Growing up, New Year’s Eve was often spent driving 30 minutes to my godparents’ house where we would do activities, cheer on the ball drop and then fall asleep in the car driving home. Now that I’m a parent, it’s funny to think of what routines will become tradition and memories for my kids. I’m sure my parents simply wanted to be with their best friends and it was a treat that all us kids were friends. Maybe the 3 hours of television that our kids are allowed to watch whenever Mark and I stay out too late with our friends will somehow become a nice little moment for them. Back to the New Year’s Eve activities… they involve melting stuff and candy.
(Disclosure: Mark has to work today, and my kids are too young to really appreciate either of these so we didn’t do them. But Activity #1 is way cool- I LOVED it as a kid- and I was thrilled to recreate it for you fine readers.)
#1 Materials: lead fishing weights, an old throw-away pot (I got one at Goodwill for $5), and a large pot of cold water.
Melt the lead. It’s a super soft metal so it melts within 5 minutes on a regular stove burner… you don’t need a bellows or a kiln or anything crazy hot.
Once you have a puddle of molten metal (cool, right?!) simply poor it into your pot of cold water. The minute the lead hits the water, it hardens into these crazy shapes.
We would each help pour our own lead. Whatever the shapes looked like would be our fortune for the year ahead. Sometimes we saw a canoe, sometimes a soccer ball… always very telling. Or not. (These all look creepy to me… but I think I might see a pony in mine, so that’s exciting.)
Activity #2 will get your kids hopped up and hyper. Be warned. (I refer you to the disclaimer above as I have no pictures of hopped up hyper kids. I’m not method like that.)
#2 Materials: brown paper bag, chocolate bar, cotton twine/ ribbon, hat/gloves/ scarf, knife and fork, dice
Wrap the chocolate bar in the paper bag and tie it closed with the cotton twine. Get everyone sitting around a table with the hat/ gloves/ scarf and knife/ fork in the middle. Roll the dice. Every time you roll double 6s, put on the hat, gloves and scarf and use the fork and knife to try and cut into the chocolate bar. While you go after the chocolate bar, everyone else is passing the dice around trying to get double sixes (box cars!). As soon as someone gets the 6-6, you have to
rip off hand over off the hat/ gloves/ scarf and the next person takes over with the chocolate destruction.
You can see how this becomes more and more frenzied as glimmers of chocolate bar appear through the mangled paper bag…
I know these activities are last minute, so maybe you’ll store them away for next year which will probably be here before we can believe it. Last year at this time, we hadn’t yet met our sweet Martha. The sounds of city sirens echoed out of our city apartment windows. Eleanor hadn’t discovered princess costumes. Oliver had yet to stick his dismount from our living room chairs and went with more of a face-plant technique. And we had no idea what wonderful (and some less than wonderful) things 2012 had in store.
I wish you all a hopeful, healthy and happy new year!