This lovely count down idea checks all the boxes: anticipation, excitement, yumminess, sensory intrigue, education – and it looks beautiful, too! And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, count all the way down to the new year – or any other highly anticipated date!
The idea is to surprise your child each morning with something delicious that grows on trees. Wrap each variety of fruit or nut separately in tissue paper, tie the bundle closed with a ribbon and attach a number tag before hanging from an arrangement of evergreen branches. Makes a beautiful (and suspenseful!) display.
Each morning after your child finds the bundle numbered to match the date, ask her/him to close her/his eyes before unwrapping and use the senses of smell and touch before peeking. Then they’re ready to taste the chewy treat for the final clue as to what it might be!
We recommend keeping your own list of what’s inside each bundle to make sure no mystery goes unsolved :-).
With so many fruit varieties, it’s most cost effective to dry them yourself. You could also team up with friends and buy (unsweetened) dried fruits. Left overs can dress up oatmeal or be baked into all sorts of breads, cookies and puddings.
To dry your own fruit, slice it thinly, arrange in a single layer on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake at 180 degrees for 2-3 hours.
To assemble the advent “fruit tree,” you’ll need:
- 24 squares of food-grade paper
- 10 yards of ribbon or string
- 24 hole-punched tags numbered from 1 to 24 (we used Roman numerals to add another educational element)
- 24 kinds of dried fruit & tree nuts like….
- banana chips
- raspberries (freeze dried)
- macademia nuts