Funny hats, making annoying loud noises, tossing confetti, and staying up past bedtime? It’s as if New Year’s Eve is a kid’s dream come true even though it’s traditionally more of a holiday for grownups. Whether you are going out or not, here are ten fun ways to include and usher in the new year with children.
1. Celebrate at Noon, or 5PM, or whenever - Little ones can’t hang until midnight (or you don’t want them up that late)? Celebrate the New Year earlier in the day. We’ve listed plenty of places that are hosting kid-friendly New Year’s Eve parties throughout the day in Philly and the suburbs. You could even sneak in a geography lesson and pick another city in the world to celebrate the New Year’s with. For example, it’ll be 6PM here in Philly when Paris rings in the New Year!
2. Do a Bubble Wrap Stomp – Tape sheets of bubble wrap to the floor or a driveway. The more, the better! Mixed sized bubbles work great, too. When the New Year’s countdown concludes, have all the kids jump, dance, and stomp on the bubble wrap to make loud popping sounds like fireworks.
3. Play Clock-Themed Games – Amy over at The Idea Room came up with a simple DIY board game she calls, Roll Around the Clock. She shares easy instructions to make your own game and directions to play. You could also play Hide and Seek with a Ticking Clock. Simply hide a ticking click somewhere and after the clock is hidden, gather the kids and set them off to find it. To make it easier, set the clock’s alarm to go off 5 to 10 minutes after it is hidden. The finder gets to hide the clock next.
4. Craft Your Own Noisemaker - There are tons of noisemaker craft ideas out there. We love this one made from a disposable pie tin filled with dry beans or rice and decorated with shiny stickers, ribbons, and bells. Of course, if you don’t have time to craft a noise maker you can always let the kids bang pots and pans which is how we loved ringing in the New Year growing up in Philly.
5. Create a 2012 Time Capsule – Courtney uses old Quaker Oats canisters. Each family member contributes a small memento to this year’s capsule and then they open up a capsule from 5 years ago and reminisce. If you want to make it easy for the kids, have them fill out this printable “What a Year It’s Been” resolution sheet from Thirty Handmade Days.
6. Make Fancy Kid-Friendly Drinks – Serve sparkling juices in plastic champagne flutes (check the dollar store or a party store) and drop in some fresh fruit, like strawberries, for added nutrition and fun! Or have ingredients on hand for non-alcoholic mixed drinks like Shirley Temples and Roy Rogers so that the kids can feel fancy at their New Year’s Eve party.
7. Learn how to say Happy New Year in other languages – Challenge the kids to learn to say Happy New Years in as many languages as possible. Make signs or cards that show how to say Happy New Year is written in different languages and include a phonetic pronunciation so you can practice how to say the phrases. Play a game and have the kids challenge adults to guess each language and country. Bonne Année!
8. Make New Year Resolutions – Help kids make achievable resolutions for the coming year. Some ideas are: do homework on time, make friends with another kid who needs a friend, try a new activity or sport, try 10 new foods, eat one veggie every day, read a new book series, etc. If you are feeling crafty, create easy Resolution Magnets for the fridge with the kids. Or use the printable from #5.
9. Set up a Balloon Drop – You can DIY with a paper table cloth or simply fill a drawstring trash bag it with balloons and hang it upside down. Then let the balloons shower down on the kids whenever you decide to celebrate the New Year. You can also purchase small balloon drop kits relatively cheap.
10. Create a New Year’s Eve Bath Party – Just before bed, give the kids a New Year’s Eve party in the bath tub and then safely tuck them in their beds. (Bath water color can be changed with simple food coloring, but colorful fizzing bath tablets are way more fun!) Hopefully, by this point, you aren’t wiped out and will get to stay up or go out and enjoy a grown-up celebration.