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ZondervanCopyright © 1997 Youth Specialties
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Chapter OneNew Year
Dissolve those post-Christmas blahs with these fantastic ideas for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. The weather outside may be frightful, but you'll find plenty of games and activities to warm up your kids' hearts.
This idea gives a New Year's celebration or birthday bash a beautifully festive touch (as long as you can clean the floor easily). Fill medium-sized latex balloons with a handful of confetti per balloon. Inflate the balloons, tie them off, then attach them to (or suspend them from) the ceiling. When the clock hits midnight, puncture the balloons with pins or sharpened pencils, then watch out-confetti flies everywhere.
For real celebrating (and a real mess when it gets in hair), add glitter to the balloons. Michael Capps
New Year's Day Football
For a wild and crazy day, and to give your kids something to do on New Year's Day, open your home for a Football Marathon. Have two televisions set up so you can watch two games simultaneously: the Fiesta and Cotton Bowls, then the Rose Bowl, then the Orange and Sugar Bowls. Make a poster with all five games listed, including team names, national rankings, and seasonal records. Allow the kids to pick winners ahead of time, and award a prize to the one with the best record of picks.
To help relieve some of the energy built up by sitting around for so long, organize a quick touch football game outside during halftimes or between games. Admission to the event can be a bag of chips or a six-pack of soda. For a simple meal, send out for pizza. Ken S. Williams
The Year-in-Review Banner
This is a simple yet effective way to build group unity and to make some lasting memories. Take a long sheet of paper (butcher wrap or newsprint) and hang it on a smooth wall surface. Draw heavy vertical lines to divide the banner into 12 equal sections, and label each section with the names of the months in order. Then let the kids go to work decorating the banner, collage-style, to show what they did as a group each month of the preceding year. Use crayons and markers. Attach photos of group events, copies of the youth newsletter, movie posters, handouts, lesson outlines, letters, charts, publicity materials, ticket stubs-anything that would symbolize or remind them of what they did.
This activity is especially good for watch-night services or New Year's lock-ins. Just have the kids bring everything they've saved from youth group events over the previous 12 months, and add to their collection whatever you yourself have saved. It's also a good way to purge your office files! Randy D. Nichols
New Year's Eve Eve Party
With the holidays becoming more and more dangerous on New Year's Eve, why not have a New Year's Eve Eve Party instead? Celebrate New Year's Eve Eve at midnight. The kids can have all the fun of New Year's Eve and then stay home to babysit on the real New Year's Eve. Dallas Elder
New Year's Resolutions
First discuss the meaning of the words New Year's resolution. Ask kids to share some resolutions they have made in the past and what happened to them. Did they last? How long? Next, introduce the word covenant, and ask kids to compare that word with the word resolution. What is the difference between the two? (One important difference is that a resolution is generally a private thing, and a covenant is a promise or agreement made publicly between two or among more people.)
After some discussion, have the kids form groups of three, preferably with friends they know fairly well. Then give them 10 minutes or so to write a few New Year's covenants. After they are completed, each person shares his or her covenants with other members of the small group and asks for feedback. Are they too vague? Impossible to keep? Too easy? Inappropriate? Kids are then allowed to rewrite their covenants based on the feedback they received. Last, they share their rewritten covenants and perhaps discuss practical ways they plan to put them into practice. J. Richard Short
To create scriptural New Year's resolutions, have your kids go through the Bible and find their favorite verses. For those who claim they don't have a favorite verse, have them open their Bibles to Proverbs and start reading until they come to a verse they like. Make sure you have some extra Bibles on hand for this.
Tell the kids to paraphrase the verse they choose by putting it in their own words. Next they should personalize it by putting themselves in it. For example, Matthew 6:33 reads: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Someone who chooses that verse might paraphrase and personalize it this way: "I will always seek the things of God in all I do. And if I do this, all that I need here on this earth God will give me."
Let the kids write the paraphrase in large letters on a sheet of colored paper, then post it where they'll see it often. This personalized verses can then become their New Year's resolutions. Ron Kostedt
Turn or Burn
This idea works well at the first meeting of a new year or the last meeting of an old year. It involves the making of New Year's resolutions. Students are asked to "turn" (over a new leaf) or "burn" (an old habit).
Each person is given a few sheets of paper and an envelope along with a pencil. For effect you could print the shape of a leaf on one paper, and burn the edges of the other paper. Participants are then asked to write down on the leaf some resolutions for the new year (a good habit that you propose to begin doing). The papers are then folded and put into self-addressed individual envelopes and sealed. The envelopes are collected and will be mailed out to these people in June to remind them of their resolutions.
Next, the kids are asked to write on the "burn" paper a bad habit that they would like to discontinue. After some discussion on how one goes about ridding himself or herself of a bad habit, and after some prayer and mutual commitment to each other, each person brings their bad habit to the front and symbolically burns it in a little bonfire. You can probably build a fire inside a washtub, or use a small hibachi. Be sure to have adequate ventilation or just do this part of the meeting outside.
The best way to make a program like this effective over the long haul is to plan some ways to follow up on this during the year. It can prove to be a very meaningful way to approach on old idea. Ed Skidmore
New Year's Prophecies
This could be the funniest thing your group does all year! Get a copy of a sensational tabloid that makes predictions for the New Year. As you read it, circle the most outrageous predictions you can find.
Read aloud to your group what you find-this will be a scream in itself. Then have someone pass out index cards and pencils. Tell the group, "Anybody can do better than that," and let kids write down their own zany predictions for the next year. Then let everyone read them aloud. Some will tend to be about other members of the group, and they're guaranteed to be hilarious. Todd Capen
Excerpted from Holiday Ideas Copyright ©1997 by Youth Specialties. Excerpted by permission.
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