New Year’s Eve is traditionally a holiday enjoyed most by adults – staying up past midnight, maybe with friends and family. This year, The Family Center/La Familia wants you to get your little ones involved, with these ideas to celebrate New Year’s Eve with young children.

Whether the whole family is staying up until midnight or a few little members will be asleep by 7 p.m., there’s an activity on this list for every kid to enjoy.

Family or Friends Slumber Party

Keep it family-only or invite school friends or neighbors over for a living room slumber party. Clear the furniture, then gather blankets, pillows, and cushions from around the house to make one giant bed. Pop some popcorn, watch favorite movies (or New Year’s movies for kids, like A Very Merry Pooh Year, and start the countdown to midnight. If the crowd is getting sleepy, put on some music and have a dance party!

Make a “Resolution Tree”

If your Christmas tree is still standing by New Year’s Eve, put away the ornaments and decorate it with family resolutions. Let each child (and parent) write down their resolutions for the new year on colorful pieces of paper. Cut them out in fun shapes and use a hole punch so you can hang them on the tree. Kids will love writing down their own goals.

Reflect on the Year Past

Gather the family for some time to reflect on the year that’s ending. What was an important lesson someone learned this year? What do they wish they had done more of? Relive the good times by making a slideshow of family photos or watching favorite family videos on the big screen. 

Have a Fancy Family Dinner

Who says you have to have guests to use your nicest dishes, dress your best, or write an elegant menu? Give each family member a job, like making decorative menus, helping in the kitchen, or choosing parents’ outfits. For special menu ideas, consider: letting each member of the family choose their favorite food, even if you wouldn’t usually have them for dinner; ordering from a small, local restaurant; or sampling New Year’s Eve dishes from around the world.

Make a Bucket List for the Coming Year

Kids and adults alike will delight in this activity, where each member of the family suggests bucket list items for the coming year. Consider topics like places to visit, people to see, and activities to do. Compile favorites into a family bucket list to hang on the wall for inspiration throughout the year.

Make a Giant Clock

This activity is educational and crafty. Enlist the kids to help create a giant wall clock for the midnight countdown. Use construction paper to create clock hands and numbers, or write the numbers on balloons and tape them in a circle. Use masking tape or putty for the clock hands, so they can be adjusted throughout the night.

Do a New Year’s Eve “Interview”

Family member interviews make a great keepsake. Kids love interviewing parents or siblings. Write a list of questions to ask, like: Who are your best friends? What will you do differently this year than last? What is your favorite [food, drink, color, etc.]? Make this a yearly tradition and see how each member of the family grows from year to year!

Try Another Culture’s New Year Traditions

Chinese New Year celebrations are popular, with rich colors and symbolism. Celebrate with the year’s Chinese Zodiac animal theme (2022 is the Year of the Tiger), and wear red for good luck. Or, observe the Greek tradition and serve New Year’s Cake at midnight. In Spain, eating 12 grapes brings good luck for the coming year. Mix your family’s traditions with those of other countries for your own blend of multicultural favorites.

Have a Non-Champagne Toast

Simple juice or soda is always a crowd pleaser, but for a fancy twist, consider making special kids’ mocktails. To skip the next-day headache, serve up tasty mocktails for the adults, too. 

For more ideas to celebrate New Year’s Eve with young children, visit our Pinterest board

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