With a Montessori background, I have helped children to learn about cultures by using both Geography Continent Boxes, as well as Cultural Literary Boxes filled with unique souvenirs and other relevant cultural items from around the world. This is an old style of teaching using an interactive, visual, and hands-on approach. I thought it would be a great idea to use this approach as a fun, family New Year’s Eve countdown in the form of Multi-cultural Activity Boxes celebrating different countries and provinces at the hour that they bring in their new year!
With younger children, I thought it may be a good idea to begin your multicultural activity boxes early on in the evening. You should have a toy clock on display in order to turn the hands to the appropriate times.
Your Activity Box contents can include, but are not limited to (all relative to the country being celebrated): trivia questions, costume ideas, small souvenirs, pictures of the landscape, animals, food and recipes, sport ideas and traditional games and festivities, holidays celebrations, and craft ideas and supplies.
Since Athens, Greece brings in their New Year at 5pm our time, this would be a good Multicultural Activity Box to begin with.
At 5pm, your family opens the ‘Greece Activity Box’ together. Since the Olympic Games originated in Greece, I think it would be fun to have some fun family outdoor ‘mock’ Olympic Games. But, before your family heads to the great outdoors, gather round to check out the Activity Box surprises. The Activity Box could include pictures of Greece, trivia questions, small souvenirs from Greece, animals that live in Greece (i.e. ocean animals, sheep). Also, be sure to have a costume ‘tickle trunk’ with Greek costume ideas, and, lastly, a recipe for a fun Greek snack (i.e. souvlaki and Greek salad). You could also include a craft idea (i.e. laurel or olive wreath or crowns), torches, and so on.
The 6pm Multicultural Activity Box is Germany. For this box, a craft idea could be a ‘school sack’ (popular in Germany) which is a piece of paper rolled into a cone and stuffed with treats for children to enjoy. Also, children could read popular folk tales (i.e. The Frog Prince) which originated in Germany. Or, perhaps you can make a windmill or a paper bag lantern to carry outside to the medieval castle made of snow! You can purchase molds to make a castle out of snow (Chapters Book Store carries them).
The 7pm Multicultural Activity Box is England. For this Activity Box, have Christmas Crackers on hand for fun. Also, include a recipe for English Trifles to make for a snack with your children. Don’t forget a spot of tea! How about playing a little game of indoor hopscotch (originated in England) or play a game of outdoor ‘football’ (as the English call it), which is ‘soccer’ to us in Canada. You can also include costumes of queens and kings, and sit down to a tea party together.
The 8pm Multicultural Activity Box is Cape Verde (which is an archipelago off the coast of West Africa). Therefore, you can include African items in your Activity Box (i.e. jungle animals, photos of the Nile River, Atlantic ocean animals). You can make African masks with your child for a fun craft, and have an African parade with animal costumes (i.e. lion), play hide-and-seek safari animals, play animal charades, or even have an outdoor campfire with African drums. Get creative! An African snack could be ‘Fruit Kabobs’ with tropical fruit. You could also offer a sand table indoors to represent the desert and have ‘sand play’ time as a sensory experience!
The 9pm Multicultural Activity Box is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is famous for its Samba Carnival. If you click on the link below, you can find lots of great craft ideas (i.e. tissue paper bright flowers), costume ideas for a fun Samba Parade with Samba dancing and Brazilian songs. You could even focus on having a Brazilian rainforest theme, and serve and exotic fruit juice punch prepared by you and your children, and served in fancy glasses!
The 10pm-11:30pm Multicultural Activity Box will focus solely on Canadian provinces which bring in the New Year a little earlier than we do here in Ontario. The two provinces that bring in the New Year at these earlier times are Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Some ideas for your Activity Box could be: Games such as ‘go fish’ (card game); a suggestion to play a ‘good ole outdoor hockey game’ or use an air hockey table, a fishing pond indoors (with a water table and magnet fish and fishing pole for prizes like noisemakers or glow sticks), building blocks/lego to design and build lighthouses (or use recycled objects like toilet paper roles with a light inside), supplies to make boats/ships with Styrofoam trays and a Maritime flag attached (see if they float!), pictures and souvenirs representing the Maritimes, and, ocean animals to go inside your water tray. You can even add some bubbles to make it extra special fun and celebratory! If you play Maritime music in the background, you will enhance the mood!
11:30-12 midnight is a North American celebration, and watching the ball drop in New York (on T.V) is lots of fun! Although, you may have to watch the T.V. version with your children to ensure it is family-friendly, and that you can turn it off if necessary! If you want a great New Year’s craft, you can make noisemakers with plastic cups taped together (with rice inside), or you can make party hats, or fireworks (made on dark construction paper with lots of glitter!) Other party favours include noise-makers, confetti, glow sticks or sparklers (on New Year’s Eve cupcakes which the children can decorate!) Before the New Year comes, sit down with your family and create a goal list for the year ahead. Save your goals in a time capsule and compare them at next year’s celebration! If you do not care to watch the Big Apple drop on T.V., why not have your very own balloon drop from a net attached to your ceiling when the New Year rolls in? You may also choose to hang a piñata from an outdoor lighted tree and bring in the New Year with a bang…..and lots of candy! Don’t forget your sparkling or hot apple cider too!
The above ideas are only suggestions. You can make this New Year’s Eve a memorable one with your own creative and family input too! The sky is the limit when coming up with family-fun and unique ideas for your party. Whatever you plan is sure to bring smiles and sparkling eyes to the faces of your little ones. These are the types of family memories which are sure to last a lifetime!
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM MOMSTOWN!