Did your family make a happy joy jar for the year? These are jars filled with ticket stubs, bits of paper from events, photos printed from activities, etc. Then, on New Year’s Eve, the family takes some time to look at all the fun that happened in the year.
We’re still not really good about remembering to write down and pop in reminders but we’re getting better. Each year it’s so much fun to look back on what we’ve done. For a whole month, Great-Grandma came in the summer and every day it seemed we did something special. There’s a bit of baby fabric tucked in for the new baby cousin that arrived in late November. Even though we all had birthdays to remember, only one candle is in the jar. Great-Grandma and Little Sister have birthdays on the same day. Having her here was extra special. The candle does help each of us though remember our birthday.
A favorite adventure in the summer is the Fairy Garden display. The photo shows what it looked like, but to capture the magic of the event we need the words. This same wonderful Gardens and Nature at the College also has a winter display of lights in the woods. My favorite is the rainbow flowers made with recycled plastic bottles. We didn’t need our umbrellas for that this year, although we did remember a couple of camping trips where we had to stay home because of the rain. Big Sister and I included the picture of a rug hooking craft we finally finished. It took over a year and we are grateful it’s done.
Making a happy or joy jar is so easy to do. All you need is a big jar and a space on a shelf. It helps to have the jar right out where it’s easy to see and use. Whenever something happens that’s exciting or eventful, pop in a reminder like a note or a drawing. Keep adding to the jar all year long. On New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, take out the jar and experience that wonderful time all over again. Kids can draw pictures of whatever it is and, if needed, adults can write down the words.
These jars help strengthen the bonds we share as a family. The memories give the young hearts a sense of belonging. This year maybe we’ll add something new—some wishes for the new year coming up. Perhaps another name for this New Year’s Eve Happy Joy Jar could be Roots and Wings?
Staying up for fireworks can be hard for kids—and adults. Instead, kids can enjoy this paint fireworks craft in all their favorite colors before bedtime.
Besides paint, use a couple of toilet paper rolls. Because the rolls are harder to cut than thin paper, adult hands need to do the scissor part. Cut many narrow strips about a third to half way up a toilet paper roll. Carefully spread them out like a fan or flower. Pour a small amount of paint into a fairly large plastic paint or lid. We used several tin pie plates. The colors will get mixed up but separate dishes keeps them from getting too muddy.
Kids can dip the toilet paper roll into the paint, and then stamp it on a sheet of paper. They can dip back into the same color or try a different one. The strips make thin lines that look like starburst fireworks. If you are feeling brave, add even more sparkle with glitter. If the glitter doesn’t stick to the paint, wait until it’s dry and kids can spread on some glue then sprinkle on the bling. For glitter projects, it’s a good idea to have the vacuum handy and ready to go. Dish brushes, pipe cleaners, and even forks can also be used to make lines like fireworks. Toilet paper rolls are so easy and don’t need to get washed.
Little Sister finished off a paint fireworks craft and then just wanted to paint. For this, she used a brush, another piece of paper and the same dishes of paint. Once done, the dishes had to get washed. With a sinkful of warm water, she created magic potions using the brush and leftover paint. The water did turn quite brown eventually, but she was able to explore mixing different combinations first. It was a sort of magic to watch the colors change.
While adults have champagne for New Year’s Eve, kids can have their own bubbly with some baking soda and vinegar that absolutely fizzes with fun! Just make sure you don’t get any glasses mixed up! Thank you to Liam and his mom at Little Bins for Little Hands for this sparkling idea and inspiration.
Supplies needed for this are basic ones that you have in your kitchen. You will need one plastic bowl with baking soda and a small spoon for each child, as well as another plastic bowl of vinegar with a ladle or small measuring spoon. The fun can be set up on the floor or on the counter, maybe with some old towels spread out first, and a rectangle cake pan or low container for overflow. Plastic wine goblets are a little easier for stirring and mixing than plastic champagne flutes, but either will work. We just happened to have a package of wine ones. A little food coloring added to the vinegar will look more like wine or champagne. Play clothes are well advised for this activity.
First, put the glasses into the cake pan or container, with the bowls of soda and vinegar close by. To make the bubbly, kids put a big spoon of baking soda in each glass, then they carefully pour in the vinegar. Eyes grow big and there may even be squeals of delight when the vinegar bubbles and fizzes up and up. Of course, the goal soon becomes to get the solution in the glass to come right over the top.
We used soda pop for this. (Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Soft drinks are also carbonated.) Count out a few raisins. For some dancing fun, kids can drop a few raisins into a glass of fizzy liquid. What do they do? The bubbles float the raisins up, then pop and the raisins sink down. Then they float back up! Big Sister decided since this was like science that she would use the big test tube in her science kit but it also works in a glass.
Kids love to explore and create. Isn’t it amazing how this science activity is so appropriate for New Year’s Eve?
New Year’s Eve is coming with more holiday excitement! While noisemakers are traditional, did you know for kids they stimulate all kinds of brain connections? To welcome in the new year, kids can make their own. There are many different ideas for noise makers, but small objects such as beans and dried peas can be … Continue reading Make Some Noise for New Year’s with a Homemade Noisemaker→
New Year’s Eve noisemakers are more than fun; they also help celebrate some early learning and kindergarten readiness. Shaking, tapping, drumming and other actions are ways that kids can explore and play with both noise and rhythm. Did you know that rhythm is important for brain development? The brain connections formed through rhythmic activities help … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – New Year’s Eve Fun and Learning→
I just watched an incredible TED video on when learning begins. The whole topic of children and learning has important implications regarding readiness for kindergarten. While the video did not have any direct suggestions for how to maximize learning to enhance kindergarten readiness I loved something that Annie Murphy Paul stated, “Learning is one of life’s most … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Happy New Learning Year→
Today is New Year’s Eve. Even if some members of the family are going to bed before midnight–around here that’s usually me and somebody has to wake me up for midnight!–here are some ideas for homemade noise…er, I mean, music makers. Music and rhythm develop children’s brains for lots of later skills. Music isn’t just for … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – New Year’s Eve→