Staying up until midnight can be next to impossible for children (and let’s be honest, a lot of parents too!).  Not only are they tired from the day, but the repercussions of staying up that late are certainly not worth it. So how do you get your whole family involved in celebrating New Years Eve with kids?

Get Creative

What’s better than store bought decorations? Having kids make them! Children can help make festive hats, noisemakers, and decor to help ring in the new years. Here are a few fun ideas:

  • Paper plate noise makers: Have children use colorful paint to cover the back of a paper plate. Put a handful of corn kernels, rice, or dried beans on the inside of the plate and fold it in half. Seal with glue or tape. Add ribbons and curl them for extra pizazz.
  • Hats: Take black construction paper and decorate it with gold and silver paint pens, or glitter glue. Roll the paper (once dry) into a cone shape and tape it. Punch a hole in either side of the cone, about 1/2 inch from the bottom. Cut an elastic band and tie each end to both sides to help keep the hat on.  
  • Sparklers: Not the kind you light on fire! Use glittery pipe cleaners to create fun and festive “firework” shaped sparklers. Use a popsicle stick as the base you hold onto. Wrap pipe cleaners around one end to stick out as the firework sparklers; you can twirl them and bend them in all different directions!
  • Firework Art Project: Some towns set off fireworks for NYE or you may see them on tv. If you are looking for an activity to add into your day, try these firework paintings.

Festive Snacks & Drinks

Have the kids help make yummy snacks to enjoy!  Here are a few fun ideas to make new years eve with kids special:

  • Chex mix: Use Chex cereal, pretzels, and white chocolate chips for a festive twist
  • Croissant Creations: Using pre-packaged croissant dough, you can help children shape the dough into the year (so this year it would be shaped like 2022!)
  • Pigs in a Blanket: Use mini hotdogs cut lengthwise, for choking safety and wrap them with Pillsbury dough.
  • Fruit and Veggie Platters: Can the kids help make a snowman on one platter? Use the ranch dip in a circular container as one of the snowman’s three balls of snow. Then you can use a pile cauliflower and white cheddar cheese cubes for the other two snow balls. Don’t forget the carrot nose, celery arms, and cherry tomato red buttons!
  • Marshmallow Pops: Put marshmallows on a lollipop stick. Dip it quickly in water and pat dry on a paper towel. Immediately dip each marshmallow in brightly colored sugar sprinkles!
  • Mocktails: Fill plastic champagne glasses with sparkling cider or ginger ale. Drop in a couple of gummy bears or a stick of rock candy for a festive flair! Alternately, you can use milk and line the glass with colored sprinkles or chocolate syrup!

New Years Eve With Kids: Goals & Resolutions

Explaining to children what a resolution is, can be a fun way for them to come up with something they feel is important. Share your resolutions with them so that they can see what you would like to change in the coming year. Maybe you want to eat more vegetables, or perhaps you want to spend more time with family. Showing children that we can all make choices to do things differently is such a valuable lesson. Most importantly, remind children that while new years is a great time to make a resolution, it’s not the only time of the year that it can be done!

Don’t Forget The Countdown!

Search online for a previous NYE countdown and ball drop. This way you can play the countdown on your tv or computer at a time that works best for your children! Get all of those noisemakers, home made hats, and sparklers ready for when the countdown hits zero! Another option is to celebrate new years eve with kids on New Years Day. Then you can show the recording of this year’s ball drop and musical celebration. Whatever you choose, the kids will enjoy having an impromptu party!

About The Author

Sarah PSarah Proctor has worked with young children for over 25 years as a teacher, childcare director, nanny, and mom of two girls. She has her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and Administration from UMass Amherst. In addition, Sarah has her Director 2 certification from the Department of Early Education and Care.