You Won’t Believe How This New Year’s Activity Changed My Students!

new year's activity for kids

After the holiday break kids are often antsy and they need some type of motivation to get back into the swing of things. As a teacher, it’s our job to find fun activities that will keep kids focused and working on skills to improve. I’m sure you have all come back in January to the New Year’s chaos and wished you had something on hand that would ground the students again. You’re in luck! I have a New Year’s Activity students will look forward to after the exciting holiday break. 

New year's activity for kids

Why Do Students Experience a Post-Holiday Slump?

Why exactly do students come back after the holidays acting like they don’t remember the rules and routines? Here are a few reasons they may experience a bit of a slump:

  1. Change in Routine: During the holiday season, children typically enjoy a break from their regular school routines. They have more free time, engage in festive activities, and may travel or spend time with family and friends. Returning to school in January means a significant shift back to a structured routine, which can be challenging for some children.
  2. Excitement and Expectations: The holiday season is a time of heightened excitement, anticipation, and celebrations. Children receive gifts, enjoy special meals, and participate in various festivities. As the holidays come to an end, the return to the everyday school routine can feel less exciting by comparison.
  3. Weather: In many regions, January brings colder, darker, and less enjoyable weather. The transition from holiday fun to facing the winter weather for school can contribute to a post-holiday slump, as children may prefer staying indoors.
  4. Academic Pressure: Depending on the grade level, children may face increased academic expectations in the new year. This can include new lessons, tests, and projects, which may feel daunting after a relaxing break.
  5. Peer and Social Dynamics: Children may experience changes in their social dynamics after the holiday break. Friendships may evolve, and some students may have had different experiences during the holidays, which can affect the classroom atmosphere.

My students always need a pick-me-up to reassure them that the classroom is a fun place to be! I have a few New Year’s Activity ideas that always get them excited and ready for the day.

Add in Some New Year’s Activity Fun

One of the best ways to add some fun to the classroom is by getting a craft ready for the kids. Crafts are such a simple way to get kids focused and build the community. While kids are working on a craft, you can talk to them or they can chit-chat among themselves. This New Year’s Activity includes a craft and a writing piece. 

New year's activity for kids - writing
Try this New Year’s Activity with your kids to get them thinking about their resolutions.

Have students write some of their New Year’s Resolutions on the lined paper. Once they are finished, invite them to decorate their own craft. The craft attaches to the top and bottom of the writing, making it extra cute up on the wall. 

I made things even more fun by creating Retro New Year’s Bulletin Boards! There are three different versions to match all of the unique teacher styles out there. The bright colors and exciting imagery make for exciting learning with your kiddos.

New Year's Activity Bright Retro Board
Students will love this New Year’s Activity Bulletin Board in bright colors!
New Year's Activity Muted Retro Board
Kids will love this New Year’s Activity Bulletin Board in muted colors!
New Year's Activity REd Retro Board
Your kids will love this New Year’s Activity Bulletin Board in red!

Recognize Even the Small Achievements

Recognize and celebrate even the smallest achievements of your students. Whether it’s mastering a new math concept or reading a challenging book, acknowledgment, and praise can go a long way in boosting their motivation.

Display achievements on a New Year’s Bulletin Board for the month of January. The kids will be proud to look up to their hard work and share with loved ones when they visit the room. It gives the kids something to aspire to as they add their moments to the board. 

New year's activity bulletin board
This Happy New Year Bulletin board is a cute way to add to your classroom community.

Build on Goal Setting Throughout the Year

To motivate your students even more, try having them create monthly goals. Show them how SMART Goals can help them reach their goals faster. These are great for the New Year or for the whole school year. 

The included bulletin board is a great focal point to foster positivity in the classroom. The kids will see the achievements of others and their own personal goals being met. A community is always full of positivity, so spread it around your room like crazy. 

New year's activity bulletin for kids
Try this SMART Goal Setting New Year’s Bulletin Board

A combination of these ideas and resources helped tremendously with student transition after the holidays. I find that having a purpose for their work always motivates them more and excites them for each day!

Try Some FREE Goal Setting Resources

If you want to set some goals for yourself, as a teacher, try these FREE Goal setting printouts. Plan your lessons with less stress and make small goals instead of climbing mountains. 

New year's activity for teachers
These goal-setting resources are perfect for teachers who need a New Year’s Activity.

Proudly display student work using adorable Amazing Work Coming Soon Posters! These will brighten the room and provide a placeholder for work that isn’t ready yet. These resources can be found in the Free Resource Library by entering your name and email address below. 

New year's activity for kids - freebie place holders
Kids will love this New Year’s Activity of adding more work to the wall!

Remember that you are an adult that these kids see each and every day. Be a positive light in their lives. Teach them to make and achieve goals (no matter how big or small). Use goal-setting tools and the New Year’s Activity mentioned above to give them the right trajectory! 

Be sure to download your FREEBIES and follow me on Instagram for more helpful teacher tips and useful resources! Happy New Year!

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Stephanie Nash

I have been helping teachers organize, develop routines, and create inviting & beautiful classrooms since 2012!

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