The New Year symbolizes a fresh start and a clean slate. I love the feeling of moving on from the old and starting anew. A blank calendar just brings me so much joy 🙂 Although we aren’t in school on New Years Day, I love to celebrate with my students when they return to school in January. Today I am going to share 10 of my favorite New Year activities for the classroom.
1. Balloon Drop
If you really want to make a big splash in your classroom on students’ first day back from holiday break, set up a balloon drop! Blow up some gold, silver, and black balloons. Place them in a large bag or net. Staple or tape the bag/ net to the top of a wall. Do a countdown to “12 noon” in your classroom. Release the balloons at noon to celebrate the New Year as a class family.
2. Goal Setting in the New Year
Guide students to set personal and/ or academic goals for the upcoming year. Discuss the importance of goals and steps they can take to achieve them. This is a great time to meet with your struggling or more difficult students to start the new year with positive changes. Every student deserves a fresh start!
3. Resolution Writing
Speaking of goal setting, use those New Years resolutions to get your students writing! You can pair students up and have them interview each other about their New Year’s resolutions. Another idea is to have students write about their resolution and create a fun bulletin board display. There are lots of free templates out there for this! Another bonus is that a bulletin display can save as a visual reminder of their goals for the year.
4. Reflection Activities
If you want to have your students focus on goal setting in the New Year, it’s important to have students reflect on the past. Encourage students to remember the good, bad, and ugly from the past year (or semester). Have students reflect on their favorite moments from the previous year. They can create collages, drawings, or written reflections to share with the class.
5. New Years Hats and Festive Supplies
If you are going to have an epic classroom balloon drop, you just have to go all out with the New Years festivities! Grab some New Year party hats, blowers, poppers, etc. as soon as they go on sale on New Year’s Day. Show the replay of the ball drop in Times Square as part of your class balloon drop countdown.
6. New Years Read Aloud
Every teacher loves a good read aloud, and there are some great ones to read around New Years! Here are a few of my favs.
- Squirrels New Years Resolution by Pat Miller
- A to Z Mysteries: New Years Eve Thieves by Ronald Roy
- The Calendar Kids: Meet January by April Martin
7. Word of the Year
Choosing a word of the year isn’t just a thing for adults! Ask students to choose a word that represents their focus or theme for the upcoming year. Create artwork or other presentation to explain why they choose that word.
8. New Year’s Around the World
Explore how different cultures celebrate the New Year. Have students research and present customs and traditions from various countries.
9. Time Capsule
I have always wanted to do a time capsule with my students. How fun would it be to discover one from 10, 15, or even 50 years ago to see what is inside? You could make it simpler by making one for next year’s class. Write a class note, add a class picture, etc. and have students put together a time capsule book!
10. New Year’s Puzzles or Games
If you want a fun and educational way to ease back into the classroom routine, then puzzles and games are just the thing! Incorporate puzzles, word searches, crosswords, etc. with a New Year’s theme. If this sounds right up your alley, I now have a New Years Puzzle pack ready to go! You can find it here.
How do you like to celebrate the new year with your students? I’d love to hear how other teachers celebrate!