Saturday, January 2, 2016

Noon Year's Eve 2015-2016

First post of the new year!

After a not-so-great 2015, I have high hopes for the year ahead. Much like I did last year, I kicked off 2016 with a library Noon Year's Eve Party. Only slightly modified from last year's version, the program included homemade crowns, paper bag time capsules, a balloon drop, sparkling apple cider (and other snacks), a photo back drop, and (new for this year) 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, the most important of those being (a) the balloon drop (specifically this one, $10-ish) and (b) a countdown to noon projected on the wall to build anticipation (made with, no fills necessary). I also had a backdrop (this one from Oriental Trading, also seen above) hanging on the wall so I could photograph the kids against it.

This year's program was really similar to last year's version of the Noon Year's Eve Party. I started the kids off by having them decorate 2016 crowns (which I had 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 they were finished with it, I had them fold it up small and put it in a bag. Then they decorated the bag and sealed it up with a sticker (which were just printed on blank labels) that said "Do Not Open Until January 2017."

At 11:55, I passed out the bells I use in Musical Kids to act as noise makers. At 11:59, the whole room got very excited. The kids made their way over the to the balloon drop, placing themselves strategically as close to directly under it as they could. Then, with 10-seconds left until noon, we counted down! Here's a picture of that. I'm guess they're all saying "eight.":

At exactly noon, I grabbed the balloon bag chord and let the balloons slowly tumble onto the kids. I wish balloon bags were a little faster and that I didn't have to spend an extra 30-seconds or so fishing out all the more tightly-packed balloons from the bag, but like I said last year, for a $10 bag, can you expect perfection? The kids didn't care one bit. They were so so so excited about the balloons, grabbing for them as they fell to the ground, like they were pieces of candy falling from a piƱata. And even though my group was about half the size of last year's group, this was still the highlight of the program by far. 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 snacks. I served different types of Goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, sparkling apple cider (from plastic wine glasses), and water bottles.

Because I had a smaller sign-up this year than last year, I decided to include a game of Noon Year's Eve Bingo to wrap the program up. The Bingo cards can be downloaded here! I started the game about 10-minutes after the balloon drop, so the more meticulous kids could finish their crafts and the more antsy kids could toss their balloons around for a little while.

It seems like all kids always like Bingo a lot. We played one game until everyone won, and then by request, a second game until everyone won again. Because of the size of the group, I had plenty of prizes for each child to win twice and take home two things. I used Dinosaur-Filled Eggs and Wind-Up Robots as prizes and the kids really liked them! When in doubt, Bingo.

By the end of the second game, there were about 5-minutes left of the program and, aside from a few stragglers, everyone was pretty much ready to leave. The kids quickly finished their time capsules, grabbed a few snacks to-go, and endured my cheesy "See you next year!" as they made their way out. Last year, when the parents came in the room to pick up their children, some of them posed against the backdrop together. This year, it definitely didn't get the same attention. But never the less, it was still appreciated.

What worked least: Nothing about this program didn't work, however the overall vibe was a little lackluster compared to last year's super-high-energy group. I heard two girls (repeat attendees from last year) say to each other "This was fun last year so I decided to to come back" and everyone else definitely had a good time too. It just felt, I guess, quieter.

What worked best: The balloon drop, without question. As long as it's hung tightly enough so that you don't yank the whole bag down when you go to open it, it's the best $10 thing you can do for a Noon Year's Eve Party.

Happy 2016, everyone!


  1. Laura you might have outdone yourself here! This is SUCH a terrific idea! I may just have to steal it from you next year.... :-) So creative.