New Year’s Eve Ideas for Families
Rejoice! You have almost survived the holidays with kids. Now, you just have to figure out what to do for New Year’s Eve.
If you have trouble staying up until the ball drops, don’t worry. If you have children, you have an excuse to go to bed early on New Year’s Eve. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t celebrate. These New Year’s Eve ideas for families are fun for every age, and they won’t keep you out partying past midnight.
Make Easy Appetizers
Don’t stress out about making the best New Year’s recipes this year. The kids won’t notice all of your hard work. Instead, serve up finger foods that require minimal prep and even less cleanup.
Fondue is always an easy dish. Have a pot of cheese fondue going, and place bowls of grapes, apples, bread chunks, roasted baby potatoes, bacon and pickles nearby. You can have another pot with chocolate fondue available for dessert. Some of the best dipping treats for chocolate fondue are strawberries, pineapples, bananas, marshmallows and Oreo cookies.
A hot chocolate bar is always a hit too. Keep a large batch of hot chocolate warm on the stove. Provide mugs for everyone as well as toppings, such as candy canes, chocolate chips, marshmallows, sprinkles and whipped cream.
Some other ideas for kid-friendly New Year’s Eve recipes include French toast sticks, sandwiches cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters, fruit with marshmallow cream cheese dip, Chex mix, cocktail meatballs and quesadilla triangles.
Toast With Milk and Fortune Cookies
Start a new tradition with the kids. Buy a bunch of fortune cookies, and serve them with glasses of milk. You can add sprinkles to the milk for some festive fun. When you decide to count down to the New Year, have everyone read their fortunes aloud.
If you don’t want to use fortune cookies, round up any extra Christmas cookies that you still have lying around. This is a great way to get rid of them once and for all so that you can start your New Year’s resolutions on the right foot.
Decide When to Count Down
Speaking of the count down, you certainly don’t have to wait until midnight. You might have a daytime party and count down at noon, or you can set an arbitrary time to ring in the New Year.
If you don’t want to host a party at your house, look for kid-friendly activities around town to attend. The Children’s Museum in Wilmington, NC, holds a juice toast and confetti toss at noon on New Year’s Eve.
If you hold your countdown at home, you can make it extra special with a balloon drop. Buy a bag with a ripcord to secure the balloons to the ceiling. When it’s time to celebrate, drop the balloons. By the time the kids have worked out their energy by playing with the balloons, they’ll be exhausted enough to go to bed.
Make Countdown Bags
If you’re planning to chill out at home with the kids, keep them busy all day and evening with New Year’s Eve countdown bags. Grab some white or brown paper bags, and draw a clock face on each of them. Indicate each hour by drawing the hands appropriately on the clock.
On the hour, open the corresponding bag. Inside should be instructions for an activity. Some ideas include:
- Go for a walk with the family
- Watch a holiday movie
- Make a New Year’s craft
- Play a game
- Have a dance party
- Toast to the new year
- Take pictures using photo booth props
This is a great way to keep kids busy if you’re visiting family or having friends over to celebrate. Just when they’re about to tell you that they’re bored, you can hand them another bag to keep them excited.
Create a Time Capsule
Remember the past year with joy by filling a mason jar with your favorite mementos from the previous 12 months. Put your favorite photos inside, and ask the kids to find some small trinkets that meant something to them throughout the year.
They might add their pet rock, an eraser a friend at school gave them or a note that you left in your child’s lunch box one day.
You’ll love looking back at the past years and talking about the fun times that you’ve had together.
Don’t Forget to Dress Up
Whether your children wear their favorite princess dress or superhero costume, encourage them to dress up to celebrate the New Year. You can wear some fancy clothes too.
Your kids will have fun seeing their parents dressed up for the night even if you’re just staying in. Grab some props to make your costumes perfect. Party hats and crazy glasses are usually easy to find at this time of year. Your kiddos will think they’re hilarious.
Interview Everyone in the Family
Get your smartphone out and get ready to take some recordings. Set up a spot to sit everyone down, and ask some questions about the year.
Some of the best questions for a New Year’s Eve interview are:
- What’s your favorite color?
- Who is your best friend?
- What is your favorite food?
- What is your favorite memory from the year?
- Did you take any vacations this year? Describe the best one.
- What is the most interesting thing that you learned this year?
After you’ve interviewed the kids, turn the tables and have them interview the adults. You can watch the videos during next year’s New Year’s Eve celebration with the family.
Have a Date Day
If you have trouble staying up until midnight, take your partner out for a special date during the day. Bring your kids to Giggles for up to four hours of childcare—we are open until 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Then, do something special with your sweetheart.
You might want to walk on the beach, reminiscing about the past year and dreaming about the future. You could go to your favorite restaurant for lunch, before it gets packed with partygoers in the evening. Another option is a spa date with a couple’s massage. Or you could just head home to snuggle on the couch without little people asking for snacks.