Do you stay up late on New Year’s Eve to see the new year roll in? This is a holiday tradition that my night owl kids and I have kept, although Daddy refuses to stay up that late! We love to turn on the television as the final countdown begins and watch the sparkle ball drop in Times Square.
Ringing in the New Year, Homeschool Style
The homeschool mom in me always wants to enrich the holiday celebration, so I’ve come up with a list of some fun things we do to commemorate the start of the new year.
- Make your own “sparkle ball” with leftover Christmas tinsel and a balloon. Write the new year on a slip of paper, roll loosely and insert in the deflated balloon. Inflate the balloon and write the current year on the outside of the balloon with permanent marker. Tie a tinsel streamer on the balloon, and hang it in the center of the room. At midnight, pop the balloon, and the new year appears!
- Make confetti eggs. Save egg shells until you have a few for each child by cracking them near the top, leaving most of the shell intact. Wash thoroughly and store until New Year’s. Kids can decorate them with markers, then fill with a generous pinch of confetti (empty that hole-puncher that’s bulging at the seams). Glue a small scrap of leftover wrapping or tissue paper over the opening. At midnight, crack or smash the eggs! Messy, yes. But, you can always vacuum tomorrow.
- Have a movie marathon. We love old classics, and time-travel movies are fun for the New Year’s theme. Time it so the movie will be over just in time for the midnight countdown. Don’t forget the popcorn!
- Make a pizza bar–use tandoori bread, whole wheat pita, or mini pizza crusts and set out bowls of toppings like mozzarella and cheddar cheese, tomato sauce, sliced veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, tomato, and mushrooms, and have everyone build his own pizza.
- Or, make a taco/nacho bar with taco shells, tortillas, or tortilla chips, grilled veggies, grated cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, warm black beans, chopped avocado, and taco sauce or salsa. My kids love to build their own taco creations.
- Have a family slumber party—pull out the sleeping bags and camp out in the living room for the midnight countdown.
- Take advantage of your kids’ pent up energy and un-decorate the Christmas tree. See if you can have everything off the tree and ready to pack away before midnight!
- Make a “Top” list for the old year. For 2021, we are writing our “Top 20 Family Memories from 2020.”
- Talk about resolutions and have someone write a list of family goals that everyone contributes to. Save these to read next year.
- Have a party hat contest. Kids can use leftover/recycled Christmas bows and ribbons, stickers, and construction paper to decorate a folded newspaper hat. Choose winners in various categories so nobody is left out: silliest, most colorful, most festive, biggest, most creative…
- Display a world map and note when the new year rolls in in different countries. Explain the different time zones. Research how different cultures celebrate the holiday.
- Change over the calendar and talk about the months of the year with younger kids. Look at how many days each month has, and sing a “months of the year” song. Remember the calendar cat commercial? “January, cha-cha-cha-cha-cha…February, cha-cha-cha-cha-cha…”
- Read some books about time, days, seasons, and years: Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward and Tomie dePaola, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, Frog and Toad All Year (I Can Read Level 2) by Arnold Lobel, A Busy Year by Leo Lionni, and The Year At Maple Hill Farm by Alice and Martin Provensen.
- Take a new year’s photo of the kids to remember this moment–they grow up so fast!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!