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How to Throw a New Year’s Eve Party with Kids

How to Throw a New Year’s Eve Party with Kids
kids on new years

By Stephanie Jarrett, Everything Arlington 

It’s safe to say that New Year’s Eve will probably look a bit different this year. And let’s be honest… none of us will be sad to see 2020 go, am I right? It’s time to break out the streamers and get onto planning your New Year’s Eve Party. No need to hire a sitter for the kids – just celebrate with them! My girls love putting on glitzy skirts, drinking sparkling grape juice out of plastic champagne flutes and setting goals for the New Year, just like Mom. You too can easily throw a great party from home that will have everyone in the household excited for the midnight bell to toll! 

Make Your Own New Year’s Eve Noisemakers

My kids really enjoy making noisemakers to shake and rattle when the ball drops. Just grab some dry beans and a paper plate. Fold the plate in half and staple shut except for one small side, so kids can drop in 20-30 beans. After they fill the folded, stapled plate with beans, staple the plate shut entirely. Then let them decorate the plate with stickers and markers and enjoy shaking their hearts out as midnight approaches.  

Another fun noisemaker kids can DIY involves craft bells and pipe cleaners. Grab any extra small craft bells you have left over from your Christmas decorations as well as a few pipe cleaners. Thread the bells onto the pipe cleaners, leaving several centimeters between bells. After you’ve added 6 or 7 bells to the pipe cleaner, wind the length around a popsicle or craft stick, leaving the end clear to hold and shake at midnight. Voila! Another easy craft to ring in the New Year.  

Create a Photo Booth or Selfie Station

Set the scene for the perfect photo right in your own living room to commemorate your New Year’s Eve Party. Tape up a backdrop of some sort in a common area in your house. Try solid color or patterned wrapping paper (metallics are perfect here) or a length of fabric and painter’s tape. Set some fun photo props in a bucket near the station. Include sunglasses, hats, and headbands, etc. – the sillier the better. Then get snapping!  

Play the Plastic Wrap Gift Game

This goofy game is my girls’ most favorite part of our New Year’s Eve parties.  

First, gather your supplies. You’ll need: 

  • A bunch of small trinkets your kids love and use. Items I like to use include lip balms, earrings, small bath bombs, dollar bills, fun-sized candy bars and more.  
  • One “grand prize” for the game – I usually use a $10 gift card to Starbucks or Target.  
  • Two or three rolls of plastic or Saran wrap 
  • Two oven mitts and a set of dice 

To prepare the game: 

  1. Start with your grand prize and wrap it in the plastic wrap several times.  
  2. Keep wrapping the plastic wrap, adding more trinkets as you wind the plastic wrap around.  
  3. Keep going until you’ve wrapped all the gifts in the plastic wrap. My end result is usually the size of a basketball, sometimes even bigger!  

To play the game: 

  1. Have players sit in a circle.  
  2. The youngest player starts by putting on the oven mitts and attempting to unwrap the ball ball.  
  3. The player to that player’s left rolls the dice.  
  4. The youngest player tries to unwrap the plastic wrap ball while the second player rolls the dice. 
  5. When the second player rolls doubles, the youngest must pass on the plastic wrap ball to the next person and the youngest player must roll the dice.  
  6. Any prize that falls out during the youngest’s players unwrapping is hers to keep.  
  7. Keep going around the circle until all prizes have been won!  
  8. Try not to laugh too hard watching everyone try to undo plastic wrap with oven mitts on! 

Create a Dance Party Playlist

Before your New Year’s Eve party, ask everyone to give you her two or three favorite songs to rock out to. Then, create a playlist for dancing as the clock approaches midnight. We like to include tracks from Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, Ariana Grande and other favorite performers. Any song with a great beat for moving and grooving works! 

Write Down Your Goals for 2021

Before the clock strikes midnight, take a few minutes to think about your goals for 2021. Talk to your kids briefly about New Year’s resolutions, how to set them and talk about the importance of follow-through. Set the example by writing down your goals on a large poster board. Maybe you want to start running three times per week or reading two novels per month. Help your kids write down their goals, too, and then hang them in a spot in the house where you see them daily to remind yourself of the goals you set for 2021. 

Whip Up a Few Festive Treats  

Festive pinwheel sandwiches are fun to make for New Year’s Eve Parties. Simply spread mayo, mustard or dressing on a tortilla, layer on your kiddo’s favorite sandwich meats, veggies and cheeses (I usually use turkey and sliced cheddar), roll tight and then slice into pinwheels. When you display the pinwheels, write out the numbers 2021!  

Cookie balls are also a favorite treat for our parties because the kids make these themselves! Cream cheese and Oreos, what’s not to love?   

Round out your holiday spread with a healthier option: grapes. A friend told us years ago that eating 12 grapes at midnight is good luck for the coming year, a tradition we love having at our house! I make sure we have at least 12 grapes for each party attendee.  

Lastly, serve some sparkling grape juice in plastic champagne flutes for the kids. Or make Shirley temples with Sprite and cherry juice or other sweet juice. Drop a few raspberries or cranberries in the flute for an extra-festive flair.  

Consider a Noon Year’s Eve Party for Littles

My kids are older now (don’t remind me that I don’t have babies anymore!), so making it to midnight is their favorite part of a New Year’s Eve Party. But, when the kids were little, I used to throw them a party in the morning, including all of the above festivities. We would simply count down to noon instead of midnight! This meant my kids could still celebrate the fun holiday without the nightmare meltdowns that would follow a late night. Afterwards, my husband and I could kick back on the couch together and watch the ball drop when the clock struck midnight, celebrating with a glass of champagne while the kids slept soundly.  


Enjoy your family’s New Year’s celebration, however you decide to plan it.  

About The Author

Casey Christiansen

Casey supports the PR team at Zulily.

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