5 “Happy New Year” Activity Ideas

2 Jan

I have a confession to make: I love session themes. I mean, I really love them. Maybe it’s the preschool teacher in me talking, but I would use a different theme every week if I could (Maybe this should be my New Year’s resolution/challenge…?!). What I like so much about themes is that they can help create a nice arc for a session. Having a concrete idea that we keep emphasizing in a bunch of different ways really helps promote understanding and client success! You can make a theme as obvious (Halloween! Dinosaurs! Under the Sea!) or as subtle (Teamwork; Coping Skills; Self-Empowerment) as you want, depending on the ages and needs of your clients.

To start 2014 off right, I’m going to share my entire “Happy New Year”-themed MT session plan with you. Here are 5 activity ideas to help you party like it’s 2014 with your clients this week!

1. Save hats, noisemakers, tiaras, and silly glasses from your own NYE festivities and hand them out to your clients. Who doesn’t love a costume? Lead everyone in a countdown and all say, “Happy New Year!!!!” This can serve as a fantastic conversation starter; ask clients about their favorite NYE memories.

P10205872. Rock out to “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang. I like to pass out an assortment of shakers, drums and boomwhackers and have everyone play along with the recording. Invite clients up one at a time to show off their funkiest dance moves. OHHH YEAH!

3. For kids or older adults with dementia, sing a song to help reinforce the new year. The song I wrote for this purpose, “It’s A New Year,” is easy to use with AACs for clients who are nonverbal. I record myself on a big mac or iPad singing “2014” and “Happy New Year” so that my clients can sing along at the appropriate times during the song. Encourage clients who are verbal to fill in the blanks while you sing (i.e., “It’s a new year, it’s a new year, the year is ______”). If you work in a mental health setting, have clients share their New Year’s resolutions and write them into a blues-style improvisation.

4. DANCE PARTY!!!!! Let’s be honest–no NYE party is complete without some dancing. I make a dance choice board and have volunteers take turns “DJing”. Some popular songs from this year’s playlist are:

  • “#thatpower” (Will.I.Am feat. Justin Bieber)
  • “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” (Fergie)
  • “Alive” (Krewalla)

5. Create fireworks using “Relax App.” During the last few minutes of my sessions, I like to dim the lights and give each client a chance to play around with Relax App. If you have a SMART board, hook up the iPad so everyone can watch the fireworks display. I recommend paying the $1.99 for the full version of the app–nothing like an advertisement to ruin a relaxing experience for a group!

For more info about Relax App, check out: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/relax-app-relaxation-music/id666443137?mt=8

Relax App

Sample “firework” created in Relax App

What are your favorite New Year’s activities? Comment below and I’ll add your idea to my list!

For updates about new posts, free downloads and session plan ideas from Songs for Success, enter your e-mail in the sign-up box on the right or follow my twitter: @songsforsuccess.

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