Celebrating New Year’s Eve with children is a lot of fun. For the youngest children, it may also be exciting at times. Older children already know the concept of time, last year, and the new year—a fun time to be naturally engaged with each other and the Dutch language.
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New Year’s Eve craft toddlers and preschoolers

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How do you make New Year’s Eve fun for toddlers and preschoolers? Crafting is something most kids love, and it takes relatively little time and money.

Crafts with toddlers

Turn a toilet roll into a beautiful fire arrow. Covering the roll with pretty glitter paper (or aluminum foil) provides the base. You can make a roof on it: cut out a circle, cut into the middle, glue it back on slightly overlapping so that you get a pointy hat. With colored ribbons, you can make a tail, and the rocket is ready! If you make several of these fire arrows together, you can make a mobile. That way, the fireworks really hang in the air.

Needed:

  • toilet rolls
  • glitter paper or aluminum foil
  • colored paper
  • colored ribbons
  • glue
  • scissors

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Count

With New Year’s Eve, we count down—a fun way to learn to count backward from 10 to 1 with your toddler or preschooler.

Cut out the numbers from the coloring page your toddler colored. Stick them just like on a clock on pretty paper or cardboard. From another piece of cardboard, cut two clock hands (1 short and 1 long) and attach them to the center of the clock with a cotter pin. You can make the clock completely in your child’s style.

You can do many fun things with the concept of time and clocks. Check out Juf Janneke’s website for ideas.

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Moving around

Singing, dancing, and fooling around together is always fun. Make your own playlist, and also try to imitate a flare or other fireworks. Watch SchoolTV with your child.
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Read aloud about New Year’s Eve

Fun books for young children:

  • Kikker en het Nieuwjaar. Frog and the New Year. Frog and his friends Hare, Bear, Duck, and Rat go by sled to Piglet’s annual New Year’s dinner. But Piglet has fallen down. Can the party go on now? Around age 4. Please also see YouTube.
  • Gelukkig Nieuwjaar, Mijntje! Happy New Year, Miffy! Miffy and Nina invite their friends to celebrate New Year. Picture book with color photographs of scenes with puppets from the television series. For ages 2.5 and up. Please see YouTube.

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To stay up or not to stay up on New Year’s Eve?

What is wise on New Year’s Eve: letting your child stay up longer, waking them up, or letting them sleep? Read the different views on the Ouders van Nu website.

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Games New Year’s Eve: with older children

  • Board games are always fun and involve a lot of language. You can choose the games so that everyone, young and old, can join in. Some suggestions:
  • Monopoly: Be strategic with your purchases and build hotels as quickly as possible so that you become insanely rich and put all your friends out of business.
  • Twister: This game puts your agility to the test. From the moment you literally tangle with your opponent, laughter is guaranteed!
  • Other games and activities, old and new:
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1. The game of true-false resolutions

Each participant writes three resolutions on a piece of paper. 2 of the 3 are real resolutions, and one is false. The other players must distinguish the good resolutions from the false ones and delete one. A variation on this game is to throw one or more resolutions into a jar where everyone has to guess who the resolution comes from.

Another possibility is to turn it into a mime. Write on a sheet of paper as many good intentions as possible. Make teams. In the first round, one player has his team members guess as many good intentions as possible based on a description. In the second round, by one word, and in the last round, by mime.

2. New Year’s Eve: stay and get rid of it

Take a moment to think about 2023. Provide note sheets and pens. Every one may write per sheet what may stay and what may “go” in 2023. You can read it aloud to each other, but you don’t have to. Make a fire inside or outside and bandage the things that may disappear for the new year.

3. The weck jar filled with appreciation.

You can prepare this for a whole year, but you can also do it on New Year’s Eve. During the year, or Dec. 31, put a large weck jar or other pretty vase or bowl in the living room. Next to it, put a pen and a stack of note sheets.

If you think of something you want to remember, if you have reached a milestone, or if you want to say something sweet to a family member, write it on the bill and put it in the weck jar.

At a time in the evening before noon, you may take turns taking a leaf from the weck jar and reading it aloud. That way, you can start 2024 full of gratitude.

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Traditions celebrating New Year’s Eve: 9 Dutch traditions

  1. Countdown
  2. New Year’s wish: ‘Happy New Year!
  3. Fireworks
  4. Oliebollen
  5. Toasting the new year with champagne
  6. Carbide shooting
  7. Going through the year during the New Year’s Eve conference
  8. New Year’s Dive on Jan. 1
  9. Going to a New Year’s Eve party

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Concluding with New Year’s Eve 2023-2024 and children

On behalf of the team of Dutch for Children: We wish you all a very beautiful, healthy, and educational 2024!

Wendy van Dalen
director of Dutch for Children.