These days, New Year’s Eve parties are more about me trying my very best to stay up till midnight (though 10 PM is more like it) and drinking sparkling cider with our kids as we watch the ball drop on TV. And, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But, to be clear, New Year’s Eve at home with the kids does not have to be an afterthought or even second best to an adult party. In fact, I’ve collected some of our favorite ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the kids at home.
Whether you’re hosting a kid-friendly New Year’s eve party for all ages, or just staying in with your own crew, we think some of these ideas are not only fun and special, they’ll make you glad you’re not out battling the throngs in Times Square.
Top: champagne countdown cake at Pizzazzerie
1. Plan a countdown to midnight…any time you want!
This year, there are plenty of options for family friendly New Year’s Eve programming, but our favorite is Netflix’s 14 different on-demand New Year’s Eve countdowns. Whether you’re currently into Boss Baby, Skylanders Academy, or Fuller House, start the 1-2 minute countdown any time, cheers to “midnight” then send everyone off to bed!
.For more entertainment ideas until then, you can also check out the Roku Stream-a-thon that runs through New Year’s Day.
2. Celebrate the stroke of midnight in another country.
Well, maybe not actually in another country. Just choose a country with a time zone that works better with your kids’ bedtime, and celebrate their own start to 2019. The Pacific islands, Australia, Japan, Russia and South Korea are some of the first to ring in the New Year, so order in your favorite takeout then party along as those countries celebrate the stroke of midnight.
3. Bake a festive dessert together.
If your kids love to bake, be sure to check out this week’s meal plan over at Cool Mom Eats. It includes a really fun champagne countdown cake at Pizzazzerie that we found, and it’s a clever way to celebrate with kids who have fun when they’re in the kitchen with you.
4. Play this free printable year-in-review game.
In this printable New Year’s family game at Alice and Lois, you and the kids can laugh (and yeah, maybe even cry) over some of the biggest moments of your year together. Each card challenges you to think through the funniest moments, biggest lessons, most memorable trips, and more that you experienced together this year. You might find yourselves playing all night long.
5. Make a resolution tree.
Take all the decorations down from your Christmas tree, if you set one up this year, but don’t take the tree down yet. Instead, hand the kids strips of construction paper so they can write their resolutions (or goals, or wishes) for the New Year. Staple the ends to turn them into loops, then hang them from the tree.
If you don’t have a tree, no worries –pop each of those resolutions into a jar, a bowl, or put them into a book. Even better — you can pull them out again next year to see how many goals you all achieved.
Also, be sure to try this wonderful idea for making one-word New Year’s resolutions, which are the trick to making ones you can finally keep!
6. Mix up a special New Year’s Eve mocktail for the kids.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think any dinner at home is much more festive when you mix a fancy drink to go with it. These 7 New Year’s Eve mocktail recipes that Carolyn has found are perfect if you’re partying with the kids. (And all non-drinking friends and family.) This Willy Wonka-esque Pop Rocks Pear Punch mocktail for kids from Glitter and Bubbles is definitely a special treat for a special night!
7. Make slime (obvs).
If your kids are slime-obsessed, make a big batch of safe, non-toxic slime from one of these terrific recipes. To make things more celebratory, try the instructions for festive New Year’s Eve slime at Little Bins, Little Hands seen here. Might as well start 2019 as parent of the year, right?
DIY pasta bar tips from Marsha Takeda-Morrison
8. Make dinner something a little more special.
We’ve found so many fun kid-friendly recipes to make a kid-friendly New Years’ Eve party special over the years. Whether you want a more fancy (but kid-friendly) sit-down dinner, dinner made up of kid-friendly appetizers, a make-your-own pasta bar or burrito bar, or one of these brilliant food bars perfect for all ages — and easy to clean up, too!
Or hey, why not make breakfast for dinner? We have ideas beyond pancakes — though nothing wrong with that, either.
9. Host a board game tournament.
Pick three to four of your favorite family board games — you can try some of our favorite card games and board games for families — and set up a family tournament to see who is the ultimate family gaming champion. If you’ve got a larger group, check out our picks for favorite board games for 6 or more players.
10. Make your own silly party glasses.
Follow this simple tutorial at Handmade Charlotte to make your own DIY New Year’s Eve glasses from pipe cleaners and other basic supplies…then wear them while you watch the ball drop! A craft project keeps everyone busy, and they’re so much cooler than buying the cardboard ones from the store.
11. Conduct year-end interviews with the kids.
Grab the phone, sit your kids down, then video them answering questions about their year. What’s your favorite color? What skill did you learn this year? What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to learn next year? What’s your favorite thing that happened this year?
You’ll look back on the videos later and be so glad you did this.
12. Create your own balloon drop.
OMG, my kids would absolutely love it if I organized a DIY balloon drop like this one from One Good Thing. If you’ve got a ceiling fan, you can follow these instructions to surprise the kids (or just delight them) when the clock strikes midnight — or, you know, 9:00 PM.
Yeah, it’s a bit of work. But it’s no glitter bomb.