New Year’s Activities for K-12 Students

new years activites

As the year comes to a close, many teachers and faculty start planning parties to celebrate. Keep reading for some New Year’s activities for students. 

1. Learn About the History of New Year’s Celebrations 

Students of all ages can have fun learning about the history of their favorite traditions and the holiday. You can devote a whole class period to giving this information or share it with students while they work on another New Year’s activity, like a craft or reflection. Students can go home and relay fun facts to their friends and family. Teaching about something students interact with every year can be a great way to engage students in lessons and learning. 

New Year’s celebrations go back to Babylon almost 4,000 years ago. The ancient Babylonians used a different calendar than most cultures, so their New Year started around March and celebrated the wheat harvest. Their festival lasted for 11 days and included a different religious ritual for each one. 

Celebrations switched to January much later in ancient Rome. Julius Caesar invented a new calendar that followed the seasons in a way that was the same each year by adding 90 days. While he added some new months, he kept the months’ names from the old calendar, including Januarius. 

Along with his other changes, Caesar also decided to make the first day of Januarius the start of the year because older Romans had named this month after Janus, a god with two heads. With each head looking in different directions, Caesar decided it would be symbolic for this month to begin the year since Janus would face the past and the future. 

Your history lesson can be an excellent time to discuss other New Year’s traditions in different cultures, past and present. For example, the ancient Egyptians marked the start of the year when the Nile River flooded. In modern times, many people celebrate Chinese New Year, which takes place on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice. You can open discussion with your class, asking them to share their traditions or other New Year’s customs they know about. 

make new year's resolutions

2. Make New Year’s Resolutions 

New Year’s resolutions are longstanding traditions people use to celebrate and spark change and growth. You can get students in the holiday cheer by asking them to come up with some resolutions during your class party. Resolutions are appropriate for every age group, from kindergarteners to seniors getting ready to graduate.

Younger students might have less direction with resolutions, but they can be great for driving growth and improvement with middle school and high school students. When preparing resolution activities for high school students, you might ask them to find one area in their personal, social and academic life where they would like to improve. These resolutions can be great stepping stones for SMART goals. 

Additionally, you can seal their resolutions in an envelope and deliver them back to students before summer break. They can remind themselves of their resolutions and reflect on their progress. 

If you want to make a more structured activity that focuses on resolutions, improvement, and reflection, consider making a worksheet for students to fill out and ask them to record the following: 

  • Their favorite memories from the year
  • Something they’re grateful for
  • Lessons they learned
  • Places they want to go in the new year
  • Improvements and goals
  • Something they’re looking forward to
  • Something they want to try

For younger students, you can get them excited about New Year’s resolutions by asking them to create some for their favorite book, movie, or TV characters. 

3. Drop the Ball 

The New York City ball drop is an iconic part of New Year’s celebrations. Many students stay up each year to watch it drop while they celebrate with their friends and family. You can recreate this moment in the classroom with the drop the ball craft and activity. 

In this activity, your students must build a pulley to lower a styrofoam ball. You can accomplish this by attaching your ball to a ribbon, wrapping the ribbon around a spool, and moving it with a dowel or chopstick. The simplicity of the craft makes it perfect for younger students, allowing them to practice following directions and problem-solving. They can also spend time decorating their ball to make it more festive. 

If you want to implement this game with older kids, you can give them fewer directions and encourage them to find a solution with random supplies. Raise the stakes by splitting them into teams and making it a competition for the most creative solution or quickest team. Students can have fun working together and use their creativity to figure out how to drop their New Year’s ball. 

4. Play New Year’s Games 

New Year’s parties are great for students to unwind from schoolwork and socialize with friends and classmates. Offering games can help create a fun environment where they can relax and enjoy their time before winter break. Some New Year’s games include: 

  • Scavenger hunts: When decorating your classroom, you can hide specific images within your decorations to make a New Year’s themed scavenger hunt. For example, you might ask your students to find party glasses, a New Year’s ball, the year numbers, or other iconic imagery. For a social twist, you might ask students to search for others who have done certain things during the year, like visiting another state. 
  • Word search or scrambles: Word searches and scrambles are great New Year’s activities for elementary students learning to spell. You can ask them to find words associated with New Year’s celebrations or fun things that happened during the year. These activities can increase in difficulty for older students. 
  • Clock craft: Students can get excited about staying up until midnight with this clock craft activity. Like word searches, this activity is ideal for younger students to help them learn how to tell time. With this craft, you’ll make a clock from a paper plate, a paper fastener, and some paper arrows. Students can use markers, stickers, and other craft materials to decorate their clocks. 

New Year’s games are an excellent way for teachers and faculty to get students excited about the new year while promoting creativity and socialization in classrooms. 

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Resolve to Streamline Your Accounting Processes This New Year With MIP® 

While students are working on their New Year’s resolutions, schools can also implement new habits and goals to grow with the coming year. MIP Fund Accounting® can help you improve your accounting and financial processes with our accounting solution. 

Our comprehensive platform handles several essential accounting processes, from tracking and reporting to budget forecasting and payroll management. With several compliance and security features, you can protect your school’s financial information. 

MIP® designs our platforms for their industry, so you can have a more customized experience. With scalable features, the solution can grow with your school for the continued support that matches your applications. Our experience with K-12 schools helped us create a platform that meets your school’s unique needs. 

Request a demo today and discover how MIP Fund Accounting® can help your school manage its finances this year.

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