New Year’s Eve Craft Fun
Shakers: Purchase several strong cardboard paper bowls or small plates. Encourage your kids to decorate the plates with an assortment of art materials (felt and paper scraps, newspaper and magazine clippings, and so on). Write "Happy New Year!" on the outside of each plate or bowl. To assemble your noisemakers, place a handful of dried beans on a plate or bowl, and cover it with another plate or bowl, then staple shut. Now your child will have a homemade noisemaker.
Time-Capsule Noise Maker: Make a shaker, as described above, and hide a time capsule inside. Have your child draw a picture of the family, answer questions about themselves, and include dreams or goals for the New Year. Tuck the paper inside the noisemaker before you staple the plates shut. On New Year's Eve, let the children shake some noise into the midnight hour. Then, store the noisemakers away (for at least five years) and bring them out to enjoy in the future.
Rattles: Use two clear plastic cups and invite children to make rattles by placing a handful of dried beans, rice, clean fish tank gravel, shiny pennies, or colorful beads inside one glass. Place the other glass on top, then tape the two cups together (rim to rim) with colorful plastic tape. For decoration, you can also use this tape to make stripes around the rattle.
Recycling the Holiday Tree
Why not make a "New Year's Tree" with your holiday tree? Recycle the old and bring in the new! As a family, take off your holiday ornaments but leave the lights on your tree. Collect odds and ends—such as paper horns, party hats, ribbons, bows, and wrapped candy with ribbons (on higher branches, far from inquisitive toddlers)—and help your children make New Year's ornaments for the tree. This great project breathes new life into your holiday tree.
The Resolution Box
Decorate a shoebox with colorful paper, scrap material, and so on. Explain what a "resolution" is to your children and have them (or help them) write down their new resolutions for the coming year. Then, have your children sign and date their resolutions. Add a photo of your child to the box and include some party items like a hat, horn, or confetti. You can also add the front page of your New Year's Eve or New Year's Day newspaper. Other fun items to include are baseball cards, a list of goals, a lock of hair, and the movie section of your local paper. Store these boxes and make this a tradition each year.
Write a New Year's Letter
Imagine getting a letter written by you, only many years ago! Here's a fun way for kids to record their thoughts and revisit their past. To start, give your child some fancy paper and pen to write a letter that answers a variety of questions about the future (for example: What will you be doing ten years from now? Where will you be living?) Don't forget to add facts about the present, like favorite subjects in school, favorite music, and so on.
Next add some predictions about the future (such as what kind of cars people will be driving, what clothes might look like, and what new inventions will be available).
Seal these letters and have an adult place them in a special hiding place. (This fun project can make a lovely high school graduation gift in the future.)
The Final Countdown
Spend New Year's Eve decorating your house with streamers, balloons, Happy New Year's banners, and even sprinkle confetti on your floors. As the hours pass, gather your family together and collect all of your clocks in one spot. Set the alarms for midnight and wait for them all to strike. (You can set clocks for an hour or two earlier if you'd like younger children to join in the fun!)