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10 New Year's Eve Party Ideas for Kids

Countdown to kid-friendly fun!


Who says New Year’s Eve is only for grown-ups? This New Year’s countdown is all about ringing in the good times with the kiddos.

1. Mock Countdown

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If the kids at your celebration are too young to stay up until midnight, you can have a mock countdown at a more suitable time. Simply change the clocks so that they will strike 12 when it is actually only 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Hand out noise makers, party hats and confetti to toss when the countdown ends. This is a great way for kids to be a part of the celebration, but still get to bed on time.

2. Balloon Fun

Image © Christine Gauvreau
Balloon Drop
Maybe you can’t have a ball drop in your own home, but you can have a bunch of balloons drop as you ring in the New Year. You can use a balloon drop kit, or make your own by filling some netting or a plastic tablecloth with inflated balloons (don’t use helium to inflate). Tape the balloon-filled net to the ceiling in the party room and release them when guests reach the end of their midnight countdown.

Balloon Wishes

Another fun idea using balloons is to have each child write a resolution or wish for the New Year on a piece of paper. Have them each fold their paper and place it inside a balloon, then fill the balloons with helium, tie them with ribbon and have the kids release them as the clock strikes 12.

3. Warm Cocoa Toast

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Kids want to be a part of the New Year’s Eve toast, too. Why not let them indulge with a fancy champagne flute or wine glass – made of plastic and filled with non-alcoholic drinks, of course. You can pour ginger ale, a kid-friendly punch or even milk into their fancy beverage cups, but my favorite is warm cocoa (hot cocoa that has been allowed to cool just a bit), topped with marshmallows.

4. Midnight Snack Bags

Image © Christine Gauvreau
Staying up late can really work up an appetite. Have kids make their own snack bags to enjoy at midnight. They can fill brown paper lunch bags with treats such as New Year’s cookies or winter trail mix. Have them draw their own countdown clocks on circles cut out of card stock or sheets of foam, and paste them to the bags. More ideas include scrawling messages on the bags, and decorating them with glitter, stickers and ribbon. This a fun way to celebrate the midnight theme while feeding hungry guests, or a cute way to pack a treat for later.

5. New Year's Eve Party Games

Image © Christine Gauvreau
From guessing other guests' resolutions to New Year’s karaoke, these ideas for kids’ party games and activities are designed to entertain guests of all ages at your celebration.

6. Slumber Party

Image © Christine Gauvreau
New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to throw a slumber party. Guests can gather in their jammies and ring in the New Year from their sleeping bags, or even from a tent pitched on the living room floor. For girls, combine some traditional slumber party makeover activities with the camp out idea to throw a New Year’s Eve glamping bash.

7. New Year's Tree Trimming

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If your Christmas tree is still standing, why not redecorate it for the occasion? Remove the Christmas ornaments and invite kids to a celebration that includes trimming the tree with New Year’s decorations such as silver tinsel, noisemakers, balloons and streamers. Don’t forget the shiny top hat as the tree-topper!

8. Photo Booth

Image © Christine Gauvreau
With party hats on and noise makers in hand, the kids at your party are practically begging for a photo-op. A photo booth is a fun addition to any party, but especially exciting on New Year’s Eve. Whether you make your own booth, rent one or hire a professional photographer, these photo booth party ideas just may make your event the highlight of the year.

9. Winter Pool Party

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Throw a New Year’s bash in a hotel where kids can enjoy a pool party, followed by a night of hotel room fun that includes things like room service, movies and microwave popcorn.

10. Homemade Noise Makers

Have kids pass the time until the countdown by making their very own noise makers. Recycled plastic bottles can be painted or wrapped with decorative paper, then filled with items such as beads or hard pasta – anything that makes noise when shaken. Another idea is to make these paper plate noise makers. Label the noise makers with the children’s names so they can also take them home as New Year’s Eve party favors.
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