What do you plan to do with your students when you return from winter break? Whether you are in person, virtual, or both, celebrating the new year is so much fun! I had a “Noon Years” celebration with my students for the first time last year, and it was a blast! I have a free New Years Pack that is going to make planning for your first day back a breeze!
This free New Years pack is something I put together last year to help my littles stay engaged in learning, and celebrate the coming of a the new year.
For a little bit of added fun, I started by decorating the room as a mini classroom transformation. I used black paper on my students desks and adding a few glittery star cut outs on top.
When students came in that morning, I had their New Years crowns on the table ready for them to sit and color. I also had some fun KidzBop songs playing in the background (Celebrate is one of our class favorites).
Just add a sentence strip and let kids color away to n make this fun crown to wear during your celebration!
What’s a good New Years party without some balloons, right? We celebrated with counting down to the “Noon Year” or until noon by popping a balloon at each time on the balloon and completing an activity.
I grabbed a pack of these balloons at Party City for a few dollars, nothing fancy! I just blew them up that morning and taped them to the side of my SmartBoard.
Before we popped a balloon, we practiced counting backward from 20 to 0. The kids loved it!
The first game we played was a Minute to Win it themed activity where students had to highlight the year as quickly as possibly. I gave them one minute on the clock, and thanks to youtube I even added a Minute to Win It theme song music with the countdown.
They used a pencil, crayon, or highlighter to search for the year and circle or color it each time they found it! The timer was added excitement for sure! After the timer went off, we went through and counted how many numbers they found correctly and celebrated our success!
Then we read “Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution” and talked about our resolutions together. After reading, we created a class anchor chart and brainstormed our resolutions together. This has become one of my favorite activities to hear their little minds really thinking about making the year and themselves better. Here’s a look at our chart from 2 years ago!
They come up with some of the sweetest ideas!! I just love it!
After creating our resolutions, it was time to pop another balloon! This time, we pulled out the scissors and glue sticks to complete some patterns. This was a great review for our math thinking after the break, too!
Then, we had another Minute to Win It challenge that involved some team building. I gave each group 10 red solo cups, and they had to create the tallest tower of cups in 1 minute. They worked at their table groups in teams of 4 – 5 students each. This is a challenge I’ll bring back again for the 100th day of school in February, and the kids love it!
This year, for those of you wanting to do something similar with COVID restrictions, I would use the mini red solo cups to give to each child and have them build the highest tower. Or, students could each have their own individual STEM bin with different items inside to build such as Legos, play-doh, blocks, etc.
Last but not least, we practiced counting down the new year right before noon. As we said each number starting from 20, we would trace it. This was another great review of our numbers 0 – 20 after the break.
During our countdown, I made sure to play “The Final Countdown” song in the background and then popped our final balloon! We had such a fun time celebrating the New Year, and starting our first day back with a bang!
This year I will be virtually celebrating New Years with my class, so I plan to do a Digital Escape Room! I like to do an escape room with my whole class and then use break out rooms while sharing my screen on Microsoft Teams. (I’ve been told this works with Zoom or Google Meet as well.)
Students will work in teams of 4 – 5 to solve each challenge. They will work on sorting syllables, unscrambling a number puzzle, sorting resolutions / not resolutions, unscrambling a sentence, create a subtraction equation, and unscrambling sight words. The first team to complete all 6 challenges wins!
Have you tried a digital escape game in your class yet? They are my new fave!