2021 is right around the corner. For children, the New Year is a magical time to dress up, watch fireworks, eat snacks, and play with balloons, sparkles, and confetti.
Most young children may not understand that the New Year is a time to discover newfound hope for the future. As parents, how can we celebrate the New Year with our children and encourage their growth as individuals?
Here at Sugar Mill Montessori, we believe Montessori-inspired activities have the potential to turn into lifelong New Year’s traditions your children will enjoy into adulthood.
It’s time to ring in 2021, Montessori style!
Clean & Organize the House
There’s something about cleaning, decluttering, and reorganizing that gives us a fresh perspective on life. What better time for that than at the start of the New Year?
Cleaning and doing chores is a common Montessori activity. Encouraging our children to take care of their environment teaches them about practical life and inspires them to become responsible and helpful individuals. We incorporate cleaning and helping in the Montessori classroom, and parents can also set out to encourage these practices more at home in the New Year.
In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, involve your children in cleaning the house, removing clutter, and performing other household tasks. Take the time to explain why it’s good to clean and organize not just before the New Year, but all year round. Show your young child how to do certain tasks, and then step back and watch with positive reinforcement.
You can even set a New Year’s resolution for the entire family to all help out and do their part. Create a weekly chore chart and designate different tasks to your kids, spouse, and other family members. By involving everyone in your household, you’ll help to promote your child’s sense of community and responsibility.
Hour-by-Hour Countdown to the New Year
Most people begin celebrating New Year’s Eve once the sun sets, but why not make it an all-day celebration for the entire family?
An hour-by-hour countdown is one way you can teach your children about why we celebrate the New Year. On sheets of paper, write down a series of questions and put them in a jar. Every hour throughout the day and leading up to midnight, have your child pull out a slip of paper and read out the question, and start a conversation.
Here are some examples of questions and conversation starters you can write out for the hour-by-hour countdown:
- What were you most grateful for this year?
- What is something you would like to learn about in the New Year?
- When someone is sad or angry, what can you do to help them?
- If you could change one habit, what would it be?
- How can you help others this year?
You can also write out activities for the family to do every hour, such as:
- Call a friend or relative
- Practical life activities (cleaning, taking out the trash, doing the dishes, etc.)
- Family yoga
- Make a family snack
- Water the plants
Overall, an hour-by-hour countdown is a productive way to keep our children stimulated and encourage them to learn in the home environment. Completing an hour-by-hour countdown is also something that can become a family pastime or a New Year’s tradition for years to come.
Games & Science Activities
Wondering which games to play with your children on New Year’s Eve? There are plenty of Montessori-inspired activities that can promote your child’s memory retention, science skills, and more.
Building a DIY pulley system, mixing baking soda and vinegar, and watching a pencil bend in water are excellent science experiments for kids to do on New Year’s Eve instead of traditional board games and cards.
Help your child develop their observational skills by playing mystery bags. This classic game involves filling bags with various contents and having children guess what they think is inside.
Put a creative spin on your child’s favorite puzzle. Have them pick up the pieces from one room and then piece the puzzle together in another room. This will help them practice their working memory and encourage them to use their gross and fine motor skills.
Happy New Year from Sugar Mill Montessori!
2020 has been a challenging year for many of us, but there is a lot we can do to celebrate the New Year with our children and set out to have a year full of learning, growth, and gratitude.
From everyone here at Sugar Mill Montessori, we want to wish you and your family a Happy New Year!