Celebrating New Year's Eve with Children

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Starting the year together as a family can be fun and doesn’t have to involve waiting around until midnight. You can have your very own ball dropping to ring in the New Year with a few kid-friendly activities.

  1. Set your clocks ahead a few hours so you can have a countdown to midnight without having your kids up past their bedtime.
  2. Make a New Year’s buffet made up of your children’s favorite finger foods.
  3. Have a board game challenge. Set up board game stations around your house. Play one round at each game and keep the night moving with everyone having a turn to play their favorite game.
  4. Spend some time sharing as a family your new year’s resolutions. You can make a special new year’s resolution jar where each member writes down their resolution and puts it in the jar. Throughout the year you can pull out the jar and remember the one thing you want to do that year to improve yourself.
  5. Create your own ball to drop from a stairway or have an adult stand on a chair and drop it. All you have to do is blow up a balloon and decorate it with glitter glue for a sparkly New Year’s Eve ball drop at “midnight”.
  6. Make your own noise makers (craft below) and crowns to wear at your countdown.

Her is a fun DIY New Year’s Eve noise maker for your family that you may remember from your kindergarten days. 🙂

Materials you will need:

  • Empty plastic water bottle or dish soap bottle
  • Beans, beads or other items to place inside (be sure these are not accessible to children  under 3 years of age)
  • 1 sheet white tissue paper
  • Scraps of tissue paper in various colors, cut into small squares
  • Ribbons
  • Non-toxic glue
  • Water
  • Scissors for adult use only


  1. Place a handful of beads or beans inside the clean, dry water/soap bottle. Run some glue around the mouth of the bottle and replace the cap.
  2. Make a mixture of 1/2 white craft glue and 1/2 water that will be enough to cover the bottle a few times over.
  3. Tear white tissue paper into large chunks, approximately 4”x2”.
  4. Paint a small section of the outside of the water bottle with the glue mixture. Place a torn piece of white tissue paper onto the glue mixture and paint over it with the glue mixture. Repeat this process, covering the entire bottle with 2-3 coats of white.
  5. Apply small colorful squares of tissue paper randomly over the white tissue paper to resemble confetti.
  6. Cut ribbon and carefully tie one of the pieces around the neck of the bottle. Repeat with other lengths of ribbon. Use scissors to cut each length to about 4” hanging length, and then cut upwards into thin strips.  Allow to dry for several hours.

What ideas do you have to ring in the New Year with your children?

16 Responses to “Celebrating New Year's Eve with Children”

  1. Kelly D. December 29, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    I love the make your own ball drop & noisemakers. My children will love trying those this year! Thanks for the great ideas!

  2. Mary December 29, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    I love the idea of celebrating New Year’s with the kids. We’ve always stayed home and gone to bed (or fallen asleep before the ball drops) or gotten a babysitter but we’ve never really made a big deal about it with the kids. We’ll definitely be doing the board game idea, though we probably won’t get past UNO. That’s the hit holiday game this year.

  3. MichelleH December 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    have fun ringing in the new year with your kids!

  4. MichelleH December 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    Thanks Kelly! Have fun!

  5. Jenny Lloyd December 29, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    I love all the fun ideas for celebrating New Years with kids. We are planning a New Years party with our friends and we all have kids that must be in bed way before midnight. I will for sure be using some and possibly all these ideas at our party.

  6. meredith December 30, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    make new years at 8pm! jk, but seriously – growing up new years was not something my parents celebrated, so its tough to think of how to celebrate it with kids. plus im not going to be able to make it to midnight either!

  7. Gianna December 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    What good ideas!

  8. Carmen December 30, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    I remember parties my parents had when we were kids. We wore name tags with a Clock drawn on them. For 1 Hour no one could say the word “TIME” if they did, the first person that heard you say it got your clock. At the end of the hour the person with the most clocks won a prize. It’s amazing how many “Times” you use the word “Time” in conversation!!

  9. MichelleH December 30, 2010 at 7:56 pm #

    That sounds fun & challenging!

  10. MichelleH December 30, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    Have fun Jenny!

  11. Kim M December 30, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    In our family we all have small children so no one really celebrates the new year. Like your idea of moving the clocks ahead a few hours. Maybe next year we will all get together and have a family party.

  12. MichelleH January 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    Sounds like a great idea to include all your family!

  13. Amanda D January 4, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    I had more fun with my boys celebrating New Years than any other in my past. We had a day long “party” – we put up streamers EVERYWHERE (the cats loved that!), had party hats, noise makers, and small fireworks that shot confetti. We made finger food and played games all day. We went for a “joy ride” at 10pm and got Blizzards, at midnight we watched the ball drop and then ran outside to shoot off some confetti and whoop and holler at the top of our lungs (we live in the country, no one was disturbed!:)

    We had a blast and they can’t wait to do it again next year, in fact, they keep putting their party hats back on and yelling, “party time again!” 🙂

  14. MichelleH January 5, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    We love your creativity Amanda! How fun! We are sure your boys will always remember that!

  15. Leah Walker January 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    What fantastic ideas! I wish I had found this post a week or so ago. Lol. I absolutely love the one about setting the clock forward. I am bookmarking this page to save for next year. Thanks so much.

  16. MichelleH January 10, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    You are welcome Leah! Just think you are already a year ahead for planning NYE 2011/2012 🙂