Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

I'm not much of a party animal and can't remember the last time I stayed up to watch the ball drop, but Thomas and I did get engaged on New Year's Eve, so the day is special to me.  For that reason, I've tried to come up with a fun and meaningful way for us to celebrate New Year's that fits us, but so far nothing has really stuck.  This year, however, I think I've found something our whole family can do together.  It's called Praise Party, and I found the idea came at www.vibrantfaithathome.org.  This simple activity is perfect for those with younger kids/grandkids and is a great year to close out the year by praising God for all he has done.

Praise Party by Paige Evers

Supplies needed
Some instruments, pots and wooden spoons to clang, or noisemakers
Paper towel tubes, dry pasta, paper, tape and markers to make a "praise shaker"

Activity Plan
  1. Say this prayer aloud to begin: Dear God, we thank you for a new year. Thank you for all your blessings to us in the year that just ended. Be with us in this new year. Fill us with your love. Help us share your love with others. We praise you! Amen. 
  2. Make a “Praise Shaker" to help you praise God- work with your child to cover one end of the tube with a circle of paper and tape it to seal it closed. Show them how to fill the shaker with dry pasta. 
  3. Read Psalm 150.  Point out all of the times “Praise the Lord!” is repeated in the psalm. What instruments are mentioned? Who can praise God? Answer: Everything that breathes! Everyone! 
  4. When the shaker has enough pasta inside, tape it closed with the second paper circle.  Help your child decorate the tube by writing “Praise the Lord” and the year on the outside. Have them draw on the tube with markers to make it colorful. 
  5. Gather the shakers and other instruments or noise makers. Sit or stand in a circle with the instruments on the floor. Go around the circle and ask each person to share something he or she wants to praise God for in this new year (good health, friends, school, teacher, etc.) 
  6. Designate someone as your first Praise Party leader. She kicks off the party by shaking her instrument and shouting “Praise the Lord!”. Everyone else echoes “Praise the Lord!” and plays their instruments while dancing or walking around. 
  7. The Praise Party leader stops and everyone else stops as well. 
  8. Sit or stand in a circle again with the instruments on the floor. Go around the circle and ask each person to share something he wants to ask God to help with as you begin a new year together. 
  9. Take turns with a new Praise Party leader. He begins the joyful noises again by playing his instrument and shouting “Praise the Lord!” Everyone else follows with instruments, singing, and praising the Lord. Change leaders, trade instruments, and move around praising God for as long as you’d like. 
  10. Finish by saying this blessing: May the Lord bless us and guide us in this new year. May we be filled with God’s love and joy. May we live everyday praising the Lord and serving others. Amen.
Psalm 150
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! 
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

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