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New Year’s Eve With Kids: Ideas For A Fun Celebration

After you have kids, New Year’s Eve may not be what it once was – because it’s even better! If you’re looking to celebrate as a family, here are 11 fun ideas for ways to spend New Year’s Eve with kids!

Before having kids, New Year’s Eve may have been a night on the town filled with all kinds of merriment. Once we have kids, however, things change a bit.

Staying up all night partying doesn’t have the same appeal that it once did since it involves finding a sitter, and the kids will wake you up at the crack of dawn on New Year’s Day!

New Year’s Eve might usually be thought of as an “adult holiday,” but there are lots of fun ways to celebrate at home as a whole family so the kids can join in too.

Make it a family-friendly event and create some memories you’ll cherish with these fun ideas for a New Year’s Eve with kids!

New Year’s Eve Party Ideas At Home

Everyone will have a great time ringing in the new year with these family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration ideas!

Multicolored numbers 2022 from kids wooden mosaic isolated on white background. Happy New Year concept with numbers, fir trees and Snowflakes.

1. Celebrate New Year’s Eve At Noon

Our local museum hosts a kid-centric New Year’s Eve bash in the morning so that even the littlest kiddos can join in before nap time.

Check to see if your museum does something similar – or keep it close to home by making your own New Years Eve at noon celebration.

Plan out games, food, an apple juice toast, movies, and of course, plenty of hats and noisemakers!

2. Do Your Midnight Countdown Early 

Instead of celebrating at noon, you could choose to celebrate one hour or several hours before midnight.

Depending on where you live, you could tune into the midnight countdown somewhere else in the world to create that authentic “ringing in the new year” vibe. 

For example, if you live on the west coast, you might tune into the celebration in New York. Alternatively, London’s celebration might be the way to go for east coasters.

Of course, if your kids are old enough to hang until midnight, go for it!

new year clock

3. Rock Out With Music

No year-end celebration is a rockin’ good time without a fun playlist! So grab the kids and turn your event into a dance party.

Add some fun festive items to help set the mood, such as a bubble machine and glow necklaces. 

Your kids will talk about THE dance party to end all dance parties for days!

Set of music instruments and rock symbols in neon sign style realistic vector illustration isolated on dark wall background. Club or music event electric bright signboard.

4. Different New Year’s Eve Activities Every Hour

If you’re looking to extend your celebration over several hours, it may help to plan activity ideas for each hour.

For example, maybe one hour you spend on your countdown, and another hour is spent playing a favorite board game. 

Then, other New Year’s Eve ideas could include 

  • Watching movies
  • Playing New Year’s Eve Bingo
  • Doing art
  • Breaking a piñata (bonus points if it looks like a New Year’s Eve ball!)
  • Twister
  • Have a marshmallow (or pillow) fight
  • Playing other family games (cards, charades, etc.)
  • Fun crafts – like making paper plate shakers or New Year’s Eve hats

You can plan the details ahead of time and write it out schedule-style or jot down different New Year’s Eve party ideas on separate slips of paper and let the kids pick out a piece of paper for a new activity each hour.

concept of watching movies with popcorn top view dark background
mexican piñata party hanging on blue and green background with multi-colored glitters celebrating birthday, christmas, party, party songs, figure in the shape of star and donkey, family fun

5. Dress Up For New Year’s Eve With Kids

Part of the fun of New Year’s Eve is to make the night special. Nothing says “out with the old and in with the new” like going a little over the top! 

Have everyone dress up (for all or part of the party) and provide feather boas, party hats, glow sticks, festive sunglasses, necklaces, crowns, masks – whatever strikes your fancy.

Portrait of an adorable preschool girl playing dress up with a fancy hat, purse, and pearl necklace isolated on white

6. Don’t Forget The New Year’s Eve Party Noisemakers 

As you’re decking everyone out in party clothes and accessories, don’t forget the New Year’s Eve noisemakers and party poppers.

Note: they may scare very small children, but slightly older kids love ringing in the new year with some noise!

Happy new year celebration concept theme with close up on two glasses of champagne, disco ball covered in mirror, noise makers and party trumpets, confetti, beads and a cork on silver background

7. Set Up A DIY Photo Booth

This is one idea the kids can help prepare by decorating a festive backdrop. Make sure you add plenty of gold and silver to make it really pop – the more festive, the better. 

Then have a few costume props around for the family and guests to have a fun place to take some photos that will make you smile all year long.

rustic floral photo booth sign cutout
Photobooth Birthday and Party Set - glasses, hats, crowns, masks, lips, mustaches

8. Make New Year’s With Kids A Family Fun Night 

There are tons of different ways to do this, so feel free to make it fit your family! You can play family board games, card games, or any other ideas I mentioned above. 

Another take on this family fun night idea is to make it a night of family favorites. Everyone chooses a favorite activity, food, dessert, and drink for a night of fun and laughs.

Try it once, and it’ll become a tradition. 😉

Game night seamless pattern. Board games repeating background. Hand drawn illustration of poker chips, play cards, dice, puzzle pieces. Use for kids decor, fabric, wrapping, toy store

9. Create Your Own Ball Drop

A big deal is made about the ball dropping at midnight. Small children may be too young to stay up that late (and who really wants to wake them back up?), and you may not want to take the family to your city’s festivities. 

That’s ok! You can do it all right at home. Watch the ball drop in an earlier timezone on TV or get your own piñata ball to break open at your chosen “midnight” time.

Kids love piñatas! You can fill one up with their favorite candies or little toys. Or have fun with a balloon drop. There are so many possibilities!

disco ball

10. Set Up A Snack Or Dessert Bar

There are so many ways you can do this – just let your imagination and your family’s preferences be your guide. These are fun for the kid in all of us!

A few ideas include: 

  • Hot dog bar
  • Build your own hamburger bar
  • Fondue bar 
  • Nacho bar 
  • Ice cream sundae bar (don’t forget the whipped cream!)
  • Brownie bar
  • And more!
American parfait. Delicious layered desserts in elegant bar glasses decorated with fresh berries. Sweet food

11. Toast The New Year

You can keep this party kid-friendly AND include the toast too! You could have adult drinks and kids drinks.

But if you want the entire family to enjoy kid-friendly drinks, go for simple mocktails (Shirley Temple, anyone?), sparkling grape juice, or sparkling cider. 

Don’t forget the flute glasses because they make the drink extra special!

Celebration. Hands holding the glasses of champagne and wine making a toast.

Make New Years Eve Party Ideas With Kids Special

If you were the type (before kids) to party the night away on New Year’s, making the day and evening fun as a family can be a blast in a completely different way.

I hope these ideas for kid-friendly NYE activities inspired you to get in the party mood while you say “good-bye” to the old and ring in the new.

Celebrate this coming year by making memories that everyone in your family will treasure!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2022 greeting card

More Wonderful Ideas For Parties

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Tania Griffis is an accomplished writer, blogger, and interior designer with a Journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma. She started her popular blog, Run to Radiance, in 2011, demonstrating her design expertise through the personal remodeling of six houses to millions of readers across the globe.

Tania also owns The Creative Wheelhouse, a respected ghostwriting agency for bloggers, further showcasing her talent for creating engaging and informative content.

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