Noise and revelry have survived from ancient times as an attempt to ring out the evil spirits of the old year and ease what many viewed as a vulnerable transition between years. Ancient Chinese people used loud firecrackers to drive away evil spirits, while medieval Germans hissed in the streets. Eighteenth-century Scots were draped in cowhides and chased by villagers who yelled, “Raise the noise louder” and beat them with sticks. I have my own childhood memories of staying up until midnight and clanging pots and pans on our porch, something I now do with my family.
You can easily make and use your own noisemakers, a project most kids enjoy, in addition to staying up late and marking the turn of the year. (If midnight is too late for little ones, celebrate the new year’s arrival in a region or country with an earlier time zone!)
I have childhood memories of making this timeless noisemaker, along with a harmonica out of a wax-paper-covered comb, proving that things made with the simplest materials are often very enduring.
- Empty toilet paper or paper-towel rolls
- Small squares of wax paper, approximately 4″ × 4″
- Rubber band
- Crayons, markers, paint, fabric, tissue paper, glue, glitter, sequins, or other decorative items of your choice
Decorate the tube, as desired.
Cover one end with the wax paper square and secure with a rubber band.
Punch holes in the wax paper with a pencil.
We have fun making these at New Year’s and throughout the year. They’re great to use for family music nights.
- 2 paper plates
- Crayons, markers, paint, fabric, tissue or construction paper, ribbons, glue, glitter, sequins, foil, or other decorative items of your choice
- 1/8 cup large dried beans
- Craft or popsicle stick
Decorate the underside of the paper plates, as desired.
Tape a craft stick to the inside rim of one plate’s undecorated side, for a handle.
If desired, glue ribbons or strips of paper or fabric to the plate’s underside, to create decorative ribbons.
Place the two plates together, decorated sides out.
Staple around the edges of the plates to secure them together, leaving an opening to drop the dried beans in.
Continue stapling to shut.
Looking for more New Years Noisemaker Crafts? See:
Artists Helping Kids (various)
Make and Takes (poppers)
Pots, pans, wooden spoons, and other kitchen items also make excellent noisemakers!
Happy New Year!