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How to Celebrate New Year’s Eve With Kids?

Who says New Year’s Eve is only for grown-ups? This party idea countdown is all about ringing in the good times with the kiddos. 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:

  1. Hold a mock New Year’s Eve for young children. If the kids at your celebration are too young to stay up until midnight, you can have a mock countdown at a more suitable time. Simply change the clocks so that they will strike 12 when it is actually only 8 or 9 p.m. Hand out noisemakers, party hats, and confetti to toss when the countdown ends. This is a great way for kids to be a part of the celebration but still get to bed on time.
  2. Maybe you can’t have a ball drop in your home, but you can have a bunch of balloons drop as you ring in the New Year. Use a balloon drop kit, or make your own by filling some netting or a plastic tablecloth with inflated balloons. Tape the balloon-filled net to the ceiling in the party room and release them when guests reach the end of their midnight countdown.
  3. Another fun idea using balloons is to have each child write a resolution or wish for the New Year on a piece of paper. Have them each fold their paper and place it inside a balloon, then fill the balloons with helium, tie them with ribbon, and have the kids release them into the air as the clock strikes 12.
  4. 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
  5. Kids want to be a part of the New Year’s Eve toast, too. Why not let them indulge with a fancy champagne flute or wine glass – made of plastic and filled with non-alcoholic drinks, of course. You can pour ginger ale, a kid-friendly punch or even milk into their fancy beverage cups, but my favorite is warm cocoa (hot cocoa that has been allowed to cool just a bit), topped with marshmallows. Instead of an adult beverage bar, set up a fun ice cream or hot cocoa bar for the kids.
  6. 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.
  7. Let siblings have a slumber party with one another in the living room. Pitch a tent if you have enough space. New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to throw a slumber party. Guests can gather in their jammies and ring in the New Year from their sleeping bags, or even from a tent pitched on the living room floor. For girls, combine some traditional slumber party makeover activities with the camp out idea to throw a New Year’s Eve glamping bash.
  8. With party hats on and noisemakers in hand, the kids at your party are practically begging for a photo-op. A photo booth is a fun addition to any party, but especially exciting on New Year’s Eve. Whether you make your own booth, rent one or hire a professional photographer, these photo booth party ideas just may make your event the highlight of the year.
  9. 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!
  10. Throw a Bingo party. Use things like noisemakers and party hats as prizes.
  11. With party hats on and noisemakers in hand, the kids at your party are practically begging for a photo-op. A photo booth is a fun addition to any party, but especially exciting on New Year’s Eve. Whether you make your own booth, rent one or hire a professional photographer, these photo booth party ideas just may make your event the highlight of the year.
  12. Host a hat-themed party, where everyone must wear a goofy-looking hat to get in the door.
  13. 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.
  14. 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!
  15. Clear some space for a dance floor, turn up the music and enjoy some dance party games.
  16. 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.

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