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Welcome to our engaging and FREE New Years Unit Study, where we embark on a journey to explore the rich tapestry of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day celebrations from around the world.
This free unit study is designed to captivate the imaginations of your students, fostering a deeper understanding of the cultural, historical, and personal significance associated with the arrival of a new year.
Our goal over the next five days is to delve into the diverse traditions and customs that mark the transition from one year to the next. Through exploring picture books, interactive activities, and creative expression, students will gain insights into the global tapestry of New Year's celebrations while reflecting on personal aspirations and goals.
Cultural Diversity: Discover how various countries and communities usher in the New Year with unique customs and traditions.
Reflection and Goal Setting: Encourage your children to reflect on the past and set personal growth goals for the coming year.
Creativity and Expression: Engage in artistic endeavors and creative writing to express the excitement and significance of New Year's Eve and Day.
Literature Exploration: We will delve into captivating picture books that bring to life the magic of New Year's celebrations, fostering a love for reading and storytelling.
Interactive Activities: From creating personalized time capsules to designing festive party hats, students will actively participate in hands-on activities that reinforce the themes explored in the literature.
Cultural Appreciation: Through research and presentations, students will gain an appreciation for the diverse ways people across the globe welcome the New Year.
Creative Expression: Art and poetry activities will allow students to express their thoughts, dreams, and resolutions in imaginative and meaningful ways.
Culminating Celebration: The unit study will culminate in a joyous New Year's Eve celebration, providing an opportunity for students to share their creations and reflections with family and friends.
As we embark on this homeschool adventure, let the spirit of celebration and exploration guide us in discovering the beauty and uniqueness of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day traditions. Let's make this journey one of joy, discovery, and personal growth as we ring in the new year together.
Day 1: Introduction to New Year's Traditions
Grace Lin's Bringing in the New Year is a delightful picture book that immerses readers in the vibrant and festive atmosphere of Chinese New Year. The book showcases the preparations for this special occasion through the eyes of a young girl, capturing the excitement and joy associated with the holiday.
The colorful illustrations and engaging narrative beautifully depict the customs of Chinese New Year, including cleaning, decorating, family gatherings, and dragon dances. Lin masterfully integrates cultural elements into the story, creating a charming and educational experience for children to learn about the traditions surrounding the Lunar New Year.
This book not only celebrates the diversity of cultural festivities but also emphasizes the importance of family and unity during this joyous occasion.
Discuss the story and introduce your family to New Year's traditions.
Here are some prompts to get you started!
1. What are some specific traditions the family engages in to prepare for the New Year?
2. How does the young girl feel as she prepares for the New Year, and how is her excitement portrayed in the text and illustrations?
3. How are the traditions in the book similar to or different from the way your family celebrates the New Year?
Design a personalized New Year's Eve party hat.
Day 2: Exploring Cultural Celebrations
Squirrel's New Year's Resolution by Pat Miller is a delightful children's picture book that tells the story of a determined squirrel named Squirrel. In anticipation of the New Year, Squirrel sets out to make a New Year resolution.
However, Squirrel soon realizes that choosing the perfect goal can be challenging. The book takes young readers on an enchanting journey as Squirrel seeks guidance from various animal friends in the forest, each offering unique perspectives on self-improvement.
Through endearing illustrations and a gentle narrative, the book imparts valuable lessons about friendship, kindness, and the joy of pursuing personal goals. Squirrel's New Year's Resolution is an amazing addition to children's literature, seamlessly blending a charming storyline with themes of self-discovery and community.
Discuss the concept of resolutions and set personal goals for the year.
Here are some discussion prompts to help get you going!
1. What is a New Year's resolution, and why do people make them?
2. What advice do the different animal friends give to Squirrel, and how does it impact Squirrel's decision?
3. Encourage your children to think about their own goals and resolutions. What are some positive changes they would like to make in the coming year?
Get on your computer with your child and research how specific countries celebrate New Year's. Then create a map of that country (or multiple) highlighting different traditions.
Day 3: Time Capsule Adventure
Lauren Redniss, an award-winning author, takes readers on a journey through a child's eyes in this charming picture book. The child collects everyday objects – a set of dice, a grandmother's ring, the key to an old house – and places them in a jar, sealing them before burying them underground.
This act creates a time capsule, a gift to the future that tells a story about the past. Redniss's first book for children encourages creativity, inspires young minds to imagine the future, and prompts them to create their time capsules.
The book also includes extra pages with tips on creating a time capsule and fun facts about different types of time capsules in history.
Discuss the idea of time capsules and their significance. Below are some prompts to get you started!
1. Why do you think people create time capsules?
2. How do you think you will change or grow by the time you open the time capsule in the future?
3. If you could write a letter to your future self to read when you open the time capsule, what would you say?
Have each of your children create a personal time capsule with items representing their current interests. Including a written letter to their future selves, to be opened next New Year's Day.
Day 4: Creative Expression Through Art and Poetry
Shante Keys and the New Year's Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport is an enchanting and culturally immersive picture book that introduces the African American tradition of consuming black-eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck.
The narrative follows Shante Keys on her quest to acquire black-eyed peas for her family's New Year's festivities. Along the way, Shante interacts with various neighbors in her apartment complex, discovering the significance of community, sharing, and the diverse customs individuals uphold to celebrate the holiday.
The book's colorful illustrations and heartwarming story capture the essence of unity and cultural traditions, making it an ideal read for young audiences during the New Year season. Shante Keys and the New Year's Peas not only commemorates a unique New Year's custom but also emphasizes the joy of coming together with loved ones to welcome the possibilities of a new year.
Discuss the importance of diverse traditions and foods during New Year celebrations. Here are some prompts to get you started!
1. How does Shante interact with her neighbors, and what does she learn from each encounter?
2. How does Shante change or grow throughout the story?
3. Why do you think black-eyed peas are considered a symbol of good luck for the New Year?
As a family create a mural showcasing symbols of New Year's Eve and Day. To do this you could use a side of a cardboard box, or poster board, or keep it simple on a piece of paper! Get creative and encourage your students to create what they have learned about so far.
If your student is writing then another activity you can include is to write a poem or short story inspired by the theme of new beginnings.
Day 5: Culminating Celebration and Reflection
Start by allowing your children to share their resolutions and reflections on the week's activities.
Natasha Wing's The Night Before New Year's is an enchanting picture book that captures the festive mood and anticipatory preparations leading up to New Year's Eve. The charming story, written in playful rhymes, follows a family as they gear up for the grand celebration, decorating their home, making resolutions, and counting down the hours until midnight.
The vibrant illustrations and lively narrative vividly portray the enthusiasm and spirit of this special occasion, making it an ideal read for young readers eager to partake in the excitement of welcoming the new year. As part of the beloved Night Before series, The Night Before New Year's is a cheerful and celebratory addition, bound to delight its young audience.
Here are some prompts to help you discuss the story!
1. Can you relate to any of the activities or traditions the family engages in on the night before New Year's Eve?
2. How do these traditions contribute to the sense of togetherness and celebration?
3. If you could create a new tradition for celebrating New Year's Eve, what would it be?
Put together a small New Year's Eve celebration with homemade snacks and a countdown to noon.
Discuss what students enjoyed most and what they learned during this New Years unit study.
Happy New Year, Spot! is a delightful and interactive board book penned by Eric Hill, featuring the adorable puppy Spot as he joins his friends in celebrating New Year's Eve. The story follows Spot as he prepares for the party, decorates, and counts down the moments until midnight.
The book features durable pages and lift-the-flap elements that make it an engaging read for young children, encouraging them to actively participate in the festivities alongside Spot. The bright illustrations and rhythmic text make Happy New Year, Spot! an ideal introduction to the excitement and joy of New Year's Eve for toddlers and preschoolers.
In Spain, New Year's Eve is an exciting time marked by fireworks, music, and a unique tradition involving grapes. Rafa, a young boy, can't wait to celebrate with his family at the plaza.
However, he soon learns that he must eat one small grape with each of the twelve midnight chimes to bring luck in the New Year. Will he be able to do it? The thought of accidentally dropping one of the grapes or not finishing them all makes him a little worried.
Tracey Kyle's rhyming text depicts this popular tradition in all its joy and hope for the New Year. Young readers will be eager to join in the fun and learn about this unique holiday tradition.
Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! by Alexandra Alessandri is a touching picture book that transports readers into the world of Ava Gabriela, a bilingual and bicultural girl who is determined to merge her Colombian and American traditions in celebration of the New Year.
As Ava prepares for the festivities, she faces obstacles and gains valuable insights into the significance of family, resilience, and the embrace of one's cultural heritage. The book features vivid illustrations and a bilingual narrative, perfectly capturing the essence of multicultural celebrations, and making it a compelling and relatable read for young readers.
Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! is a beautiful tribute to diversity, family, and the joy of blending different cultural elements in commemoration of special occasions.
Create a "Year in Review" scrapbook, documenting favorite memories and achievements.
Plan a family-friendly New Year's Eve game night with board games and puzzles.
Watch age-appropriate documentaries or videos showcasing New Year's celebrations around the world.
What was your favorite part of this FREE New Year's Unit Study?
This FREE 5-day New Year's Unit Study integrates literature, art, geography, and reflective activities to engage homeschoolers in exploring the cultural and personal aspects of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. I hope you have found some great ideas to implement into your New Years Unit Study plans.
If you want to add in some more New Year's Picture Books check out this blog post here!