Happy New Year! This is my first post of 2018! Like in years past, I kicked off the new year (or, more accuately, ended the old year) with a Noon Year's Eve Party, where we counted down to 12:00 noon! Only slightly modified from last year's version, the program included homemade crowns, time capsules, a balloon drop, sparkling apple cider, a photo back drop, and a few rounds of Noon Year's Eve Bingo, complete with prizes!
Before the program, I set the room up with a few key elements:
1. The balloon drop (After trying a couple, this one, $10-ish on Amazon, is my favorite).
2. The countdown to noon projected on the wall to build anticipation (made with timeanddate.com, and seen above).
3. The photo backdrop (this one from Oriental Trading) so I could photograph the kids against it.
4. Plastic champagne flutes and sparkling cider.
5. Craft stuff (which I'll discuss below).
Like I said, this year's program was really similar to past Noon Year's Eve programs. I started the kids off by having them decorate 2018 crowns (which I made and pre-cut for them) so they could be festive when the balloons dropped at 12:00.
I had also created a two-sided worksheet which I called a "time capsule." On one side of the sheet it asked kids to list their favorite things (favorite color, favorite book, favorite movie, etc.) and on the other side it asked them to draw a self-portrait. When the kids were finished with their sheets, I had them fold them up and put them in boxes (these from Oriental Trading), which they could also color and decorate. I had out crayons and an assortment of foam stickerts that were leftover from other crafts (mostly these from Oriental Trading with a few others tossed in the mix) for all of their various crafting needs. Then, as each kid finished up, I came around and sealed each of their boxes up with sticker that said "Do Not Open Until January 1st 2019" (which I just made myself on on blank labels).
Then it was time to countdown! The kids gathered at the balloon drop and, at exactly noon, the balloon bag was yanked open by its string, allowing the balloons to slowly tumble onto the kids. They were so excited about it, grabbing for balloons, like they were pieces of candy falling from a piñata. This was the highlight of the program for sure! It's all about the balloon drop!
After all the balloons were successfully out of the balloon bag, I scrambled to play Auld Lang Syne on the iPod as quickly as possible, although I think the significance of the song was lost on the kids. Then I distributed the plastic champagne flutes of sparkling apple cider out to the kids (after explaing, at least 3-4 times, that it was just juice with bubbles and that we aren't allowed to serve alcohol to children). In past years I'd served other snacks too but I kept it easy this year and just did the "champagne." I don't regret it ONE BIT. It was totally enough!
There were just a few minutes left when the Bingo game ended. The kids quickly finished what they had left of their time capsules, grabbed a few balloons to go, and endured my cheesy "See you next year!" comment as they made their way out.
What worked least: I bought a different balloon drop this year (by accident) and it gave me anxiety. The string and hole were on the side instead of the bottom corner that I was used to and I was worried that I'd have to pull too hard to get it to open... and then, I worried that this hard pull would rip the pannels of the library's drop ceiling down and hit the kids on the head. At the last minute, I asked our clerk, Ryan, to yank the string for me at 12:00 because I was just too scared and, of course, it was totally fine. But it was my biggest source of stress! As I said, this one, $10-ish on Amazon, is my favorite balloon drop! This is the one I would recommend.
What worked best: Despite my above answer, the balloon drop, without question, worked best! As long as it's hung tightly enough so that you don't yank the whole bag (or the ceiling) down when you go to open it, it's the best $10 thing you can do for a Noon Year's Eve Party. It's all in the hanging (which, thankfully, I had no part of).
Happy 2018, everyone! Let's stay warm and make it good!