New Year’s is one of the few holidays that people around the world celebrate ubiquitously. Cultures, traditions, languages, and time zones vary, but the excitement is the same.

The new year is synonymous with change, positivity, new dreams, and goals. 

If you’d like to plan a New Year’s Party for your students, here are a few fun and festive ideas and planning tips to get the celebration going!

Pre-Planning Tips

A few weeks before your party, decide what your party will involve. Typically snacks, a fun craft or two, and a game are enough to fill roughly an hour. Preschool parties should be held at the end of the day when possible. This way, children are well-rested after their nap, and parents are more likely to be able to attend.

Once you’ve decided on your party events and snacks, create a sign-up for parents to donate the necessary items. Donations cut down on costs and encourage parent involvement.

Because children, especially young ones, thrive on routine, alert them to the party in advance and talk about what to expect. Allow your students to ask questions or voice concerns which will help ease any anxieties. 

Day of the Party Tips

Expect the unexpected and be willing to go with the flow. Yes, teaching requires a lot of planning, schedules, and routines, but any experienced teacher knows that the unexpected happens daily.

Be prepared for last-minute changes and have backup activities or plans in case something falls through. 

Allow for extra time. If an activity will take 15 minutes, plan on it to take 20-25 minutes. Avoid overcrowding the party schedule, as that will create anxiety about moving on to the next thing, but have backup plans ready! Something as simple as a holiday storybook or freeze dance game is the perfect way to plug a hole in empty time.

Festive and Fun Ideas

1. New Year Resolution Craft

Use the week leading up to the party to teach children what a resolution is. Of course, we can make resolutions to change or do something all year round, but it is a popular tradition around the new year.

There are numerous ideas for new year’s resolution crafts online and on Pinterest. Once you find one that appeals to you and is developmentally appropriate for the students in your class, you can add any needed supplies to your party request list. 

Resolutions don’t have to be anything significant or big. Something as simple as “I resolve to try a new food” works perfectly!

2. Count Down to “Midnight”

Kids love the excitement of counting down. Countdowns for just about anything will thrill young children, so have a mock countdown to midnight.

You use a smartboard, tablet, or classroom computer to show the countdown clock. If none of those items are available, simply use the classroom clock and indicate to the children where the hands will rest when it’s time to yell, “Happy New Year!”

Provide the children with party hats, confetti, party poppers, noise makers, etc. 

3. Cookie Craft

Cookie crafts are fun and delicious year-round. Use plain sugar cookies, colored frosting, and sprinkles, and allow children to be creative!

The goal isn’t to make perfectly decorated cookies but to allow children to express their creative side. As a bonus, cookie decorating is a fun way to promote fine motor skills and spatial reasoning.