Growing up, New Year’s Eve was one of my favorite holidays. I loved gathering together with family and friends to play games and eat delicious snacks, and nothing compared to staying up past my typical bedtime. These past few years have really shown us just how much can happen in 365 days, and New Year’s is the perfect time to reflect and celebrate (or mourn) the year that has come and gone. The holiday is also a great time to take stock and see how much you and your kids have changed and grown.
New Year’s is fun, but it can be difficult knowing how to celebrate with your family. After all, traditional New Years parties out on the town aren’t exactly kid-friendly spaces. That’s nothing to worry about, though, because there are so many fun ways to ring in the New Year while staying home with the kids.
Here are ten New Year’s activities for kids that are guaranteed to make this New Year’s Eve a holiday to remember.
1. Watch the Times Square Ball Drop
Are you truly celebrating New Year’s if you aren’t watching the ball drop? One of the most beloved American New Year’s Eve traditions, the Times Square Ball drop, has been ongoing since 1907—and I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon. The night is full of famous faces singing and dancing their way into the New Year, and kids are sure to get a kick out of watching the ball slowly catapult the US into the future.
2. Bake Some Sweet, International Desserts
Everyone loves dessert, and there’s no better time to experiment with new treats in the kitchen than on a holiday. Use this opportunity to introduce your kids to the kitchen and teach them some basic cooking skills like peeling, whisking, and measuring.
You could even spice up your festive dessert night with some extra New Year’s flair by making it international. Try making a different dessert from one country in each time zone. When the clock strikes midnight in your chosen locale, eat that dessert! This way you’ll build up anticipation for the New Year while simultaneously introducing your children to the beauty of other cultures—and their tasty treats.
3. Make Dinner Together as a Family
Unless you’re someone that chooses to enjoy their dessert before their meal, you likely need some dinner first. This New Year’s Eve, try stepping outside your comfort zone and make a meal that you’ve never tried before. Encourage your kids to get involved and let them help out throughout the cooking process. If they’re older, they may even want to take charge, giving you a chance to sit back and relax (while keeping one eye trained on them, of course).
4. Hold a Family Game Night
When I was a kid, New Year’s Eve meant family game night. Whether we were holding a Wii Bowling tournament or trying a new card game courtesy of my parent’s friends, it was guaranteed that the living room would be full of giggles and glowing smiles.
If a regular old game night is a little too low-stakes for your family, zest it up by holding a tournament. Make a sports-style bracket and hold successive rounds of competition, culminating in one final match. Whoever wins the tournament gets a New Year’s-related prize!
5. Share Your New Year’s Resolutions
Making New Year’s resolutions is one of the most exciting parts of the New Year. Resolutions give us a chance to look inward, take stock of where we are and where we’ve been, and then determine the steps we’ll take to find the most enjoyment in the New Year.
You’ll likely get a chuckle out of hearing your kid’s resolutions. Instead of the classic “start going to the gym” and “be more creative” resolutions that never seem to succeed, your kids might make a resolution to “climb more trees” or “pet every cat I see.” Both pretty important resolutions, if you ask me.
6. Hold a New Year’s Interview Night
Do you ever watch talk shows and wonder what it’s like to be Oprah as she interviews interesting people? Well, now’s your chance to find out.
This New Year’s, don your finest interviewer garb and emulate your inner Jimmy Fallon as you put on a pretend talk show with your kids. Ask them questions about their year and how they hope the next one will go. You can even record the talk show and play it the next year so you can really reflect on where you’ve been—and laugh at your kids’ ridiculous answers. Who knows? This could be the start of a new tradition.
7. Host Your Own Personal New Year’s Eve Party
Just because you and your kids are staying in this New Year’s doesn’t mean you can’t have your own personal party! Get your kids involved in preparations by encouraging them to help make the menu or craft some DIY New Year’s decorations (a quick Google search offers up a whole host of DIY ideas). If you have older kids, ask them to curate a party playlist full of tunes that will get your family dancing into the New Year in style.
8. Make Countdown Gift Bags for Every Hour
What party is complete without a gift bag? Every hour is a new chance to celebrate New Years, so let the excitement and anticipation build by creating a countdown gift bag for each hour. Fill the bags with things like sparklers and party hats, then let your kids open one bag every hour, on the hour. By the time it reaches midnight in your time zone, they’ll have a whole collection of fun objects they can use to ring in the New Year.
9. Create a NYE Photo Booth
New Year’s Eve is a night to make memories, so why not take a few pictures while you’re at it? It’s easy to make your own photo booth: simply get out some fun costumes and hang a sheet on the wall. Once you’ve taken some fun pics, add them to a scrapbook or post them online to share with faraway family and friends—just make sure to ask for your child’s permission before you post pictures of them.
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10. Watch a Festive New Year’s Movie
If you prefer to avoid the stress of throwing a family party, a movie night is the perfect way to chill out and cuddle together on the couch as you ring in the New Year. For some added zest, try watching a kid-friendly New Year’s Eve movie like Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, or Happy New Year, Charlie Brown.
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Happy New Year from all of us at Troomi!