New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve with Kids – 7 Fun Ideas for Celebrating at Home

These fun ideas for celebrating New Year’s Eve with kids at home are low-key but make the evening special. And the best part is, they will be in bed long before midnight!

Typical New Year’s Eve celebrations are geared towards adults. They usually involve champagne, lots of people and staying up until midnight. Unless you’re like me, then it’s champagne, pajamas and in bed before 11 pm. People set their resolutions and think about what the new year holds. But the idea of a new year with fresh possibilities isn’t just for adults.

We celebrate the new year with our kids too. It’s a time for us to all reflect on the past year. To celebrate all of the good and think about how we can make the next year better. Also, it’s a great way to end the holiday break and gear up for the return to school. There are simple things you can do to celebrate New Year’s Eve with kids from the comfort of home. And none of them involve staying up late!

new years eve with kids

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7 Fun Ideas for Celebrating New Year’s Eve with Kids

Simple Decorations

Decorating for holidays and special occasions is always a fun way to add excitement to the celebration. The decorations don’t have to be anything over the top, especially since most families still have Christmas decorations up on December 31st. Just adding a sparkly banner, a few balloons, and some festive hats make for fun NYE touches. Something to make the day stand out.

I typically hang a glittery gold banner that says “CELEBRATE” up in the house. Sometimes I also make a balloon garland. I have an electric balloon pump that makes creating balloon garlands a breeze. We also have fun New Year’s hats or headbands. Just these simple touches mark the day as something special and different.

Reflect on Favorite Memories

Reflection is such an important practice. I love to sit in reflection at the end of the year and think about all of the wonderful things the year held. It’s easy to get sucked into the negative aspects of the year, but purposely thinking about the good things can change your entire perspective. I think reflecting is an important exercise for both adults and children.

During dinner on New Year’s Eve, our family talks about 3 or more of our favorite things about the past year. Since our kids are young their minds usually don’t go much farther back than Christmas. But that’s okay! My husband and I are really the driving forces behind this exercise. Our memories help the kids remember too. And then they get so more excited for the year ahead.

Make Plans for the New Year

After discussing our favorite memories from the past, we spend some time talking about our plans for the future. These plans are usually based on what we just discussed. For example, if someone is grateful for spending the summer at the pool, then they usually want to do that again the next year. We may not do everything that we talk about, but it’s still a fun exercise. And it’s a great way to celebrate New Year’s Eve with kids.

Make a Special “Party” Dinner

A special dinner looks different for everyone. It could mean takeout, pizza, breakfast for dinner, or whatever your family enjoys. Growing up we ate black-eyed peas every New Year’s Eve. In the past, we’ve made homemade pizzas, grilled hot dogs, or had snack plate dinner. “Snack plate dinner” is when I make a variety of the kids’ favorite foods in small portions. I serve them in either small bowls or cupcake liners. A snack dinner usually consists of fruits, raw vegetables, cheese, pepperoni, small sandwiches, and chicken nuggets. The parent version is a charcuterie board. Then we have a special dessert of some kind, usually cupcakes or brownies.

Watch a New Year’s Themed Movie or Show

Did you know that there are a few NYE movies and TV specials out there for kids? Watching one of them is a great way to celebrate New Year’s Eve with kids. Plus, it usually helps them understand the concept a little bit better. Here are a few New Year’s themed children’s movies:

Have a Countdown at Bedtime

The big countdown is the most exciting part of celebrating New Year’s. But I don’t know many parents that want their kids to stay up until midnight to watch the Times Square Ball drop. Instead of waiting until midnight, just have a fun countdown a little before bedtime! It’s easy to find a countdown on Youtube. And Netflix has an entire collection of kid-friendly New Year’s Eve countdowns now. Just turn one on 30 minutes before bedtime and let the kids countdown. Then have a little celebration…

Dance Party!

After the countdown is over, it’s time for a dance party! Just turn on some of your child’s favorite music and dance it out for 15-20 minutes. Last year our dance party featured The Wiggles, Choo Choo Soul, and songs from The LEGO Movie, Trolls, and Home. I even turned on a little Techno music from the early 2000’s. It was so fun! Plus, it was a great bonding time with our kids.

kids new years eve

While as parents it can be a bit of a bummer to be stuck at home on New Year’s Eve, there are so many ways to make the evening special. Bringing the kids in on the celebration helps everyone feel festive! Spending New Year’s Eve with kids can be a ton of fun!

Looking to have more fun with your kids in the New Year? Check out my lists of Valentine’s Day activities, favorite preschool board games, and summer activities.


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