We all remember the days when we could spend HOURS leading up to New Years Eve planning what we would wear, where we would eat, with whom we’d party until 2 am, etc. Gone are those days for most of us. Now, if we plan to live it up, we have to find a sitter (hard to do on such a huge holiday!) AND count the hours until littles will wake up. If you’re okay being over your party days and plan to spend the holidays with your little ones (honestly, this sounds pretty dang cozy to me), we’ve got you covered with kid friendly New Years Eve party ideas! Here are some fun ideas for having a family friendly New Years Eve party!
How Do You Celebrate New Years Eve With Kids?
I’ll be honest here and say that, as a childfree person who loves kids (read my article on that here), I think a New Years Eve party with them sounds pretty great, which is why I’ve researched and compiled these ideas to help you have a family friendly new years eve party.
Disclaimer: I also enjoy sleep, so I’m keen on the idea of going to bed before the ball drops, and I’m not even mad about it.
My ideas for a kid friendly New Years Eve party include tips for kids of multiple ages.
I’m also envisioning this party as the kind of shindig where you can invite other families with children and perhaps, just perhaps, let the adults stay up until midnight for a champagne toast!
Tips for Celebrating New Years Eve with Toddlers and Younger Children
Let’s start with the most difficult age group to entertain. If you have toddlers and younger children at your kid friendly New Years Eve party, you’re going to need to do some party prepping.
If Possible, Hire Help
We know that finding a sitter on New Years Eve is difficult, but there are ways around this. Many families know younger teenagers who likely/hopefully aren’t off partying yet. Ages 12-14 or so are too young to be off on their own, yet too old to really get into some of the ideas we’re suggesting here.
That’s why we think it’s a great idea to pay older kids to help run craft tables and generally help you manage your younger party-goers. A pay rate of $10 per hour won’t break the bank, and this way you can ensure that you have some help with your younger attendees.
You very well may have guests coming who can happily bring their teen-adolescents along to help!
Have a Craft Station
Once you have secured some younger teenagers to help out, let them manage the craft area for toddlers. Here are some great ideas for your craft station:
Color Your Own Party Hats
Ring in the new year in a way kids will love with the DIY New Years idea! Amazon as some great, pre-assembled party hats that kids can color. Or, let the older kids make hats out of paper and staple them together for the little ones.
Help kids get into the spirit by having a face painting station. Use non-toxic face paint with glitter to really ramp up the celebratory spirit.
Want to REALLY up your game for this family friendly New Years Eve party? Grab this reusable photo booth backdrop from Etsy, snag some props, and let people get full family photos while decked out for the New Year!
Cupcake decorating is a fun and tasty way to enjoy any party!
Once the younger kids are done making party hats and getting their faces painted, break out some premade cupcakes, white icing, and lots of gold and silver sprinkles! You can let the kids ice the cupcakes, sprinkle them to their tiny heart’s desire, and then stick a cool NYE topper in them. Serve on a simple, festive paper plate for an added touch.
Looking to add party games to your list of fun activities? Make cupcake decorating a contest, and ask the whole family to participate!
Pro tip: if you want even less work, buy ready-to-bake cookie dough and let them decorate cookies!
Stage an Early Kids Ball Drop
If you plan to have adults stay later, you might want to think about having an early ball drop to help the wee ones get in on the action. You can buy plenty of party decor, such as balloons and banners and have the little ones gather to watch the ball drop in, say, Australia.
Voila! The kids have partied and watched the “new year” ring in.
If you are inviting over toddlers and young children whose parents will want to stay up with you and have a few adult beverages and say, I don’t know, actually stay up ‘til midnight, we suggest preparing a room in your house (maybe your own child’s room) with extra pallets, blankets, and sleeping areas. Slumber party!
Be sure to have parents portable cribs if appropriate for young kids.
This way you can have parents bring pjs and other necessities, put the kids to bed at an earlier time, and then go back to partying!
Tips for Celebrating New Years Eve with Kids Ages 7-11
All of our earlier tips regarding crafts still apply for the older children at your family friendly New Years Eve party, but you can get a bit more age specific for them!
What Games Can We Play on New Years Eve?
Games and activities are a great way to engage older kids. Here are some ideas:
Have Children Create New Years’ Resolutions.
These can be as simple as trying harder at math, cleaning their rooms more frequently, learning to play a sport, etc. Grab our free printable New Years Resolution sheet for kids and let them have a blast!
If you want to make it into a game, children can write out their resolutions anonymously, and you can put them into a hat and let them guess whose resolutions belong to whom.
Yep. You heard us. This is one of our favorite activity ideas because it’s oh-so-fun for the countdown.
If you’re amenable to letting your older children stay up for the ball drop, or if you plan to stage their own ball drop a little later than that of the younger kids, we suggest letting them partake of the fun by having some sparkling jello (made with nonalcoholic sparkling grape juice, of course!). This recipe is so fun!
Your Family Friendly New Years Eve After Party
We love all these ideas for including children in your New Years Eve Fun. If you allow older children to stay awake until midnight, then go for it! No judgment here–you know your kids and what they are capable of (either meltdowns or going with the flow, most likely).
If not, settle them down in a different room than your younger kids by allowing them to watch a movie and/or read some books. If the pre-teens you have hired are still there, they can help monitor the middle group and enforce some quiet time (that hopefully leads to sleep).
When all the kids are settled down, it’s time to pop some champagne and celebrate your own new year! We know you’re probably pretty good at that, so we’ll let you make a run to the liquor store on your own.
What did we miss?? Tell us your kid friendly new years eve party ideas in the comments!
Katy Huie Harrison, PhD, is an author, toddler mom, and owner of Undefining Motherhood. She lives in Atlanta with her husband (affectionately known on the internet as “Husband,”) son (Jack), and dog (Charlotte). She believes our society has historically placed too many expectations on women, defining womanhood and motherhood in a way that is restrictive. Her goal is to shift the paradigm about what it means to be a woman and mother, giving all women a greater sense of agency over their own lives. You can find Katy and her work featured in places like CNN’s Headline News, Scary Mommy, Motherhood and Social Exclusion, and various other podcasts and websites.