15 Ways to Have the Best New Year’s Eve Ever with Your Kids
By Janine Clements, 21st Century Mama
Once upon a time, I used to spend New Year’s Eve partying the night away. That was a long time ago, before kids, or at least when we lived near the grandparents and they could babysit. It was often overrated, and by the time you have to pay double-time for a babysitter, get taxis, and event tickets, you’ll know how expensive it can end up being. These days, we usually celebrate New Year’s Eve with our kids. We usually throw a small party with a few other families and I love it.
Whether or not you usually ring in the New Year with your kids, you could end up being together this year because of COVID restrictions. However, I’m sure everyone wants to celebrate the end of 2020 and it can still be a whole lot of fun with your kids. Check out our 15 tips for the best New Year’s Eve with kids ever.
1. Put on Your Best Clothes
If you want to celebrate properly, New Year’s Eve is the perfect excuse to get dressed up, no matter what you’re doing. Ditch jeans and sweaters in favor of your most sparkly dress and heels. Your kids will love putting on their best partywear, too. Not only will dressing up leave you feeling fab, but it will also make celebrating New Year’s Eve with your kids feel special.
2. Have a Social-Distancing Gathering
My favorite way to celebrate New Year’s Eve with my kids is to invite two or three other families over. That way, the grownups can enjoy themselves while the kids are entertained. But this year, things will be different because of the COVID epidemic. If you’re in a bubble with another family, then you could do something together. If it’s not too cold, have a socially-distanced firepit with s’mores, and this way everyone stays outside, which is considered a safer strategy.
3. Arrange a Sleepover
Sleepovers are a fun way to celebrate the New Year with kids. Set them up with sleeping bags, pillows, a good movie, and some popcorn, and they will think it’s the best night ever.
4. Play Family Games
If you want ideas for things to do with kids on New Year’s Eve, bring out some family games. It can be even more fun if you have other families joining you. Charades, the Accent Game, or Categories are all crowd-pleasing options. To liven things up, enjoy a game of Twister (make sure all participants are healthy and being safe). Another great option is to plan an indoor scavenger hunt, as this will keep your kiddos occupied for a while.
5. Stock up with Party Supplies
Make the party go off with a bang and stock up on New Year’s Eve-themed party gear including party hats, glasses, party poppers, mini bottles of bubbles and silly string (if you dare). Decorate the room with streamers and balloons. If you’re feeling creative, you can make hats and garlands — there’s plenty of tutorials you can watch online.
6. Create a Signature Mocktail
While the grown-ups might toast the incoming year with champagne, a fun thing to do with kids on New Year’s Eve is to make special fizzy mocktails. You could even create a mocktail bar complete with sparkling apple cider, juices and berries. Use plastic champagne flutes if you’re worried about your glass ones getting broken.
7. Add Some Apps
You need some apps to go with the fizz. Appetizers, that is. When you’re celebrating New Year’s Eve with kids, opt for a variety of simple savory and sweet appetizers and snacks including kid-approved options such as pigs in blankets, chips and dips and chocolate fondue.
8. Throw a Karaoke Party
If you need inspiration for New Year’s Eve activities for kids, create a playlist with a mix of all your family’s favorite tunes. Add a microphone and you’ve got yourselves a karaoke party. If you don’t have an actual microphone for belting out songs, a wooden spoon or a hairbrush can make a great stand-in. Singing contests with small prizes will be a big hit.
9. Set Family New Year’s Resolutions and Goals for the Next Year
What’s New Year’s Eve without setting some resolutions for the following year? This is a great New Year’s activity to do with kids. Each person can write down two or three of their own, and you can all decide on some family ones, whether it’s scheduling a weekly games night, family meetings or going on vacation to a destination everyone is excited to travel to.
10. Capture the Moment
Another popular New Year’s Eve idea with kids is taking photos of the celebrations, which will make great additions to the family album. Snap some selfies or get creative and set up a homemade photo booth with props such as hats, sunglasses and costume jewelry. You could add a fun backdrop or a New Year’s Eve portrait frame to hold up as you snap. Set up your printer or just review the images in a slideshow.
11. Create a Time Capsule
An extra-special way to create memories when you’re spending New Year’s Eve with kids is by filling a mason jar with keepsakes from the previous year. You can download a template with questions to fill in and include it in the jar. Don’t forget to add a family photo to the time capsule before you seal it up.
12. Countdown to the New Year
When celebrating New Year’s Eve with kids, it’s exciting for them to be able to be part of the New Year countdown. It’s the ideal time to make lots of noise, so hand out whistles and party poppers. If you’re okay with your kids staying up until midnight, they’ll love watching the ball drop at Times Square on the television. But if you have toddlers or preschoolers, you’ll probably want to get them to bed early to avoid overtired youngsters the next day. Netflix offers fake New Year’s Eve countdowns with different characters from their favorite shows, so you can trick them into thinking 8 pm is midnight. When it’s over, put them in bed and let your hair down.
13. Organize a Balloon Drop
Whether your children are young and you want them in bed before midnight, or they are old enough to stay up late, a balloon drop is the perfect way to make sure your New Year’s Eve with kids goes off with a bang. You can buy a balloon drop set with everything you need or go for a DIY option (there’s plenty of ideas on the internet). When midnight strikes, the kids will be so excited to see all the balloons floating down (confetti optional).
14. Watch Fireworks
There’s nothing like fireworks to announce the start of the new year. If you’re spending New Year’s Eve with your kids and the town is putting on a firework display, wrap up warm and head out to watch them. Avoid the crowds and find a quiet spot to. Or, if it’s not too cold, set up a display in your backyard. Check state laws first, as different states have different rules as to what is allowed.
15. Family Movie Night
Sometimes there’s no better way to spend New Year’s Eve with your kids than to put on your PJs, cozy up on the sofa with some hot chocolate, and watch a great family movie. Suggestions for what to watch for 2020 include Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, Croods 2, and Peter Rabbit 2, as well as favorites such as Elf, A Christmas Story, Ghostbusters or Home Alone.
Whatever you decide, the memories of a fun New Year’s Eve even in challenging times will resonate with your kids for years to come.