10 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Kids
1. Host a fancy dinner at home
Get out the good china, dress up and have a fancy dinner. Make it a family affair by giving everyone a job from creating the menu to setting the table and pouring the drinks. For additional fun, include some traditional New Year’s dishes from around the globe. Black eye peas, grapes (make sure you eat 12!), and dishes that feature animals that move forward (pork and fish as opposed to chicken since they scratch backward) are supposed to help bring wealth, prosperity, and opportunity. This is also the perfect time to support a local restaurant that might be only doing takeout!
2. Have a family slumber party or dance party
Drag all the blankets and pillows into the living room and set up camp for the night. Rent movies to watch, play board games and maybe let the kids pick out snacks that are normally off-limits. Have fun seeing who is still awake at midnight! Another fun idea: Have a dance party. Create a playlist of favorites from Spotify. While you dance the night away, have a balloon pop countdown.
3. Create a bucket list
Where would you like to visit in 2022? What are some of your family's goals for the year? Keep track of your dreams with a printable bucket list. You can even print out pictures to add to it.
4. Celebrate another country’s New Year
Are your kids too young to make it to midnight? Pick a country whose midnight is easier for little ones to stay awake for and celebrate at that time. Set your clocks for the revised countdown. You can even make themed decorations and cook food from that country. Some countries have great New Year's traditions to add to your own. It's a Greek custom to serve Vasilopita (New Year's Cake) at midnight. This special cake is baked with a coin or charm hidden inside. The head of the household cuts the cake exactly at midnight and whoever receives the piece with the coin will have good fortune throughout the year. In Italy, they throw old furniture out the window! You can have your own "out with the old and in with the new" fun by doing some furniture swapping and purging.
5. Get outside
Get fresh air—and a fresh start to 2022—by spending some time outside. Go ice skating, try snowshoeing or take a winter wonderland walk to look at lights. If there's snow where you are, you can even build a snow fort, decorate a snowman or have a snowball fight. First Day Hikes are also becoming a tradition for many families at state parks. Any amount of time spent outside has tremendous benefits, so why not start the year off with a healthy frame of mind?
6. Turn your Christmas tree into a "Resolution tree"
Putting away the Christmas decorations can be a bittersweet activity. Instead of taking down all of the decorations, just take down the ornaments. Have kids write down resolutions like eating healthier or getting good grades and tie these to the tree. Now your Christmas tree is a Resolution tree!
7. Have a favorite’s night
Spend the last day and night of the year doing your family's favorite things! Eat your favorite foods, wear your favorite pajamas, read your favorite books, hike your favorite trail. Do a mix of everyone’s faves to keep it interesting and fun. Still in the giving mood? Wrap two or so of your favorite things (or new duplicates) and have a white elephant exchange with your family, too.
8. Attend a New Year's event
Some of our favorite children's museums across the country (Please Touch Museum, Erie Children's Museum) are hosting celebrations throughout the day on December 31 for those who can't make it up until midnight. Expect a countdown to noon, ball drop, dancing and more! The Story Pirates are also hosting a virtual party at 3pm EST.
9. Look back to look forward
Before the clock strikes midnight, go through the smartphone photos and videos from 2021 and take a trip down memory lane. Chat about the good times and the bad, but revel in the fact that even in the bad times there was something to be gained. Can you find a few things to even laugh about? Create a 2021 time capsule to open in the future. A variation of this is to do a year in review. Kids may like this emoji version or other choices on Pinterest.
10. Don't forget to toast!
Whether you want to cheers with sparkling grape juice, a root beer float or even just a glass of milk, ringing in the brand-new year just wouldn't be complete without a little *clink.*