17 Kid-Friendly Ways to Ring in the New Year

Do you stay up late on New Year’s Eve to see the new year roll in? This is a holiday tradition that my night owl kids and I have kept, although Daddy refuses to stay up that late! We love to turn on the television as the final countdown begins and watch the sparkle ball drop in Times Square.

Happy New Year! mylearningtable.com

Ringing in the New Year, Family Style

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The mom in me always wants to enrich the holiday celebration, so I’ve come up with a list of some fun things we do to commemorate the start of the new year.

  1. Make your own “sparkle ball” with leftover Christmas tinsel and a balloon. Write the new year on a slip of paper, roll loosely and insert in the deflated balloon. Inflate the balloon and write the current year on the outside of the balloon with permanent marker. Tie a tinsel streamer on the balloon, and hang it in the center of the room. At midnight, pop the balloon, and the new year appears!
  2. Make confetti eggs. Save egg shells until you have a few for each child by cracking them near the top, leaving most of the shell intact. Wash thoroughly and store until New Year’s. Kids can decorate them with markers, then fill with a generous pinch of confetti (empty that hole-puncher that’s bulging at the seams). Glue a small scrap of leftover wrapping or tissue paper over the opening. At midnight, crack or smash the eggs! Messy, yes. But, you can always vacuum tomorrow.
  3. Have a movie marathon. We love old classics, and time-travel movies are fun for the New Year’s theme. Time it so the movie will be over just in time for the midnight countdown. Don’t forget the popcorn!
  4. Make a pizza bar–use tandoori bread, whole wheat pita, or mini pizza crusts and set out bowls of toppings like mozzarella and cheddar cheese, tomato sauce, pepperoni, sliced veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, tomato, and mushrooms, and have everyone build his own pizza.
  5. Or, make a taco/nacho bar with taco shells, tortillas, or tortilla chips, cooked sliced chicken seasoned with taco seasoning or cooked and seasoned ground beef, grated cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, warm black beans, chopped avocado, and taco sauce or salsa. My kids love to build their own taco creations.
  6. Have a family slumber party—pull out the sleeping bags and camp out in the living room for the midnight countdown.
  7. Make a “Top” list for the old year. For 2017, we are writing our “Top 16 Family Memories from 2016.” Click here to download our Family Memories list.
  8. Talk about resolutions and have someone write a list of family goals that everyone contributes to. Save these to read next year. Click here to download our Family Goals list.
  9. Take advantage of your kids’ pent up energy and un-decorate the Christmas tree. See if you can have everything off the tree and ready to pack away before midnight!
  10. Turn the lights on the un-decorated Christmas tree (See #9). Write your resolutions on strips of paper, punch a hole, tie on a ribbon, and hang them on the tree.
  11. Have a party hat contest. Kids can use leftover/recycled Christmas bows and ribbons, stickers, and construction paper to decorate a folded newspaper hat. Choose winners in various categories so nobody is left out: silliest, most colorful, most festive, biggest, most creative… Click here to download our New Year’s Hat Awards.
  12. Display a world map and note when the new year rolls in in different countries. Explain the different time zones. Research how different cultures celebrate the holiday.
  13. Change over the calendar and talk about the months of the year with younger kids. Look at how many days each month has, and sing a “months of the year” song. Remember the calendar cat commercial? “January, cha-cha-cha-cha-cha…February, cha-cha-cha-cha-cha…”
  14. Read some books about time, days, seasons, and years: Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward and Tomie dePaola, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, Frog and Toad All Year  by Arnold Lobel, A Busy Year by Leo Lionni, and The Year At Maple Hill Farm by Alice and Martin Provensen. Click here to download our library checklist.
  15. Create a family time capsule. Mark the year with stats on everyone: age, favorite food, TV show, song, sports team, etc. Click here to download our time capsule fill-in sheet. Include a grocery store receipt, gas receipt, movie ticket, postage stamp, and other ephemera from the daily grind. You might also include a small toy (remember the Beanie Baby craze?) Place items in a jar, and label with “Do not open until 2025, or whatever time you desire.
  16. Start a happiness jar. Find a large jar with a lid, and print out our label to cut out and glue or tape to the front of the jar. Every day, write one thing you are happy about on a small slip of paper and place it in the jar. Next New Year’s Eve, you will have fun reading your memories from the year.
  17. Take a new year’s photo of the kids to remember this moment–they grow up so fast!

Free Printable

Click here or on the image below to download a free New Year’s printable pack to start your new year tradition!

17 Kid-FriendlyWays to Ring in the New Year Free Printable Activity mylearningtable.com



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Comments (8)

  1. Lauren

    Great ideas! I’ especially love the time capsule idea; how fun!!

  2. Laura Kosloff

    Some great ideas here! The host families I work with, who have high school exchange students from around the world, are always asking for ideas for different holidays — this gives me some new suggestions for New Year’s!

    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      That’s great Laura–thank you!

  3. LaNeshe (Nesheaholic.com)

    Love the idea of family time capsule!

  4. Shann

    Love these ideas. We stay in, so I love the idea of making party hats, and a time capsule. Maybe we’ll undecorate the tree too.

  5. Erin

    These are great ideas – I just know my boys would love a “sparkle ball”! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Kari

    Love the confetti balls idea!

  7. Cori

    My family’s is watching Monty Python and drinking champagne.

    I like the changing over the calendar idea.


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