Last year, we had my three plus my cousin’s kid all together for New Year’s Eve. Did I mention they were all under age 6? We wanted to do something fun for the holiday, but there is not enough holiday guilting in the world that would get me to keep them up til midnight. I don’t even…ugh.
Anyway, instead of getting them up early, counting down until noon, and then being done with the festivities for the day, we decided to keep them busy all day long and strategically plan the big New Year’s Eve countdown for a time suspiciously close to their bedtime. Luckily for us, a European midnight is right around our 6 PM, so we set our clocks forward and went right on with the day! (Disclaimer: I don’t go all out with themes, so if you are from across the pond, don’t expect much familiarity throughout the countdown. Google mostly told me traditions involved going to pubs, so uh, we mostly just picked fun random things to do. I mostly just wanted your timezone for the day….Thanks for letting me borrow it!) Of course, I took lots of pics to share with everyone so that you could take bits and pieces to make your own kid-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration. Enjoy!
New Year’s Eve Countdown for Kids
-Strips of paper
-Materials for 6-10 activities, depending on the length you want for your day
-Countdown Celebration supplies! (fun cups, something yummy to drink and toast, party hats, etc.)
With our countdown at 6 PM, we went back several hours to begin the activities mid-morning. Don’t overdo it. You want to have fun – and depending on the amount of kids you have counting down, it can take the full hour to get the activity ready, do it, put it away, then get ready for the next. We stayed busy all day long. If you are by yourself, you might want to do the activities every other hour, or a few times throughout the day, etc. Just make sure you can enjoy it!
For each hour that you want to have an activity, blow up a balloon and slide a note in with the activity for that time slot. We had a balloon for each kid to pop each hour, then the oldest read the slip of paper. I put the balloons up on the wall in a clock(ish), shape and we got them down each hour. That way, everything was prepped the night before.
-Bubble Wrap Hopscotch (get holiday bubble wrap from post-Christmas sales for super cheap, tape to the floor, and hop away!)
-Fill out a reminder paper for the year (“I am ___ years old…my favorite song is ______, etc.)
-Make memory jars to fill up throughout the year, or read through last year’s memory jar.
-Make ribbon dancers with dowels and streamers, then have a dance party.
-Decorate pizza, or make some other interactive dinner.
-Make party hats.
-Countdown to the New Year!
The New Year
Make this super special! Countdown, blow noisemakers, throw streamers, cheer…we even had a balloon drop, with a sheet rigged up high, loaded with balloons. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a big hit! Have special drinks ready at the table (we put cotton candy in clear cups and poured Sprite over them to watch it fizz and change colors), and teach them how to do a toast. And our newly-learned tradition came in with eating a grape for each month of the year, just after the countdown (we didn’t have any chiming bells to time it with, and it’s probably not wise to have littles popping grapes that fast, anyway).
We had a blast, and the kids were nice and tired after such a full day, so the mommies got to dress up afterward and enjoy the evening with sleeping kids tucked in upstairs. I would love to incorporate more unit-study like theming to the day, going with whatever time zone we pick. So far, the hustle and bustle of the holidays has made that only a dream. Still, I’d love to hear your ideas!