10 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Kids
By Maria Healey, MariaHealey.com
New Year’s Eve is a big holiday for everyone! It’s a time to reflect on the past year fondly and look forward to the prospects of a new year ahead. With more celebrations at home this year, including kids in the New Year festivities will end the year on a positive note, creating great memories for all. There are plenty of things to do with kids on New Year’s Eve when making it a family-friendly celebration. Below, find a fun list of 10 New Year’s activities for kids that will have them looking forward to making it an annual family tradition.
Noon Year’s Eve
Rather than keeping the kids up until the stroke of midnight, plan a Noon Year’s Eve celebration to countdown the clock together at noon when they’re awake and excitable instead of the middle of the night when everyone is fast asleep. It’s also an opportunity to find out where else in the world they might be celebrating the New Year at the same time as your afternoon celebration. For instance, a Noon Year’s Eve celebration in San Diego would be at the same time as a midnight celebration in Dubai. That brings me to my next suggestion for celebrating a New Year’s Eve with kids…
Try a New Tradition
Use New Year’s Eve kids’ activities as an opportunity to teach your children about other cultures around the world and how they traditionally celebrate the New Year. In Italy, church bells ring at the stroke of midnight, so gather some bells and ring them together as a family, or bang drums like they do in Switzerland. Kids might love pouring a bucket of water outside their bedroom window like they do in Puerto Rico or enjoy bashing the walls of the house with a loaf of bread, as the Irish do. Interested in some arts and crafts? In Germany, figurines of pigs are molded out of marzipan to offer as gifts for the New Year.
Homemade Party Snacks
Everyone loves special treats for a party. Make individual pizzas and let kids add all their favorite toppings themselves. For a little more fun, have everyone top their pizza in the shape of a clock for the New Year’s Eve countdown. Parents might enjoy real sushi for a special celebratory dinner, but some kids will prefer making candy sushi as a fun activity, and it only requires three ingredients: Rice Krispies treats or marshmallows, Swedish fish and sour belts. Decorating sugar cookies is another fun activity the entire family will enjoy. Use fireworks, a clock or the sparkly countdown ball drop for inspiration.
Family Slumber Party
One of the most fun things to do with kids on New Year’s Eve is to plan a family slumber party in the living room. Put on matching pajamas and build a fort out of pillows and blankets. Make hot cocoa, play games and share resolutions while you stay up to watch the big ball drop at Times Square at the stroke of midnight. Introduce the kids to a fun new dinner activity like trying cheese fondue with a dessert of chocolate fondue. Bake cookies together or nibble on party favorite snacks all night long.
Making a special countdown is one of the most memorable New Year’s activities for toddlers and this can be done as a Noon Year’s Eve as well, so that the little ones are in bed well before midnight. Fill the living room with alarm clocks set to go off at the stroke of 12 or pin balloons to the wall for kids to pop every hour until the celebratory countdown at noon (or midnight). Another activity to make the New Year celebration with kids special is to blow up balloons ahead of time then surprise kids with the flooding of a balloon drop in your own home.
Who doesn’t love a party?! Set up a hot cocoa station, decorate the house, dress up and blast the tunes for a celebratory dance party at home. Let everyone take a turn playing DJ and decide what music to play. Turn out the lights and pass around glow sticks or head outside with sparklers and firecrackers for an extra fun time in the dark. Use noisemakers to get loud at countdown time, and streamers or confetti poppers to make New Year’s Eve with kids extra special.
New Year’s Eve celebrations will be smaller this year, but that doesn’t have to stop the party! Set up a time to video chat via Facetime or Zoom with friends and family across the globe. Get dressed up or treat it like a photobooth with fun NYE props. Fun filters can also add to the festive spirit of a shared countdown celebration as the ball drops at midnight.
Make an end-of-year recap or interview video with the family. Use a list of questions for everyone to answer or just have kids share a funny or significant memory from the past year. Kids can come up with their own silly questions and really put parents on the spot to come up with answers of their own. Share your most embarrassing memory or your biggest accomplishment of the year. Play the videos next year when you celebrate again or whenever you want to share a happy memory.
Create a Time Capsule
Use the end of year celebration to document everything memorable about 2020 – the good and the bad. Kids and parents will have fun gathering special items that can be stored in a box to be stowed away in the attic or buried in the back yard. Gather up memorable items such as collectors’ cards for baseball or Pokemon, small toys, drawings, a mixtape of 2020’s greatest hits, photographs and a letter to your future selves. Store the box somewhere out of the way and come back to it in the future to reminisce about the past.
When trying to come up with some New Year’s Eve ideas with kids, check your local news sources to see if there are any other local social distanced events scheduled for kids and families to enjoy over the holiday together. A simple search in your area for “kids NYE events” will display all the activities planned at your local zoo or park for New Year’s Eve events for kids.
With so many things to do as a family, New Year’s Eve with kids is a special time to create memories and start new family traditions. Make 2020 end on a sweet note for kids this year.