10+ Family-Friendly Ideas For Your New Year’s Eve Celebration

by Tanay Howard
Originally Published: 
A son and a mother during a family New Year's Eve celebration
Igor Alecsander/Getty

When the clock strikes midnight I have three (likely snotty) extra little faces to kiss this year. If you’re a parent, then you are most likely not hitting the club anymore to count down the minutes until we get a fresh start. And while celebrating New Year’s Eve with kids from home is probably different, there are a ton of ways you can make bringing the New Year in with your little ones fun. Take a look at some of our favorite ideas for counting down with your kids.

Watch a New Year’s Eve countdown on Netflix.

Netflix is great about creating countdowns to the new year with some of their most popular shows. If your kids are music lovers, Beat Bugs and Motown Magic are two super fun options. Boss Baby, Fuller House and Tales of Arcadia are also popular options that kids who are a little bit older may enjoy.

Do a DIY balloon drop.

Nothing makes my kids happier than a mess. A DIY balloon drop to bring in the new year is a fun way to build anticipation for the kiddos. It is also inexpensive and easy to put together. All you need is some balloons, tape, garbage bags or tablecloths and some string or streamers. Tape the garbage bags to the ceiling (painters tape would probably work best) and fill with inflated balloons (and confetti, if you don’t mind the mess). Hang the string/streamers from the outside and when the clock strikes midnight, pull to release your balloons!

Mix up some mocktails for the kids.

Because who doesn’t want a fancy drink? The Food Network has some fun ideas for kid friendly mocktails you can make with the family. Pair them with some fancy appetizers and have your own “almost grown-up” NYE party.

Celebrate midnight in another country.

If your kids are too small to make it to midnight where you are, you could always celebrate the new year in another country (from home)! If you want to get really into it, take it as an opportunity to try a cuisine from the country or have a themed party.

Have a slumber party.

Build a fort, get your best party PJs and camp out in the living room for the night. This is a great time to watch movies (or the Netflix countdowns), play games, and spend time together as a family. Have dinner and dessert in the living room for the night and see who makes it until midnight.

Do an hourly balloon pop.

Need something a little more active? Write down 12 easy and fun family activities your littles would love on separate pieces of paper. Put the ideas inside 12 balloons and let them take turns popping one per hour from noon to midnight. Whatever activity is on the inside is what the family does until it’s time to pop a new one. The ideas could be as simple as a five-minute dance party or making a fun New Year’s Eve craft together.

Spend the night in a hotel.

Kids are very easy to please and the change of scenery alone is exciting. Have a one night staycation and spend the night in a local hotel for some much needed time away together.

Make a family time capsule.

Time capsules are a great way to reflect on previous years. Put together a collection of family memories and resolutions to open up 10 years later. This will definitely be a heart-warming to look back on once your kids are grown up.

Have a neighborhood NYE drive-by parade.

With COVID, drive-by parades are popular for occasions from graduations to baby showers. Get your neighbors involved, decorate your cars, and have a fun New Year’s themed parade.

Have a “Yes Day”.

A day when kids get to make the rules? What better day than the last of the year! If you’ve been waiting to try out the “yes day” idea, New Years Eve is a perfect and memorable day to do it.

Drop the ball at home.

One of the most exciting parts of the New Year for me as a kid was always getting to see the ball drop. Have fun creating your own ball at home with glitter, pipe cleaners, papier mache, the sky’s the limit. You could even buy a styrofoam ball at the craft store and have your children decorate that. Then “drop the ball” at 12.

Dress to impress.

Get glammed up and have a dance party at home. This is a perfect time to enjoy your mocktails, and take some cute family photos. There are a ton of DIY photo booth and backdrop ideas online if you want to set the scene.

The great thing about all of these ideas is that they are all things you can accomplish yourself with little fuss. If your kiddos can’t make it to midnight? You can plan any of these activities a little earlier in the day and have your own celebration. Either way, just because your party may look different doesn’t mean you won’t have a memorable, festive, and fun New Year’s Eve.

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