Are you looking for a way to quickly teach your preschooler about New Year’s, its traditions, and what it actually means? In this New Year’s Mini Preschool Unit, your child will begin learning about some of the traditions and meanings behind New Year’s celebrations!
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I don’t know about you, but I never really think about New Year’s until maybe December 30th.
It can be a tricky thing to explain to our kids for a number of reasons.
First of all, time is completely abstract, which is really what the celebration is all about. Secondly, the big deal comes at midnight, when they’re (God willing!) sound asleep.
But there are many traditions and pieces to the holiday that we can use to teach our kids about what New Year’s Day actually is and why it is celebrated.
I invite you to use this mini unit to help your kids learn about New Year’s!
New Year’s Preschool Unit Time Table
This unit is designed to take about a week to complete. This light and easy mini unit is great to use between Christmas and New Year’s, or it can be used into the new year.
New Year’s Preschool Unit Objective
- The children will have exposure to some of the New Year’s traditions.
New Year’s Preschool Unit Song
Oral recitation, beginning reading skills
Each day, begin with this song, “Ring the Bells.” It goes to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
Point to the words as you sing the song, so your child can begin to pick up on the idea of one-to-one correspondence with the words we say and the words we read.
Ring ring ring the bells
Ring them loud and clear
Let’s tell everyone around
That the New Year is here!
New Year’s Preschool Unit Books
For any unit, I begin with what I have at home. I’m lucky enough to still have a lot of my classroom books from teaching kindergarten, first and second grades. I’ll also pull books from the library for units, as well.
Here are some great New Year’s books!
New Year’s Preschool Unit Activities
New Year’s Sensory Bin
Develop imaginative play, explore content ideas, hand-eye coordination, spatial reasoning
Bin, sparkly pipe cleaners, pom poms, number pieces, and other shiny, festive items
Set any necessary boundaries or rules.
My sensory bin rule is a simple one: Keep everything in the box!
Allow your child to play and explore with the pieces you added to the sensory bin.
There are many variations of a New Year’s Sensory Bin! Check out some other ideas here!
Practice number identification, number placement, counting backwards, cutting and gluing
Free printable that you can find here!
Practice counting backwards from ten to zero. Help your child to cut out and glue the numbers in the correct spots on this countdown. When finished, count backwards and point to the numbers.
No printer? No problem! You can easily create this on your own by just hand drawing the countdown, and cutting out squares with the numbers written on them!
Introduction to calendar, number identification,
Your current wall calendar, and one for the new year
Show your child the wall calendar. Explain that each square represents one day. Explain that when we get to the end of December, we need a new calendar. Invite your child to help you to take down the old calendar and put the new one up! Point out the current day’s square, as well as tomorrow’s.
Use a great children’s wall calendar like this one to hang in your child’s room! They can color it before hanging it up, or color as each new month approaches!
Hand-eye coordination, sensory experience, exposure to New Year’s traditions
Paper, toilet paper rolls, paint, smock paper plates
Ahead of time, cut slits halfway up toilet paper rolls. Fan out the slits. Model for your child how they can stamp the toilet paper roll into paint, and then onto paper, making it look like fireworks. Here’s a great visual for this activity!
Exposure to the months of the year, oral recitation, pronouncing the names of the months
Teach this simple song to your child. Sing it each day for a few days, and then whenever you turn the page on the calendar. Ask your child which month will come next. Have them use the song to help them answer.
New Year’s Playlist
Exposure to music frequently heard around the New Year
Phone, tv, or other means to stream Spotify
Play this New Year’s playlist titled, “Happy New Year – Songs for Kids” while your child is working on an activity or playing in the New Year’s sensory bin. Tell them that these are New Year’s songs.
Noise Maker Craft
Fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, beginning writing skills
The Crafty Chicks have full directions over here. Have your child color and decorate the backs of two plates. I would use hot glue to secure a popsicle stick as a handle. Staple or hot glue the plates together. Fill them with the pasta or rice before you completely seal the noise maker.
Explain to your child that people will make a lot of noise at midnight, when the new year begins!
This New Years Preschool Unit is a fun and exciting way to begin teaching your child about New Year’s and all of its traditions! Through singing, playing, number work and crafting, your child will experience New Year’s!
I’d love to know: What are some of your favorite New Year’s traditions you do with your children?