the dough.  You may need to add a 1/2 Tablespoon more oil also.

Play Your Way to Christmas eBook is now available!

Want to make memories this Christmas?

Childhood is a beautiful time, and Christmas during childhood is even more beautiful! Take a break from the hustle and bustle and sit down to play.  

This eBook takes the guesswork out of planning engaging and meaningful activities for your children this Christmas season!  These pretend play and sensory activities are great for ALL children!

What is included?

I have planned 24 kid-tested (my children had a blast) activities.  You will start on December 1st and complete an activity a day until Christmas!

You will receive activity cards that you can print to share with your children.

You will receive a complete list of materials. Most of the materials can be purchased from the dollar store or can be gathered from your own home.

Each day has complete instructions on how to set up the activity and how to play.  There are 72 pages in this eBook!  You will see photos of my children testing each activity.


The activities in this eBook coordinate with some of my favorite Christmas children's books.  You do NOT have to have these books in order to enjoy these activities.  If you want to watch me read these books, go to this page.


Frequently Asked Questions:

What’s the return policy?
Since you can’t really send back a digital download, I don’t accept refunds.

How will I receive this eBook?

Once you complete the purchase, you will receive a link to download the file through the email registered with your PayPal.  The PDF file can be read on any computer, phone or tablet. If you’re an Apple user, save the file to your Books app for easy access anytime. The system is set to allow you to download this 50 times (if you're like me you forget to save it the first few times you open it).  I suggest saving it to your computer or to your Books app on your smartphone or tablet.

I would love to purchase this as a gift for a friend.  Can I do that?
Yes!  The process is just a little different.  Go here to get started.  You are such a great friend!  Spread the love for play!

I want to hear from you!

Once you purchase the eBook and begin the activities, I would LOVE for you to post to Facebook or Instagram using the hashtags #branchandblossomatelier and #playyourwaytochristmas

Thank you!

I am so honored that you would make Branch and Blossom Atelier a part of your Christmas celebrations this year!  Have a very Merry Christmas!  Let's PLAY YOUR WAY TO CHRISTMAS!