Happy New Year!
Activities for toddlers and babies
This theme offers different ways to welcome the New Year with little ones.
With young children, we are often eager to decorate our home and daycare with Santa Claus and Christmas-related decorations. Because of this, babies and toddlers are surrounded by decorations for one, sometimes even two months. I suggest quickly removing all your Christmas decorations shortly after Christmas to make room for different types of celebrations.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Children most likely saw their parents and other family members raise their glass on many occasions to express their wishes for the New Year. Purchase festive drinking glasses and fill them with juice. Show children how they can (gently) clink their glasses together for a toast to the New Year. Pour just a small quantity of juice at a time to avoid important spills.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch, taste, look)
You will need several empty toilet paper rolls. Depending on the ages of the children in your group, fill the empty toilet paper rolls with dry snacks or candy. Wrap the toilet paper rolls with wrapping paper and tie the ends with pretty ribbon to make them look like large candy pieces. At snack time, hand one large "candy piece" to each child and show them how they can pull on the ends to make their snack fall on the table.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Make colourful party hats with your group. Cut strips of construction paper and encourage children to draw on them or decorate them with stickers. You may also provide feathers and colourful felt pieces. Measure each child's head and glue the ends of their strip of construction paper together to create a headband. If you wish, you can glue strips of party streamers behind each child's headband. They will hang down their back and sway as they move around.
Use old CDs to trace and cut two circles out of cardboard for each child. Have children draw on these circles. When they are done, help them glue the circles on either side of a CD. Write "2014" on top and laminate the coasters using adhesive paper. These make a wonderful gift for parents.
You will need construction paper and square felt pieces. Have children paint on a square piece of felt. When they are done, glue each child's felt piece on the top portion of a piece of construction paper. Print a small calendar for each child and have them glue it on the bottom portion of the construction paper. Each child will have his/her own personalized calendar for the New Year.
A gift for someone special
You made several Christmas presents for the parents of the children in your group. Why not give children the chance to prepare a gift for another person they are close to? Prepare a card or gift that children can offer their brother, sister, grandparent, or neighbour to start the year off right. If possible, have parents provide a picture of this person that is so dear to their child. Have children describe the person they wish to give their gift to (depending on their age).
Colourful helium balloons (cause and effect)
Before children arrive in the morning, let a few helium-filled balloons float up to the ceiling. Attach a long piece of string or a ribbon to each balloon so that children will be able to catch them.
Due to the presence of long pieces of string or ribbon, this activity must be supervised. I guarantee that children will enjoy it very much. This activity encourages children to move around. If you wish, you may use different lengths of ribbon or string. Children will have to stretch their arms to catch the balloons with shorter ribbons. They will have fun catching and releasing them over and over again. This will make exploring cause and effect possible.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Depending on the ages of the children in your group, offer a variety of party accessories and dance to the sound of fast-paced music. Scarves, confetti, ribbons, feathers, and balloons can all by manipulated and tossed in the air.
To help children develop their language abilities, introduce a special long-term project. Here are two ideas:
- Include a song period in your daily routine.
- Each day, present a new picture. You can, for example, simply glue tiny illustrations or pictures on the top of frozen juice cans. Show them a new one each day and name the items. After a few weeks, you will have a unique picture game complete with pictures that can easily be manipulated by little hands.
Early childhood educator
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