Kids drag their heels when returning to school after the long and happy Christmas break. Think like a kid, what you would most like to do when you get back to school? How can you ease the transition from fun, free time to getting back to work and learning? This year gather some ideas for the first day back after Christmas vacation to turn those somewhat glum faces into bright, joyous ones.

Something Old, Something New

Make sure the kids know before school lets out for Christmas break, that when they return you will have a surprise for them. When they file in after the break and you begin your morning as usual, remind them of your promise to them. Tell them you've decided to have a mini New Year's party at the end of the day. Everything about the lesson of the day will have the theme of a New Year. New Year's means a fresh start, new resolutions, out with the old, in with the new.

Writing Exercise and Art Project

Have the writing exercise of the day be in two parts. Hand out a piece of plain paper and a piece of colored construction paper to each student. On the plain paper, have the children write a paragraph about the happiest part of their Christmas break. On the construction paper, have the children write or draw their resolutions, what they'd like to feel or accomplish in the New Year. Use colorful markers. Roll the construction paper up into cones and staple. These are their resolution party hats! Set aside and continue with your day.

Cookies and Sharing

Use the last thirty minutes of the day for the mini-party. Have the kids wear their hats and pass out cookies you brought from home. Have the kids either read their happiest Christmas break memory, or read or act out a resolution from their hat. Have the other kids guess what the child is acting out. This makes an interactive party game, encourages kids to share dreams and ambitions, and lets the kids end the day with a fresh and happy beginning to the new school year.