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Look to the future!

To emphasize that every year brings fresh opportunities to learn new things and to grow to be better people.

by Rebecca Parkinson

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To emphasize that every year brings fresh opportunities to learn new things and to grow to be better people.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a selection of things to do with Christmas, e.g. decorations, tree, lights, crackers, candles.
  • A chocolate advent calendar – lots of these are sold off cheaply after Christmas!


  1. Show the things you have brought in and arrange them as if you were getting ready for Christmas. Ask if there is anything strange about what you are doing – you are looking for the answer that Christmas has already gone and therefore it would be more sensible to be putting the decorations away, rather than getting them out!
  2. Explain that many things have happened during the past year. Talk through a variety of international, national, local events that have happened, highlighting both good and bad, e.g. disasters in the world; the Queen’s 80th birthday; the world cup (good or bad!!); the school being given its own crossing patrol, etc.
  3. Tell the children that during the past year they will all have learnt a great deal. For a bit of fun today you are going to have a quiz to see how much they know. Explain that every answer is a number, and whoever gets the answer correct can open the corresponding number on the advent calendar and eat the chocolate!
  4. Carry out the quiz. Remember to do the questions out of numerical/date order!

    1 – How many moons orbit the earth?
    23 – What number must you times by 3 to get 69?
    4 – How many countries in the UK?
    10 – The battle of Hastings took place in __66.
    3 – Traditionally how many wise men visited Jesus?
    9 – How many letters are there in the word ‘necessary’?
    5 – How many senses do we have?
    20 – What is the value of XX in Roman numerals?
    6 – How many wives did Henry VIII have?
    16 – What date comes nine days before Christmas Day?
    7 – What number did David Beckham wear for England?
    22 – How many players are on the pitch at one time during a football match?
    12 – How many months are there in a year?
    8 – Including one reserve, how many people are there in a netball team?
    19 – A sum: 45 – 26 = ?
    13 – How many are there in a ‘baker’s dozen’?
    21 – What century are we in?
    14 – How many days are there in two weeks?
    17 – At what age can you start to drive a car?
    11 – How many players in a cricket team?
    15 – The number of fingers and thumbs on three hands added together.
    2 – How many halves make a whole?
    18 – At what age can you vote in this country?
    24 – How many hours are there in a day?
  5. Tell the children that the start of a new year gives us the opportunity to look back on the previous year, just like we started by remembering the Christmas just gone, and to see what we have learnt during it. A new year also gives us the exciting opportunity to look forward to all the wonderful things that we hope will happen this year and all the new things we will learn!
  6. Some of us have very happy memories of last year, while some of us have sad memories. What can each of us do to make the most of this coming year? You could discuss this or leave it as something to think about.

Time for reflection


Close your eyes for a moment and think about last year and the memories you have.

Now think about the coming year.

Are there any worries you have or things that you are looking forward to?

What can you do to make the most of this coming year for yourself, for your work, for your family and friends?



Christians believe that God knows all about what happened to us last year,

whether good or bad, and that he knows what we will face this coming year.

We can talk to him about the past and trust him to be with us in the future.

Dear God,

Thank you that you are with us in every situation.

Thank you that you never leave us

and that we can trust in you throughout this coming year.



‘The journey of life’ (Come and Praise, 45)

Publication date: January 2007   (Vol.9 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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