What Will Next Year Bring? Musical New Year’s Game

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What Will Next Year Bring is a fun musical New Year’s Eve game for kids where the children float their little walnut boats to different islands in order to predict their fortune for the coming year.

The beauty of this game is that you can involve the children with actually making the game and the walnut boats (with a little supervision with the walnut splitting and candle lighting!). You can also let them personalise their own boats with glitter or different coloured candles so that they know whose belongs to who.

Each child takes turns to light their candle and float their little boat around the islands while everyone sings the song. Then, using an egg timer, they can see which island (fame, fortune, love, success) the boat touches before time runs out. This gives them their new years prediction!


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The ‘What Will Next Year Bring?’ song that accompanies this lovely little musical New Year’s Eve game is sung to the tune of Wind Your Bobbin Up (see YouTube clip below for the tune).

Musical New Year’s Game for Kids

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

What will next year bring?


Will it bring love,

fortune too?

or fame, success to all of you?


Happy New Year

Happy New Year

What will next year bring?

(sung to the tune of Wind Your Bobbin Up)

What you need

A large baking tray or plastic container that can be filled with water

Tin foil


Birthday Cake candles

Marbles or pretty little beads to put at the bottom of the pool

4 small glass bowls (for your islands!)

4 labels with Love, Fame, Fortune and Success written on them (or you can make some fortunes more up!)

4 Corks

An egg timer


What Will Next Year Bring? New Years Musical Game from Let's Play Music

How to make the walnut boats

1. Split the walnuts by placing the tip of a knife in the ‘star’

 at the top of the nut and twisting

2. Remove the nut

3. Melt some wax from the candle into one half of the walnut and use it secure the birthday candle




We used candles in our walnut boats as it helps them move across the water, but if you wanted to recreate this without the naked flame for little ones, then Stephanie over at Twodaloo has a wonderful little alternative with very sweet little sails.

The inspiration for this musical New Year’s game came from a lovely book called The All Year Round Book which is where I first learned about this little tradition. It’s absolutely packed with lots of similar ideas and one that I would definitely recommend for the bookshelf.

What Will Next Year Bring? New Years Musical Game from Let's Play MusicHow to set up the musical New Year’s game

1. Line your baking tray or plastic container with tin foil

2. Place your marbles/beads on the bottom of the pool and fill with water

3.  Cut a groove in the base of your 4 corks

4. Write 4 fortunes onto labels and wedge into the groove in the cork to make little signs

5. Place your bowls upside down into the pool, with the signs on top

How to play this musical New Year’s Game

1. Place the boats into the pool

2. Light the candles, the boats will begin to move around the pool

3. Start the egg timer

4. Sing the song as boats sail towards the islands

5. When the egg timer runs out, see which island the boat is closest to

6. Go around the group until everyone has had a go!

Wax fortune game

Once everyone has had a go, you can clear the islands out of the baking tray, give each child a night light to light, and when they have a little pool of melted wax in it, they can tip it into the water. It solidifies almost immediately and forms random, interesting shapes. These wax shapes can be fished out with a spoon and then everyone can have fun trying to ‘see’ what they are. You’d be amazed at some of the suggestions- this really gets the imagination going!

kids new year activity

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(8) Comments

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  6. Rachel @ SunScholars - Reply

    What a fun and interesting game for the family! I just LOVE it! I will definitely be keeping this in mind for our New Year’s celebration in the future. Thanks for sharing at For the Kids Fridays over at SunScholars.com. I am featuring your post at this week’s party! Hope to have you back to share again soon! Happy New Year!!

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