10 Cute Ways to Celebrate New Year's Eve With Your Kids

It’s time to ring in the new year! But let’s be honest, midnight is way past your kids’ bedtime. Here’s how to celebrate together ahead of time.
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profile picture of Christin Perry
Updated December 11, 2020
family gathered outside during the holidays
Image: Wandermama Photography

Please note this article was written prior to COVID-19. Life’s big and little moments deserve to be celebrated even during a pandemic, but please keep the CDC’s safety guidlelines in mind as you plan your celebrations.

There’s a good chance your kiddos will be fast asleep when the clock strikes midnight this New Year’s Eve, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help usher in the new year! There are lots of fun ways to include your kids in your celebrations or help them make some of their own memories. This year, resolve to make your kids’ New Year’s festivities something special that they’ll never forget. Need some ideas? Just keep scrolling.

Create a Time Capsule

What better way to commemorate the past year than to make a family time capsule together? There are tons of different ways to do this fun New Year’s Eve activity—meaning you and your kiddos have free reign in coming up with creative ideas. Whether you make handprint art, have the kids answer a questionnaire or include photos and small trinkets they hold dear, it’ll be a blast to reminisce together many years from now.

Host a ‘Noon’ Year’s Eve Party

Here’s a great option if you’ll be leaving the kids home in the evening on December 31: Throw a “Noon” Year’s Eve party! Hosting a kid-friendly soiree at noon instead of midnight is not only fun for them, but it also gives you time to clean up and get ready for your own evening plans.

Mix Up Kid-Friendly Drinks

Whether you’re throwing a New Year’s Eve party at home or just laying low with the family, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy a festive beverage that’s off-limits for the little ones. No worries—there are tons of super-fun, kid-friendly mocktails you can make together to ring in the new year. One of our faves? These candy creations from The Everyday Mom Life blog. Using nothing more than gummy bears and sparkling grape juice, this festive drink lets the kids feel like part of the celebration.

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Play Balloon Party Games

If it’s a party, you’ve got to have balloons! Little ones love them, and they’re the perfect way to incorporate some kid-friendly activities into this traditionally adults-only holiday. Depending on how much space the kids will have, there are tons of things you can do with balloons on New Year’s Eve. You could play some fun balloon party games, like balloon hockey or hot potato, or do a balloon drop at whatever time you’ve chosen to represent midnight. (How cute is this balloon drop from The Suburban Mom blog?) For a special surprise, fill some balloons with a small trinket or a few dollars, then blow them up and let each kid pop one at “midnight” and keep the treat they find inside.

Have a Costume Party

If you’ll be heading out for a black-tie event this New Year’s Eve, you don’t have to feel guilty leaving the kiddos with a sitter. Instead, help them host their own fancy celebration before you head out. Break out the sequins, top hats and feather boas and let your little ones go crazy getting all gussied up to ring in the new year. Bonus points for creating a photo booth with cute New Year’s props!

Attend Your Community’s ‘First Night’ Celebration

If you’re itching to hit the town with your kids on New Year’s Eve, check into whether your neighborhood has any kid-friendly events on the calendar. Lots of places host an annual “first night” celebration, which occurs way before the clock strikes twelve. These events often incorporate fun, family-friendly things like parades, face painting and live performances. Most even have an official “ball-dropping” event, which usually occurs earlier than midnight so kids can take part.

Make DIY Poppers

What’s the best way to celebrate New Year’s Eve with kids? Party crackers, of course! Also called poppers, these are a super-fun way to ring in the new year. We’ve found a simple DIY tutorial so you and the kids can make your own. Courtesy of Honey + Lime, these come together with basic household supplies like tape, tissue paper and toilet paper rolls. The kids will have a blast decorating them, and trust us—you’ll be peppered with questions of “is it time yet?”

Set Up a Kid-Friendly ‘Bar’

Parents aren’t the only ones who get to enjoy an open bar on New Year’s Eve! Kids can partake too when you set up a festive, kid-friendly drinks bar. Ideas we love include a hot chocolate bar, a chocolate fondue bar with tons of fruit for dipping, or an ice cream bar complete with all the toppings they can dream of.

Watch a Countdown on Netflix

If you have a Netflix account, you probably know by now that many of your kids’ favorite TV show characters host a mock “countdown” to the new year that you can play anytime you’d like. Simply decide what time the countdown will happen for your kids, cue up the video and let them countdown with it. Then it’s off to bed, and they’re none the wiser!

Family Movie Night

Planning to skip the New Year’s Eve festivities this year? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are plenty of ways to usher in the new year, and some or more low key than others. One of our favorites? Family movie night! Break out those family holiday PJs you thought would never be worn again, make some hot chocolate and enjoy a movie together.

Published December 2019

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