Looking for fun New Year’s Eve ideas for families?
New Year’s Eve can be a fun and exciting celebration of new beginnings. Every year we all strive to make new resolutions and goals for the coming year. And the celebration leading up to that fresh start can be a lot of fun!
But once you have children your celebration tends to look a bit different than it used to. Instead of heading out to a late night New Year’s Eve party, you usually end up staying home with the kiddos — who usually fall asleep WAY before the main event. Which means we need to get creative with how we put together our celebration with family friendly New Year’s Eve ideas.
And here are some great New Year’s activities for families that you and yours can enjoy. Mix and match these ideas to come up with a way to celebrate for the entire day!
Open up (or start) a yearly blessings jar
I originally found this idea on Facebook and thought it was such a wonderful way to remember (and reflect) on your blessings throughout the year. Basically what you do is set out a jar and a notepad of paper. Then each week you write down one good thing that happened that week and you fold it up and put it in the jar. Then, on New Year’s Eve you open it up and read through the amazing year you had. If you want to know more about how to create one for your family, you can click here to read the post I wrote up here about how to do that.
Have a mini New Year’s Eve party with just the family
Big parties with extended family and friends can be a lot of fun. But they can also be exhausting. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a mini party with just your immediate family. You can still go all out with the snacks, decorations, sparklers, music, etc. But add a little extra spice to your New Year’s Eve by making it an “official” party.
Light off your own fireworks (safely)
If you or your husband know how to safely use fireworks and you live in an area where there’s enough space between houses to make it safe, then why not put off your own fireworks show? My husband has taken to doing this and absolutely loves to put on a show for the kids. He’s even gone all out and purchased timers and all kinds of do-dads and gadgets that make it more fun for him to put together a “real” fireworks show. And if you’re not comfortable with big fireworks, there are a lot of even safer smaller-scale options, even right down to just poppers and sparklers. Every New Year’s needs at least a little sparkle. 😉
Have a big bonfire in your backyard
With a bit of nip in the air a bonfire can be an inviting way to cozy up together. You cuddle up with some flannel blankets, can make smores and cook some hot dogs on the fire to make it even more fun. And if it’s just too cold to even think about doing a bonfire, then why not do the same thing with a fire in your fireplace? That could be a lot of fun too! Make it a living room campout. 🙂
Listen to a family friendly New Year’s playlist
Music can really set the mood, no matter what kind of mood you’re trying to set. And New Year’s is no different. Get help from everyone in the family to put together a fun, upbeat, and positive New Year’s playlist. Try to put something together that reflects the past year and what you all are hoping and praying for in the new year.
Make plans and set goals a family for the coming year
Do you all want to go on a specific family vacation? Or maybe your goal is to move to a bigger house? Or perhaps you want your family to grow more as a godly family who loves and follows God? Whatever your plans and goals are as a family, spend some time on New Year’s Eve brainstorming and making plans on how you can reach your goals and follow through on your New Year’s resolutions as a family.
Play New Year’s specific family fun games
There are a ton of great ideas on Pinterest and around the webosphere for New Year’s games ideas that are fun for the whole family. Many of them don’t need too many things to put together either. Here are some great New Year’s eve family game ideas or you can search Pinterest for more ideas. Things like charades, scavenger hunts, pictionary, and others are great kinds of games that you can adapt for a New Year’s eve theme.
Have a board game tournament (with prizes)
If you don’t want to play New Year’s specific games, then why not have a board game tournament? Break out all of your favorite board games and play play play all day long. You can even come up with special prizes for the winners along the way and a grand prize for whoever wins the entire tournament. Make a day of it and make it fun!
Have a jammies-all-day kind of day
If you’re planning on staying in all day, why not make it something extra special by make it an all-day jammies-day! Let kids stay in their pajamas all day long and keep yours on too! It can help to set an atmosphere of relaxation and just lounging around the house and doing all of the other fun things on this list.
Make your family’s favorite treats and desserts
Spend the day baking all of your family’s favorite treats and sweets with the kids. Let everyone in the family pick at least one of their favorite desserts and then make sure that everyone gets at least one of their favorites made. Give the kids cute little aprons and chef hats to make it even more fun for them. And just enjoy a leisurely day baking and listening to that fun New Year’s playlist we talked about earlier. 😉
Bake countdown cupcakes, cookies, or other dessert
While you’re having your bake-off day (or instead of doing family favorites) you could bake some fun New Year’s specific countdown treats. There are all sorts of great ideas for these on Pinterest that you can explore. But the idea here is that each treat has a number on it. And each hour counting down to New Year’s the family will share the next countdown treat.
Pop some popcorn and watch your favorite (or new) movies
Popcorn and movies never go out of style. And if you’re all cozied up in your jammies still then that makes this even more fun. Have everyone cuddle up on the couch or your bed, break out the popcorn, and have a movie marathon. You could do this a few different ways: pick out your favorite movies of all time, watch your family’s favorite movies from the past year, or watch some family friendly New Year’s themed movies (although you’ll find they are few and far between). But here are a couple of ideas:
Make a ball-shaped piñata (to look like the New Year’s Eve ball that drops)
This can be a fun idea that the whole family will enjoy making together. You can make a piñata and decorate it to look like the New Year’s Eve ball that drops at midnight. Then, when midnight rolls around break it open and enjoy all of the goodies you stuffed it with earlier! Let all the kids have a try, but encourage them to share the treats with everyone when it finally breaks open.
Turn off all the lights and get glowy
Once it gets dark (which is pretty early this time of year) why not try turning off all of the lights and giving the kids glow necklaces, sticks, wands, etc. Let everyone wave them around and enjoy the glow. Even adults can appreciate playing with glow sticks in the dark. Just make sure everyone stays safe and that all the toys are picked up before you turn off the lights! Don’t want anyone tripping over one of them and entering the new year in pain.
Have a faux ball drop celebration
If your kids are too young to attempt to stay up late, then they too can still enjoy the ball drop celebration. There are tons of fake ball drop celebrations (from previous years) on YouTube. Netflix also has a ton of great ones with kid’s favorite cartoon characters. So even the littlest ones in the family can enjoy the festivities.
Let the kids (who are able to) stay up late
If your kids aren’t so little that they have to watch one of the faux ball drops, then why not let them stay up late to be able to watch the REAL ball drop? Or even if you aren’t going to watch it, still let them stay up and do your own countdown with one of the other fun ideas included in this list (I have some even fun ideas coming so keep reading).
Make New Year’s Eve homemade noisemakers
There are so many different ways that you can make noisemakers. With paper plates and cups, rice and beans. There isn’t any steadfast rule for how to make them. Let your children experiment and make their own unique version of a noisemaker. Then have everyone decorate their noisemaker to their liking. Just be sure to make them early enough in the day so that you can make use of them at midnight (when you’ll be doing the next idea…)
Make a lot of noise with a lot of things!
Kids don’t need to be taught how to be loud. But they sure do hear “be quiet” a lot! Why not let this be a special time when they can make all the noise their little hearts desire. Set all of the alarm clocks in the house to go off at midnight, bang pots and pans together, let them walk all over bubble wrap! You can even use those homemade noisemakers we just talked about. Whatever you and your family want to do, find ways to make a lot of noise to “ring” in the New Year.
Make a custom countdown celebration
We’ve already talked about cupcakes and cookies to help countdown during the day. But what about something else really fun that has goodies in it? Things like countdown bags, piñatas, or balloons with goodies stuffed inside. No matter what you do, make each top of the hour fun and festive. And then save the best for last!
Play a New Year’s Eve conversation starter game
There are a lot of great New Year’s games out there and we’ve talked about a few already that you could have fun doing with your family on New Year’s Eve. But another great one kind of in a category of it’s own is a conversation starter game or even a 20 questions game — all themed around the previous year. This can help get the conversation rolling with your kids about how they think their year went. And this would be a great one to bring to do at the dinner table!
Make your own balloon drop
If you’re wanting to get super festive, then your own DIY custom balloon drop is where it’s at. How you do it is you blow up a bunch of balloons, then hold them up to the top of the ceiling with a lightweight blanket, sheet, or piece of fabric. There’s some tricky things that you gotta do to make it easy to drop quickly, but here are tons of tutorials and ideas for that over on Pinterest. Or you can even buy balloon drop bags if you don’t want to make your own.
Look through family photos and videos from the past year
Reminiscing on New Year’s Eve is a great way to celebrate another year gone by. Spend some time thinking about all of the great memories you’ve made together. You can make this even more of an event by displaying your photos and videos from your phone or computer onto your TV for the whole family to enjoy together. There are a lot of methods for mirroring your iPhone or other phone onto your TV whether you use a Roku or other type of device. Just Google to look around at your different options. And bonus points if you print out your favorites to use with the NEXT family friendly New Year’s idea!
Spend the day scrapbooking favorite memories from the previous year
This can be something really fun for the whole family to get into, especially if your kids love crafts. Print out your favorite photos from the year and spend some time making scrapbook pages for them. Let your kids make their own pages and get as creative as they’d like. If you have a photo printer like this one right at home then you can print out as many as you need straight from home, which makes it even easier. You can also break out your Cricut and cut out some great scrapbook elements for your kids to use too. Or regular old craft supplies are always a great standby too.
Have a family camp out in the living room
If you saw the bonfire idea above, maybe you already plan to do this. But, either way, it can be a lot of fun to break out a small tent that will fit in your living room or make your own with sheets, bring out your sleeping bags, and have an indoor family camp out. Then you can do some of the other things on this list too: like watch movies and look through your family photos from the year.
Make New Year’s Eve party hats
You could just buy party hats, sure. But then you might be missing out on an opportunity to let your kids get creative and to make more memories together. Break out the craft supplies and walk your kids through how to make their own New Year’s Eve party hats! Let them get as creative as they’d like with them. Just be sure to make them early enough in the day so they can put them on before the stroke of midnight!
Have a fancy dress up party
Let your kids put on their fanciest dress up clothes, crowns, hats, bow ties, top hats, etc. And you and dad can do the same. Then spend the day in fancified-mode — all dressed up and no where you want to go. 😉 Have fun with it and be sure that you and dad join in on the fancy dress up fun too. That will make it so much more fun (and hilarious) for the kids)
Make fun New Year’s crafts
If you’re a crafty or artsy family, why not make a day of crafting! There are all kinds of fun things you could craft that would help to celebrate the new year. Like make fireworks paintings or noisemakers or even New Year’s glittery playdough! I’ve rounded up a bunch of ideas to a New Year’s Kids’ Crafts Pinterest board here to help you find some ideas. 🙂
Toast in the New Year
Toasting in the New Year is a long-held tradition. But even if you’re not into champagne, you can toast with any of your favorite drinks! From sparkling grape juice to milk, or even water! And it can even be a little fun and quirky to use TOAST to toast! Like real actual bread toast. The kids might get a fun kick out of it, and so would you and your spouse!
New Year’s can be fun for the whole family!
Welcoming in a fresh New Year doesn’t have to be just for adults heading out to a bar and getting drunk. It can be a lot of fun for the whole family to create an enjoyable and family-friendly celebration. Make a whole day out of it and just have fun ringing in the New Year as a family.
What do you like to do with your family for New Year’s Eve? I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments below. 🙂