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How to Celebrate New Year's Eve With Your Kids

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When celebrating New Year's Eve with your kids, funny hats are required.

When celebrating New Year's Eve with your kids, funny hats are required.

Celebrate New Year's With Your Kids

Ever think about celebrating New Year's Eve with your kids? I host a lot of kids' parties for my nine grandchildren and sometimes for their friends. Traditionally, most New Year's Eve parties don't involve kids—they're more for adults. And yes, I've also attended my share of the adult version of NYE parties. Sometimes, however, I'd rather ring in the new year with my family instead of with a bunch of riotous revelers, and my family members feel the same way.

My middle daughter usually hosts our family New Year's party, and it's always fun for everyone, kids and adults alike. We usually do sort of a combination, with ideas for kids' parties thrown in with more traditional NYE ideas. If you think you might want your next end-of-the-year fling to be more of a family event, you might enjoy these suggestions for celebrating with your kids.

In This Article

  • Family New Year's Eve Ideas
  • New Year's Eve Party Ideas for Kids
  • NYE Party Decorations
  • Kid-Friendly New Year's Eve Appetizers
  • Kid-Friendly New Year's Eve Drinks
  • New Year's Travel Deals
  • Disney World New Year's
  • Disney New Year's Cruise
One of my favorite New Year's Eve Ideas is for a campout and bonfire.

One of my favorite New Year's Eve Ideas is for a campout and bonfire.

Family New Year's Eve Ideas

New Year's Eve ideas might include parties, dances, fireworks, dinners, or midnight breakfast buffets. Some people enjoy attending wild “throwdowns,” while others might prefer staying at home. Still others might choose to travel on New Years.

Have a Cookout, Play a Game, or Watch a Movie

For quieter family evenings at home, your New Year's Eve ideas might include playing games, having a cookout, or watching movies while munching on popcorn or other goodies. Of course, you’ll probably want to let the kids stay up late so that they can watch the ball drop at Times Square.

Learn the Lyrics to "Auld Lang Syne"

As a retired teacher, I’m always looking for teaching opportunities, and my NYE ideas are no exception. If you feel the same way, you might want to teach the kids the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne” and share a little of its history. If the kids are old enough, you could teach them a little about Robert Burns, too.

Reflect on the Past Year and Make Goals for the New One

Your New Year's Eve ideas might also include a time of recollection and reflection. You could go through photographs of the past year’s high points and ask the kids about their favorite events. This might also be a good time to discuss New Year’s resolutions and the goals the kids would like to accomplish in the coming year.

New Year's Eve Party Ideas for Kids

NYE party ideas for kids should be focused on fun and festivity, for the most part. You can handle New Year's kids' parties in several different ways. You might have an all-inclusive party that both adults and kids attend, or you might prefer having the kids' party in another part of the house, with a babysitter overseeing the activities.

Host a Sleepover Party

You might want to focus more on the kids. If you do, why not let them have a sleepover? The group will have a blast staying up late with their pals and having their own celebration.

Have a Special Night Out

Another New Year's Eve party idea for kids is to let them enjoy some special activity before returning home to their little party. This might include watching a movie at a local cinema, attending a fireworks display, or visiting a game room, a bowling alley, or a skating rink. For a real treat, rent a hotel room with an indoor heated pool.

Have a Campout and a Bonfire

One of our most popular New Year's Eve party ideas for kids was an annual campout we enjoyed for several years. It was held in a big field, and everyone brought tents or campers. We built a huge bonfire, and the kids roasted marshmallows and hot dogs. We all sat around the fire and played guitars and sang.

If you don't have access to a rural field, have a campout in your backyard. Without the distractions of TV and video games, this can be a wonderful way of celebrating New Year's Eve with your kids.

NYE Party Decorations

Party decorations don’t have to be expensive or complicated, especially when you’re dealing with kids' parties. Kids aren’t usually impressed by opulent details. Do you know the Cindi Lauper song, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”? Delete the word “girls” and replace it with “kids.”

Balloons to Pop at Midnight

Some easy and cheap party decorations could certainly include balloons—helium balloons and regular balloons. Of course, the helium balloons would be floated. Regular balloons could be placed on the floor of a room, and at the stroke of midnight, the kids could pop them all by stomping on them.

Homemade Confetti to Toss

Your party decorations might also include confetti. My grandkids love tossing colorful confetti in the air, and you can make your own. In fact, let the kids help. Just cut up lots of colored paper into small bits. By the way, copy paper works better than construction paper. You can make small round circles of confetti with a hole puncher, too, and that would be safer than giving the kids scissors.

Homemade Banners

You might want to make some signs or banners to be used as party decorations, too. Again, you might want to let the kids handle this job. Most children enjoy being able to express their creativity, and helping with party decorations will make them feel like they’re a real part of the party planning process.

Funny Hats and Noisemakers

What’s a New Years Eve party without funny hats and noisemakers? You just have to have some of these. They’re very inexpensive. You can find them just about anywhere, too—at your local party supply store, at Walmart, at dollar stores, and online.

Kid-Friendly New Year's Eve Appetizers

Your New Year's Eve appetizers should include some that appeal to adults and kids. Most everyone enjoys tasty finger foods, and for kids, they’re easy to eat. The kids will also be able to serve themselves, unless the children are very young, making it easier on you.

Our New Year's Eve appetizers often include cheeses, boiled shrimp, and crab puffs—mostly with the adults in mind. Our New Year's Eve appetizers for kids usually include pigs-in-blankets, chicken nuggets, fresh fruit kabobs, and a variety of sweets. One that our kids love is chocolate-covered peanut butter-filled Bugles. They’re easy to make, and even adults enjoy them. You might also want to make or purchase some cupcakes and insert sparklers into them for a wow factor.

Of course, there are also New Year's Eve appetizers that will be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age. Think chicken wings, finger sandwiches, salted nuts, raw veggies and dip, and crackers and spreads. Lots of people like to use a Chinese theme with their holiday celebrations, and if you do, you can incorporate this idea into your New Year's Eve appetizers with homemade egg rolls, crab Rangoon, spring rolls, individual Chinese BBQ ribs, sweet and sour meatballs, and teriyaki chicken wings.

Along with your New Years Eve Drinks, have some special ones for the kids to use in a toast.

Along with your New Years Eve Drinks, have some special ones for the kids to use in a toast.

Kid-Friendly New Year's Eve Drinks

Of course, you’ll also need some kid-friendly New Year's Eve drinks. You and the other adults can still have your champagne toast, but have something special for the kids, too. A bottle of sparkling grape juice would suffice. Serve it in flutes, and they’ll think it’s something really special.

Also, if you’re making adult New Year's Eve drinks, you can make some “virgin” versions of the same cocktails for kids. Just leave out the alcohol. Frozen drinks are always popular with kids, so you might want to think about serving strawberry, peach, lime, or banana daiquiris. We make out banana daiquiris with vanilla ice cream and fresh bananas, and they’re a big hit with the grands.

To make your New Year's Eve drinks even more appealing to kids, dress them up with some silly straws or with some edible candy confetti or sprinkles. And don’t forget the pretty glasses. Sometimes the presentation can make even a mundane food or drink seem a lot more festive.

New Year's travel deals might just take you to the beach!

New Year's travel deals might just take you to the beach!

New Year's Travel Deals

Have you ever thought about traveling and taking advantage of New Years travel deals? Some hotels offer some great prices at this time of year. I’ll give you an example: A hotel we like that charges almost $200 per night in the summer charges only $50 per night in December. Some hotels and resorts offer package deals that include special meals, like a New Year’s Eve midnight breakfast and/or a New Year’s Day brunch, too.

Your end-of-year trip doesn’t have to be specifically themed to the holiday to be enjoyable, either. Think of it as a winter break. Most of the country is locked in frigid temperatures at the end of December, so even a short trip to somewhere warm and sunny would be much appreciated. Look for New Year's travel deals to South Florida, where warm winters are the norm. Take Naples, Florida, for instance. The average high in December is almost 80 degrees! Hmmm . . . shovel snow or play on the beach?

Disney World New Year's

Your NYE ideas could also include visits to theme parks. One of the most popular is Disney World New Years. The park hosts all sorts of shows and events, so there’s something for every age. All the Disney parks stay open late that night, and the new year is heralded by amazing midnight fireworks displays in the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

Downtown Disney holds a big New Year's Eve party, and other parks have parades. Cirque du Soleil will also have special performances for the evening. Of course, all the rides will be running, too, and there’ll be lots of shows, music, and other forms of entertainment. Search the site for New Years travel deals and packages.

With a visit to Disney World New Year's, you won’t be far from some of Florida’s best beaches. You might want to add a day or two to your trip to take advantage of sunny beaches. Such a vacation would give the kids something to look forward to after Christmas, and most schools are closed at this time, so it’s a win-win situation.

Disney New Year's Cruise

A New Year's cruise can be an unforgettable way to spend celebrating the holiday with your kids. Admittedly, most cruises for this special night are more focused on adult activities. Some cruise ship lines offer a family New Year's Eve cruise, with Disney being the most notable.

The Disney New Year's cruise includes a dance with the famous characters, along with other family-friendly activities. Depending on where you go, you’ll also have the chance to swim and snorkel in the ocean and laze on white beaches.

With the Disney line, you can choose a New Year's Eve cruise that goes to Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and other ports. Of course, you can always be sure that these ships are totally family oriented, so your kids will never be bored—and neither will you. Celebrating New Year’s Eve with your kids should be enjoyable for the whole family!

© 2012 Holle Abee


Stephanie from Texas on January 01, 2014:

Ahh, I love all your great ideas for New Years celebrations.

We just spent our night with a blazing bonfire, roasted marshmallows, and hot chocolate. I have 3 step children that live with me full-time, so every holiday is about them and since we love being outdoors, the bonfire is always a hit.

It's a bit cold out tonight though, so when we were all thoroughly chilled to the bone, we brought the party inside. Our kids got an Xbox with the Kinect for Christmas, so we all took turns playing the Kinect Sports, Adventures, and Party games. These games are great for family/friend get togethers as everyone can join in.

Happy New Years Habee!

Neil Cook from United States on December 31, 2013:

Nice ideas, I think that kids are often not thought of when it comes to New Years and they need some age-appropriate activities too!

Trisha Cann from Flinton, Pa on December 31, 2013:

I love the camp out and bon fire idea but I live in the northeast. So we would freeze our butts off. Wish we had bon fire weather during this time. I always spend new years with my kids, we decorate the house, play board games or karaoke, make a nacho bar and punch. Then watch the ball drop. By then they are ready for bed. Once they grow up, maybe me and my hubby will be able to do one of those travel deals. Great post!

John Sarkis from Winter Haven, FL on December 31, 2013:

Great hub, habee. I'm sharing this one!

kikalina from Europe on December 31, 2013:

Spending NYE home with the kids and this hub gave me some ideas. Thanks and Happy New Year.

Pamela Kinnaird Dapples from Arizona. on December 31, 2013:

I too like to spend New Year's Eve with our grandchildren and children and spouses. Doesn't always work out that way -- sometimes it's just Grandpa, Grandma and the children. But it's always fun. My favorite game is hide and seek in the dark. Theirs, too. Great hub, Habee! Pinning this one.

CraftytotheCore on December 31, 2013:

You DO know how to throw a great party Habee! I have two children with birthdays the week after Christmas. It's terribly difficult getting anyone to come for a party during this time of year. When my children were smaller, I hosted a party for both of them. A few relatives came. I had set out about 20 goody bags for all of the children we were expecting. 2 showed up. A few years ago, I was asked to host a party. I went all out. I bought shrimp cocktail, I had a chocolate fondue fountain, all kinds of cookies, platters of food galore. Not one person came.

We always do our own thing anyway and make the best time of it to ring in the new year.

breakfastpop on August 19, 2012:

What a terrific hub! We always celebrated New Year's Eve with our kids and when possible we still do.

Mmargie1966 from Gainesville, GA on August 15, 2012:

What wonderful ideas for New Year's Eve! I always enjoyed my kids when New Year's Eve came around each year. My parties weren't quite as elaborate or creative as what you have listed here, but they will be when the grandchildren come! We did, however, use either sparkling juice, or cherry 7-up in champagne flutes as our New Year's toast!

Nice job, habee! I voted up and useful!

Great media material, by the way!