Below you'll find fantastic toy-filled options from makers like Disney and Funko POP! to keep your kids, or just the young at heart, occupied all throughout the month of December as you count your way down to the big celebration day.
Whether it's cutesy paper cuts outs in search of a big adventure, or some nightmarishly precious figures to delight your favorite Tim Burton fiend, read on to find our favorite options for the best kid-friendly advent calendars for 2020.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
We're already big fans of Lovepop around here, so we were delighted to open and discover the multi-dimensional, interactive, and downright adorable adventures of pancake the penguin as they unfolded. Each day comes with a new envelope and adventure building activity, character, or accessory that fleshes out the story, and there's even a mystery built in to see if Pancake discovers the secret of the golden key.
As with Lovepop's other lines and pieces, these tiny works of art are delicate but sturdy and fold easily so you can store easily and display year after year once the 25 pieces are fully revealed. Your kids will love rearranging the houses and characters during playtime, and you'll love the thoughtful design that goes into each piece, imbuing it with the kind of whimsy that makes for memorable holidays.
Be sure to check out the company's fantastic ornaments, too, for the full Lovepop Christmas experience.
Related: Read our in-depth look at some of Lovepop's other Halloween and Thanksgiving pieces here.
If there's anything kids love, it's LEGOs and Harry Potter. This combination makes for a perfect storm of magic and merriment in this fun calendar that will keep little hands busy while you're cooking for the whole family.
Plenty of reviews praise the unique toys inside, but there are also many serious LEGO and Harry Potter collectors who provide detailed run-downs of what to expect if you're buying this to supplement pre-existing sets you may own.
If you're a more casual buyer, other more general reviews like this one sound encouraging:
"I love this LEGO Advent Calendar. There's a door for each day of December from the 1st through the 24th. In the past, we used a reusable wooden advent calendar that we put little surprises in for each day of December leading up to Christmas day. Since my daughters love LEGOs, this will be a great addition and makes the countdown to Christmas that much more exciting. "
Tables, trees, figures, and more make for a full ballroom setup that's ready for play by the time you make it through the end of this fun and fancy calendar.
The "Royal Family" you see here comes with plenty of accessories for imaginative role playing that lets kids imagine fanciful scenarios that will keep them entertained during the countdown to Christmas. Parents rave about the quality and cuteness of the set in the reviews, with many saying it's a great motivator for young ones who have trouble getting up in the morning. Just think: Who doesn't want a present each day after the alarm clock goes off?
One particular enthusiast exclaims, "This advent calendar is the best I ever bought for my kids. My preschooler loves it. She plays with it a lot and opening it is the first thing she does every day. It goes well with her other Playmobil figures and stuff but it has a special Christmas feeling."
This calendar is truly the one that keeps on giving with its 24 adorable "littles" chosen from Disney's Animators Collection that features famous characters like Belle, Lilo and Stitch, Rapunzel, the Mad Hatter, and more.
Each toy comes in a perforated cardboard segment of the display box, and little scenes pop up with each figure to provide a full Christmas fun experience. Festive accessories accompany the characters, which means once everything is opened, kids can use all the pieces interactively to play out a fun holiday scene.
Anyone who likes their cute with a little side of creep is sure to become obsessed with this absolutely perfect Burton-ian calendar.
The cute and quirky characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas, the ideal Halloween-meets-Christmas movie, come to life in miniature Funko form, all clocking in under two inches tall. You can be sure to see the main players here like Jack Skellington and his main squeeze Salley, but prepare for surprise visitors as well like the mischievous Oogie Boogie and Dr. Finkelstein. Once they've all made their escape from the box, they'll gladly populate an eerie scene beneath your tree or on the mantle for years to come.