Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Resolutions and the New Year

Sure it's the 2nd week in January, but it's not too late to celebrate the New Year with your preschooler.  It's a time to teach your kids about starting fresh, making promises, and....counting backwards!

My son's preschool class talked about resolutions (making promises) in the New Year.  It was something they could work on to be a better person.  First though, they had to make a face:
  1. Give your child a flesh colored square.  Use a crayon or marker to round the edges, then help them to cut on the lines.  
  2. Next, they glue on a triangle party hat.  My son chose orange because it's his favorite color!  If your child is able (or you want them to have the cutting practice) allow them to cut the triangle shape.  
  3. Once the hat is glued, they can draw their face.  Talk to them about 2 eyes, 1 nose, and a mouth.  Help them with the placement if necessary.  It's important at this age that they begin to understand facial features and their placement.  Give them a mirror to view their own face.  But most important...don't push!  Sure you want them to have two eyes, instead of 3, but we learn through our mistakes...or maybe your child simply wants to be an alien that day.  It's OK to have creative license.  They won't draw themselves that way forever!  
  4. Write a resolution.  Talk about promises and how a resolution is a promise we make to ourselves to be a better person.  It's OK to give examples: help mommy, be nice to sibling, pick up toys, etc.  Then, have them tell you their resolution.  Write it on a piece of paper that can be attached to the party hat.  If they don't know, let it be.  As you can see, my son has no resolution.  He said, "I don't want to talk about it right now."  Okie dokie.    
  5. If you want. let them staple a blower to their character.  Our teacher added them when she hung them on the wall, but if you are doing this at home, your child can help you.  
  6. Hang it for them to see.  This way you can remind them of their promise.  Sure, they are still going to fight clean-up time, but it's about the learning process....and being a broken record...which lets face it, is what you have to do with preschoolers.  
The Big Countdown
 Kids love to countdown, especially if you have a cool ending like, "blast off!"  Why not celebrate the new year with a special, messy, countdown?  I assure you, your kids will ask to do this all month long!  

  1. If you are in a classroom**, hand 10 children a number (1-10), then call their number (beginning with 10) so they can line-up.  
  2. Give the kids on the carpet noise makers.  When the class shouts "Happy New Year" it's their job to make as much noise as possible.  Assure those in the number line that you will do it again so they have a chance to make noise too.   
  3. Call out each number, beginning with 10, and have the child holding the corresponding number hold it up (best they can).  This will be a slow countdown, but just go with it.
  4. When you reach 1, the kids can shout, "Happy New Year" and you (and any parent helpers) throw confetti (chunks of paper are easier to clean-up then hole punches).  Yes, I know, but the kids will love it!  
  5. Repeat, shifting the kids on the floor with the number holders.  
**If you are at home, you hold the number cards, flashing each number as your child(ren) call them out.
Of course, afterwards, have a clean-up contest.  Maybe the "winner" lines up first????  Often, simple encouragement is enough.  I use, "Wow!  Look at Jonny go!  And Susan, you are so fast!"  

Additional Ideas:
  1. Use the New Year theme to talk about noises.  Quiet noises and loud noises.  Try the New Years count down in quiet voices and see what happens.  Use musical instruments to make soft and loud sounds.  Play quiet and loud music and talk about the differences.  
  2. Make a Bubble Wrap Noise Maker
  3. Make an Easy Noise Maker (from plastic cups, beads, and tape)
  4. Read a good book (or many!)

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