Whether you could not find a sitter for New Year’s Eve or you do not feel like fighting holiday traffic, you can still have a fun, kid-friendly celebration. The key is to keep the kids occupied as the clock counts down. We have gathered a few family-friendly ideas to help you ring in 2020.
Countdown the Hours
There are so many fun ways to help kids mark time until the new year arrives. Pick the time you want to start (and end) and count down the hours by opening a bag, package, or even popping a balloon. Mark each container with the time and include a fun activity for each hour. This need not be expensive. Here are some ideas of what to stuff the bags with:
Party hats and noisemakers
A deck of cards and game instructions
Pens and paper to write New Year’s Resolutions
Even if it is just you and the kiddos, why not have a photo booth? No need for an elaborate set-up, tacking up a sheet or plastic tablecloth to the wall to use as a background works well. Gather fun props from around the house, such as hats and sunglasses, or buy a New Year’s Eve photo booth prop set.
Create DIY noisemakers for midnight from objects around the house. Decorate empty, lidded canisters such as butter containers, coffee cans, Pringles cans, etc., and add dried beans or rice to make shakers. Or thread large jingle bells onto pipe cleaners, then twist the pipe cleaner together at the ends for a jingle bracelet.
Younger kids love to watch bubbles grow when vinegar is added to baking soda. You can glam up this simple science experiment by mixing glitter or confetti to the baking soda. To do this, mix baking soda and glitter or confetti in a shallow bowl (be sure to use plastic confetti, not paper). When kids add drops of vinegar with droppers to the soda mixture, it will produce sparkling bubbles. If you do not have droppers, kids can pour small amounts of vinegar over the baking soda with cups.
Bake a Clock
If your kids love baking, one fun and delicious activity is to make a countdown clock. You can do this by baking cookies or cupcakes and arranging the treats in a circle on a round serving platter or pizza pan. Decorate each with the numbers of the clock and use licorice sticks such as Twizzlers as clock hands to mark the time.
Balloons, Balloons, Balloons
It’s not a party without balloons, right? Confetti-filled balloons will brighten up your space; then, you can pop them at midnight for a confetti shower! Make your own or buy them on Amazon. You can fill them with helium or not – either way, the kids will love them. If you really want to wow the kids, stage your own balloon drop! You can make one by taping a plastic party tablecloth filled with balloons to your ceiling or buy a kit on Amazon.
Milk and Cookie Cocktails
Every party needs snacks! Serve up milk and cookies in style by coating the rims of small glasses, or even wine glasses, with colorful sprinkles. Spread a thin layer of honey or corn syrup on a plate, and then pour out sprinkles onto a separate plate. Dip the rims of glasses in honey or corn syrup then dredge in the sprinkles (Leave the glass upside down in the sprinkles for a few minutes so that the sprinkles do not slide down the glass). Cool the glasses in the fridge, fill with cold milk, and serve with cookies.
Family Time Capsule
Putting a time capsule together as a part of your New Year’s Eve activities can be an excellent way to reflect on the past year. It can be as simple or elaborate as you wish! Grab a shoebox or big manila envelope and gather your time capsule items. Here are some ideas for what to include: your child’s handprint, a family picture, and an interview (Question your kids about their current likes and dislikes, life goals. It will be fun in the moment and joy to look back on next year. You can Google “interview questions for kids” for ideas on what questions to ask – some bloggers even offer printable Q-and-A forms). Once finished, tuck away your time capsule and open next year.
New Year’s Eve Picture Books
The night can get long, and a quiet break for storytime could be great for everyone. Try one of these holiday-themed books to balance out the activities:
The Night Before New Year’s by Natasha Wing: The kids want to stay up until midnight, but can they make it?
Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller is a fun way to explain New Year’s Resolutions to children.
Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport: This book introduces kids to the way people celebrate New Year’s in different cultures.
Whatever you choose to do with your family on the eve of the New Year, you can make sure it is memorable with these sure-fire party pleasers.
By Tiffany Doerr Guerzon