It’s a New Year for Kids, Too!
New Year’s Eve is typically a holiday for adults. Babysitters are at a premium and restaurants and other venues have special events planned for the grown-ups. Even if you plan to enjoy a night of adult fun, remember that kids can have fun and benefit from celebrating the New Year, too.
A New Year celebration for kids doesn’t have to be on the actual New Year’s Eve, and it doesn’t have to be at night either. You can celebrate at noon on New Year’s Day or another evening close to the date and within your children’s bedtime.
What’s a Party Without Surprises?
Decide on a time frame for your event – New Year celebrations are all about watching the clock as we prepare for the count down. For preschool children, an hour might be enough. To help young children mark the time, set an alarm clock or set the timer on your phone. Give out prizes in time increments – say every 15 minutes – to make the waiting more exciting. Make this even more fun by hiding the groups of prizes and giving hints to help the kids find them. Ideas for prizes: glow sticks and glow jewelry, wands, silly string and small toys.
What Do We Do While We Wait?
You will need some games and activities to pass the time before the countdown:
- You can prepare a video show of highlights of the past year. Kids love watching themselves!
- Have a treasure hunt that leads to things you’ll need at “midnight” like hats, noisemakers, and confetti.
- Ask each person to tell about their best memory or something they are proud of from the past year.
- Set a few family goals for the New Year.
- If your kids get lots of Christmas gifts from family and friends, save a few to open at the New Year party.
- Play a board game.
The Big Event
You can make a simple balloon drop by cutting a paper table cloth in half, and stick it back together with a few pieces of tape. Suspend the four corners from the ceiling and fill it with inflated balloons. At “midnight” the kids can stand under it for the count down. Just snip the pieces of tape with a scissors and let the fun begin!
Caution: Balloons are dangerous and require supervision by adults, especially when very young children are present. Never let children put uninflated balloons in their mouths; pick up pieces of popped balloons immediately.
At midnight, let the dance party begin! Replace some light bulbs with colored bulbs, turn out the other lights, put on the music and get out the glow jewelry.
Have a safe, fun and happy New Year!