At the end of the year, having a few new year activities for preschool (or any age) isn’t always on your mind, but it can be fun to come up with a creative New Years theme for therapy lesson planning while building skills. These New Year Activities are great for preschool but they can also be adapted to meet any age level. For example, our New Year’s Eve Countdown Chain works on handwriting skills for older children and provides a take home end product for the countdown into the New Year. You can adapt it to use with any age!
Preschool activities for preschool
Can you believe that a new year is already here? Ring in the New Year with these fun activities that will build some important skills while also celebrating the positivity that comes with the New Year holiday!
Use these activities as part of your therapy plans in the school or the clinic as they are great for either setting.
There are fun ideas for kids to work on gross motor, fine motor, visual motor, and sensory skills as you get them grasping, pinching, squeezing, blowing, creating, drawing, writing, moving, and, well celebrating.
That’s right! All of these actions are included with the completion of these fun and festive New Year’s activities. Not only will kids be engaged, but they will be motivated to do some of the most challenging of tasks.
Also included are a few resources that YOU, as a practitioner, will enjoy using as YOU ring in the New Year. They will help your reflect, mark your achievements, and plan for a new year of progress and growth. So, come with me and let’s get to ringing in the New Year!
Sensory New Year Activities
First, are some fun sensory activities that children will find engaging and provide some tactile, visual, oral, and auditory input. Take your pick:
New Year Celebration Play Dough gives you the recipe to create some sparkly, squishy play dough that makes for a wonderful contribution to an invitation tray that helps a child work on fine motor strengthening and provides tactile input as children will not be able to wait to get their hands in it!
New Year’s Slime gives you a recipe for a slippery way to celebrate the New Year while providing an ultimate tactile activity that provides a plop of science too! Fascinating to make and fascinating to squeeze and squish. Use these slime recipes and add gold glitter, confetti, or other fun add-ins.
Confetti Writing Tray provides a fun idea for a simple-to-make writing or drawing tray that only needs kosher salt and glitter confetti which are mixed together and spread into a baking sheet. Children can help create it while working on eye-hand coordination to pour and scoop or the motor skills involved in shaking, and stirring while creating the mixture. Once it is made, it provides a fun sensory tool for children to work on letter, number, and shape formation. Easy and festive!
New Year’s Sensory Bottles shares how to make a New Year-themed sensory bottle that can be used as a calming tool or simply for visual discovery. It includes numbers for the New Year and sparkly items galore!
New Year’s Sensory Bin has a festive New Year-theme by using shredded paper, tinsel, candle numbers for the year, party hats, colorful sequins, glitter pipe cleaners and pom-poms, confetti pieces, silver wands, and party blowers. This bin will provide a fun way to work on sensory skills in a variety of ways.
New Year’s Eve Bubble Wands provides a craft opportunity with the end product serving as bubble fun for younger kiddos who find a firework celebration a little too noisy and scary. Bubbles get blown into the air and kids enjoy the visual effects and the ability to pop, pop, pop bubbles to make them explode like fireworks.
New Year’s Pom-Pom Race is a fun game for kids to play with the use of two simple items: pom-pom balls and a party blower! Kids blow their party blower to push the pom-pom ball from the start to the finish line. This a fun game with breath control and deep breathing too!
New Year’s Eve Noisemaker is a jingle bell craft stick children can make and then literally use it to ring in the New Year! This one can be loud so those kiddos with auditory defensiveness may not find this a pleasurable activity to make or to use.
New Year Crafts
Next, are some fun New Year arts and crafts activities that can help if you need festive ideas for building those fine motor skills such as strength, coordination, grasp, hand dominance, tool use, and a few other skills like bilateral coordination and sequencing. These are fun New Year activities preschoolers will love, but you cna make them more difficult to meet the needs of older children with a few simple modifications.
Take a look at how you ring in the New Year while being crafty:
DIY New Year’s Eve Glasses uses pipe cleaners and an old pair of sunglasses with the lenses popped out to work on coordination and manipulation in order to wrap pipe cleaners around the frames and create flower or fireworks designs around the lenses.
Sparkly Fireworks Pipe Cleaner Ring uses glitter pipe cleaners to create a fireworks ring children will love to wear and will probably want to create many so be sure to buy multiple colors! This craft activity builds manipulation and coordination as well as direction following with the activity being most appropriate for older children.
Craft Stick Party Hat Craft is the perfect way to celebrate the New Year while crafting a party hat ornament. Works on overall hand skills and tool use by painting, cutting, and pasting!
Fireworks Craft is a colorful way for children to use bilateral coordination and manipulation as they create festive fireworks by bending and twisting pipe cleaners into spirals and zigzag patterns.
New Year’s Countdown Clock is a fun way to address time management of sorts by building a clock face and creating the countdown clock. With the turning of the clock hands, children can work on identifying time of day and countdown to the New Year. A great way to address manipulation as a child works on twisting pipe cleaners in a spiral to decorate the edge of the clock.
New Year’s Eve Scene is for older kiddos who will work on drawing skills while drawing a New Year skyline with buildings and fireworks. There is also opportunity to discuss what the New Year means to them.
New Year’s Eve Joke Teller is a folded paper craft for older kids which, when finished, will provide kids with finger movement fun as they play it!
New Year Fine Motor Activities
With this list of activities, you simply use the numbers of the New Year to work on hand and finger strengthening, pincer grasp, dominance, manipulation, and bilateral coordination.
Take a look at this exciting list that uses:
New Year Activities for Visual Motor Skills
Next, are some visual motor and visual perceptual skill work that help children to work on handwriting, eye-hand coordination, coloring, visual scanning, visual discrimination, and memory skills.
New Year’s Eve Countdown Game with the object of the game being to cross out all the numbers 1-10 to get the lowest number possible. Dice rolling is a great way to work on cupping of the hands to achieve an arch in order to shake the dice around in the hands. Most kids flatten their hands together or throw the dice from the fingers so work on those arches and bilateral hand cupping. Grab this freebie!
New Year’s Counting Memory Game with the object of the game being not only to work on counting, but to recall where they saw the same number of items in order to make a match. Use buttons, coins, whatever you have! Memory skills are challenged with this game.
New Year’s Where’s My Match Memory Game is like a typical memory game with a little extra twist where the players only look for certain matches working on a higher level of visual memory.
New Year’s I Spy Games works on visual scanning and visual discrimination skills to identify and count the number of each game board picture. A free set with multiple boards for play!
New Year’s Eve Word Scramble works on handwriting skills and is better for use by older children and for those that have good spelling skills. Handwriting is not a preference for most older kiddos so making it fun is essential.
New Year Games
Next, are some super fun gross motor activities that could be used for transitions while also addressing gross motor skills and motor planning. They are fun and a festive!
New Year Gross Motor Dice can easily be used as a break for the brain with a New Year theme! You can use them while at home, during a transition, in the classroom, or while online. These gross motor moves can help anyone ring in the New Year.
New Year Exercise and Yoga Game Boards are themed for the New Year and provide a fun game board approach to having kids work on gross motor exercises and yoga poses to keep kids fit and healthy as they start the New Year. The best part? You can play them all year long!!
Lastly, do you need a little focus and direction in your life as a practitioner? Are seeking an organized approach to your next year in practice? Then these are the two resources you need for the upcoming New Year as they help with reflection, direction, and organization.
Take the time to reflect on the past year and determine your path and focus for the New Year, you’ll be happy you did!
Regina Parsons-Allen is a school-based certified occupational therapy assistant. She has a pediatrics practice area of emphasis from the NBCOT. She graduated from the OTA program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, North Carolina with an A.A.S degree in occupational therapy assistant. She has been practicing occupational therapy in the same school district for 20 years. She loves her children, husband, OT, working with children and teaching Sunday school. She is passionate about engaging, empowering, and enabling children to reach their maximum potential in ALL of their occupations as well assuring them that God loves them!