So you’ve decided to stay up until midnight…with the kids! Take a deep breath. A family New Year’s Eve can be a fun and easy celebration with just a little bit of planning. Check out our fool-proof plan to keep the kids entertained and out of trouble all the way until midnight.
We usually start our official festivities after dinner, around 6pm, but when the kids are getting antsy in the afternoon it’s always a good idea to have a few pre-party activities in your arsenal. Bust out the construction paper and glitter and let’s get crafting!
New Year’s Eve Party Hats
A fun and simple craft that can take as much or as little time as you have available. All you need is construction paper or cardstock, a party hat template, stretchy string or ribbon, and decorating supplies (I used pompoms and paint pens).
Still have more time to fill? Make some festive decor! Paper chains scream holiday celebration and are easy enough to get even the littlest hands involved. They can be made from whatever paper you have on hand, but I fully recommend glittered scrapbooking paper. There is no such thing as too much sparkle for New Year’s Eve.
The Main Event
For the main event, our family favourite has always been a balloon pop countdown. Our countdown runs from 6:00 until midnight, so we use 7 balloons. For each hour of your countdown you’ll need a prize or activity. This is the fun part! Tailor them to your specific family. What do your kids enjoy doing? Did they receive new games or toys for Christmas that would be fun to play? Come up with 7 (or more!) ideas of ways to pass the time until midnight and write them down on small pieces of paper. If you already have New Year’s Eve traditions, consider incorporating them into this fun countdown.
Having trouble coming up with 7 fun and festive ideas? Here’s what I’m using this year:
- Let’s get sticky and make some Party Popcorn
- Get ready for the New Year. Let’s make some Fireworks in a Jar
- What would a celebration be without lots of noise! Noise Maker Craft
- Get your game face on Minute To Win It Games
- It’s getting late. Let’s head into the yard for Glow Stick Ring Toss
- What would New Year’s Eve be without Resolutions
- Our midnight balloon will read “Happy New Year! Get outside and make some NOISE with pots and pans”
Once you’ve decided what your activities will be, roll up the papers and slip them inside some balloons. Blow up the balloons and hang them somewhere prominent; make sure there’s a clock nearby! Write times on the balloons, and when that time comes have the kids pop the balloon and do the activity listed inside. The thrill of popping the balloons will keep everyone excited all night long, and the pre-planned activities will help to pass the time before the new year arrives.
Is midnight too late for your group? Follow the New York City countdown and ring in the new year at 9pm instead.
If you set your own clocks back, you might even fool the kids!