Traditionally, New Year’s Eve is considered a holiday for grownups. True, midnight is past most kids’ bedtimes, but there are still plenty of fun ways to usher in the new year with children.
Here are some fun ideas for creating New Year's Eve traditions for families with kids:
- Hold a mock New Year’s Eve for young children, celebrating at 7 or 8 p.m. instead of midnight.
- Make a ball-shaped piñata that resembles the big ball that drops in New York City. You can even have the kids help you decorate it with paint, sparkly beads and glitter, At midnight, let the kids bang it open.
- Play some of these family-friendly New Year's Eve party games.
- Ask guests to bring as many alarm clocks as they can and set them all to go off at midnight (or earlier, if you’re celebrating a mock New Year). When the alarms start ringing, bang pots and pans, toot horns and make a general ruckus as you hug, kiss and wish everyone a happy year.
- Take a cue from political candidates and do a balloon drop. Suspend a bunch of balloons above the party-goers, then release them at midnight. Or, fill balloons with confetti before you blow them up, then have the kids pop them at 12.
- After the balloons drop, play some of these fun balloon party games.
- Toast each other with sparkling cider, ginger-ale punch or some other bubbly mocktail.
- Instead of an adult beverage bar, set up a fun ice cream or hot cocoa bar for the kids.
- Have the kids spend time scrapbooking their memories from the previous year or making time capsules that will be remain sealed until the children turn 18--or at least until the next New Year's Eve.
- Let siblings have a slumber party with one another in the living room. Pitch a tent if you have enough space.
- Get fancy! Play dress up with young children. Bring out the bowties, high heels, feather boas lipstick and pearls. Make it even more exciting by adding a photo booth!
- Host a board game marathon.
- Craft the night away.
- Throw a Bingo party. Use things like noisemakers and party hats as prizes.
- Host a hat-themed party, where everyone must wear a goofy-looking hat to get in the door.
- Many cities have community-wide “First Night” activities, which are family-friendly, alcohol-free events that usually involve live music, art, crafts and other entertainment and activities. Find out if there’s one near your home.
- Check the family into a hotel for an exciting New Year's Eve slumber party. You can even ring in the new year in the hotel's pool!
- Throw a karaoke or musical video game (such as Rock Band or Guitar Hero) party.
- Clear some space for a dance floor, turn up the music and enjoy some dance party games.
- Hand out glow sticks, turn out the lights and play glow in the dark party games.
- Buy matching pajamas for all family members and have a New Year's Eve pajama party that includes Mom and Dad!
Or, get a babysitter on Dec. 31 instead, then celebrate the new year with the kids on January 1. Make it an annual tradition to host a special breakfast, lunch or brunch with family or friends. At some point, write down resolutions (or goals) and share them aloud with one another.