When my daughter Madison was really little, I used to print on paper lunch bags and put treats, games, and activities inside for when we went on long trips. This way, she had something new to open and do every 30 minutes on our trips instead of being bored and asking again and again, “Are we there yet?”
Today, as I am preparing for a New Year’s Eve party for both adults and kids, I decided to print on bags again. I created a super quick template in Google Slides and ran my bags through the printer flap side down (you don’t want those flaps getting caught and jamming your printer). I included fun games and activities in each bag labeled 1-12 with the idea being to replicate the feeling of staying up until midnight without actually keeping our little kids up that late. (Thank you, Netflix for having countdowns available for whenever we are ready to ring in the New Year at 9 or 10pm!)
Here’s what I’m including in my bags:
- Put on New Year Party Hats and Tiaras! – Got these from a kit at Target that included noisemakers that I’ll use later in the evening.
- Build Your Own Pizza! – We’re getting the kids individual pizza sets from Papa Murphy’s.
- Make Your Own Fruit Pizza! – I bought pre-made soft sugar cookies, cream cheese icing, and fruit (raspberries, bananas, strawberries, blueberries) and will have a station where everyone can ice their cookie and then decorate and make patterns with the fruit. They turn out beautiful and delicious!
- Find the Hidden Object! – Simple family game – one person closes their eyes while one person hides an object in the room. Look for the object! We call it “Black Snake” in my house and sing a song while we look for the hidden little black snake. Lots of giggles every time.
- Marshmallow Poppers – Found this one over at Real Simple. I made them all ahead of time – a little hard to make for kids – but SUPER fun to play with. We’re going to pop the marshmallows straight up and try to catch them in the cup.
- Hum That Tune! – We play this one all the time as a family. Take turns humming a song and see who can be first to guess the song you’re humming! Our son (who’s only four) always does the same 4 or 5 songs and it is adorable! 🙂
- Sardines. Great game – think Hide and Go Seek except when you find the person hiding you have to hide with them until everyone has found you. The last person to find the pack of sardines hiding together is it next. Never played with my kids before! Can’t wait to teach them tonight!
- Year in Review Conversation Cards – I found several online and printed these
- M&M Game – Pour some M&Ms in a bowl or on a plate. Give everyone a straw. Set a timer for 15 seconds or so for each person. On their turn, each person uses their straw to pick up as many candies as they can before their time runs out. Once they have sucked up a candy, they place it in a pile next to them. (You can give everyone a paper plate or bowl for this.) Repeat until everyone has had a few turns, or until the candy runs out. The player with the most pieces of candy at the end wins.
- Glowstick Dance Party! – self-explanatory
- Noisemakers – We’re almost there!!!
- Watch the Countdown and toast the New Year (This will be with sparkling Martinelli’s Apple Cider at our celebration!)
We will NOT be opening these at certain pre-determined times or intervals, instead, we will open each one when we are ready or want to (as determined by the adults. The last few I expect will be opened right in a row as we won’t want to hear those noisemakers for too long!
Click here for the template to print your own New Year Countdown bags.
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Use the Printable Paper Bag Template to create YOUR OWN awesome New Year or ANYTIME game with your students at SCHOOL!
Paper Bag Game/Activity for SCHOOL:
- Cut apart question/work and put the pieces into the labeled bags (you can still do 1-12 or just do 1-however many you want or need).
- Place all bags (with chunked work inside) in one location in the room.
- Then, place numbers corresponding to each bag in a bowl or separate bag and have students pull out which number they should complete. If the student pulls out the number 3, they would run over to the number 3 bag and pull out the strip of paper that has their question/work.
- To differentiate, you could have some numbers be different colors – for example, Green numbers could be easier questions, Orange more challenging, and Red the most difficult questions. You could assign certain colors to students to differentiate (Sarah, I want you to be sure and complete two green numbers before you do other colors).
- I suggest having more questions/bags than students are required to complete to add to the feeling of randomness. If there are 10 bags, maybe have students complete at least 5 bags – you’d be surprised that students may choose to complete more because they are having fun!
This activity would work REALLY well as a future-ready station with a partner or small group in a blended learning classroom. This adds that element of fun, communication, and collaboration!
I hope you can use this fun Printable Bag Template in your home and school life! Happy New Year!