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  Category: Articles » Education & Reference » Teaching » Article

Happy New Year!

By Freda J. Glatt, MS

These New Year activities will help to usher in a brand new year.

January Starts the Year

January, February, March, April, May.
The first five months are A-OK.

June and July, August, September,
How many summers can you remember?

October, November, December's the end,
Any month's a good time to make a new friend.

Fifty-two weeks or twelve months in a year,
As each month ends, a new one is here.

Winter and fall, summer and spring.
These are the seasons that each year brings.

The days in a year come to three hundred sixty-five.
Isn't it great to be alive?

This poem was written by Risa Jordan and is included in "A Poem A Day" by Helen H. Moore, Scholastic, 1997.

It presents an opportunity to teach or review the months in sequential order and for children to discuss the calendar. Why are there twelve months? How did each month get its name? Do other cultures use the same calendar as our's? What are the names of their months? Why are there 365 days in a year? What causes Leap Year? A calendar is a great tool for Social Studies and Science!

New Year Puzzles

January was named after the Roman god, Janus. He was said to have two faces and could look both forward and backward simultaneously. On January 1, we look back on the previous year and ahead to the new one. Solve this FACE puzzle, then, by changing one letter at a time while keeping the letter order the same. Each change will result in a new word until all the original letters have been changed and you can LOOK ahead to a wonderful new year!

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It was considered good luck, in Scotland, if a dark-haired man was the first person to enter the door of your house on New Year's Day. Boy, are you GLAD that your dark-haired uncle just put his FOOT in your door! Solve this puzzle with the same directions as above.

_ _ _ _
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Every New Year's Day, in Pasadena, California, the Tournament of Roses Parade is seen by millions of people. The floats are made entirely of real flowers! Solve the flower riddles below according to this secret code:

1=H 5=A 9=S 13=Y 17=P
2=D 6=W 10=I 14=V
3=O 7=E 11=N 15=L
4=T 8=B 12=U 16=R

What did the big flower say to the little flower? 1 10, 8 12 2!
Why are flowers so lazy? 4 1 7 13 5 16 7 5 15 6 5 13 9 10 11 8 7 2.
Why is a spring garden like your mouth? 8 3 4 1 1 5 14 7 4 12 15 10 17 9.

Create the rest of the code and make up more riddles for your friends and family!

These puzzles and riddles are from Instructor's Big Book of Holiday Puzzles by Diane Hellriegel, Scholastic, 1985.

New Year's Resolutions

1. Have children write 20 realistic New Year's Resolutions and circle six they think are the best. Place a star by the resolutions they think no one else would have thought of! Let them share.

2. Divide your class into small groups and have them write funny New Year's Resolutions they think the principal, teacher, office staff, cafeteria staff, janitorial staff, school bus driver, parents, babysitter, or anyone else they know should make!

These two ideas are adapted from Springboards to Creative Thinking by Patricia Tyler Muncy, The Center for Applied Research in Education, Inc., 1985.

3. Make New Year's smocks for young children and have the children decorate them, around the edges, with crayons, markers, or paint. Write one of their favorite resolutions in the middle and let them wear their smocks proudly!

4. For a bulletin board, outline a large, old-fashioned sleigh on brown butcher paper; write HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ALL OF US! in the middle of it; cut out and staple to the bulletin board. Using 8"-diameter circles of construction paper or the middle of small paper plates, have children draw their faces. They can use yarn for hair, felt for hats or earmuffs, and other odds-and-ends. Staple finished faces, starting at the rim of the sleigh, to give the impression of a crowd of children riding in the sleigh. Along the sides of the sleigh, put up children's resolutions or goals for the new year.

These two ideas are from Macmillan Seasonal Activity Packs, Macmillan Educational Company, 1986.

New Year Recipe

In Holland and other European countries, many people eat something shaped like a ring on New Year's Day in the belief that if brings good luck. A ring symbolizes this case, the circle of the entire year, with month following month. Here is a simple recipe you might want to try.

Pineapple New Year Rings - Makes 20 servings

1. Drain the juice, reserving it, from two 12-oz cans of unsweetened pineapple rings. Place one ring on each plate.
2. Place 1/4 cup of the 2 1/2 pints of cottage cheese in the center of each ring and pour 1-2 TB of the reserved juice over it.
3. Enjoy while talking about the upcoming year!

New Year Game

In keeping with the 'ring' concept, play this circular game to welcome the New Year. Have fun!

Ring on a String - Grades 2-6

Have a string long enough for all players to hold and an inexpensive ring large enough to slide along the string.

Place the ring on the string and tie the ends together. With children sitting or standing in a circle, they should hold the string with their palms down; one child, the 'detective,' stands in the middle. The players in the circle pass the ring from one to the other as the detective tries to decide who is holding it. If he is right, the two players exchange places. If the detective has guessed wrong five times, he sits in the circle and is replaced by the last person he thought had it.
The recipe and game come from Macmillan Seasonal Activity Packs, Macmillan Educational Company, 1986.

To all of our customers, subscribers, and viewers, here's to a Healthy, Happy New Year!!

I hope these ideas are useful and have inspired your own creative thinking!

Answers to Puzzles: FACE, LACE, LACK, LOCK, LOOK; FOOT, FOOD, GOOD, GOAD, GLAD; Hi, Bud! They are always in bed. Both have tulips.
About the Author
Freda J. Glatt, MS, is a retired K-6 teacher. Helping others reinforce reading comprehension through FUNdamental Reading Activities, including games and worksheets, is her new educational goal. Visit her site at

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