21 Fun New Year’s Eve Ideas For Families To Celebrate With Kids Of All Ages

With kids, long gone are the wild night's out on New Year's Eve, but you can still have a happy + fun New Year's celebration! We've rounded up the best New Year's Eve ideas for families with kids of all ages!

Key Takeaways:

Click to jump for tutorials, recipes, and details for creating a fun + easy New Year's Eve with family!

festive NYE's picks to make it an extra special night

As the sparkling confetti of New Year's Eve promises a fresh start, families around the globe are redefining the celebration, turning it into an inclusive and joyous event for all ages.

Gone are the days when December 31st was strictly an adult affair; now, we are ushering in the New Year with an emphasis on crafting, games, and movies that resonate even with the youngest members of our families.

It's about creating an atmosphere brimming with laughter, where DIY crafts replace fancy dress codes, family game nights take precedence over exclusive parties, mocktails and treats replace cocktails, and bedtime-friendly kids countdowns are as thrilling as the real one at the stroke of midnight.

This evolution reflects our collective desire to foster moments that become the golden memories we'll cherish well into the future when our kids inevitably won't want to stay home with us or wonder how they themselves can make New Year's fun with their parents instead of friends.

We're not just watching the ball drop; we're building traditions, nurturing holiday spirits, and most importantly, we're doing it together.

NYE-Themed Crafting Fun

I’ve discovered the sheer joy of ringing in the New Year with sparkle and glue sticks alongside my kiddos. It’s the time when we shake out the craft box and let our creativity run wild with NYE-themed projects.

Festive Fashion

Pick up some New Year's hats or themed glasses, pull out the craft supplies, and let your kids go wild creating the funkiest New Year's outfit!

Countdown Craft

Depending on your kids age – and if you want them to actually track the time – you can make your own countdown!

How to do it:
  • Grab a paper plate and punch 12 holes around the outer rim
  • Add the clock numbers next to each hole
  • Use a brad to fasten on clock hands you've cut from festive paper
  • Have the kids tie a sparkly pipe cleaner in each hole.
  • As the clock strikes each hour, pull it off!

DIY Confetti Poppers

These are SUCH a fun festive New Year's craft! It's best suited for kids at least 3 or 4 years old though because of choking hazards.

How to make DIY New Year's Poppers:
  • Save empty toilet paper tubes + decorate them with glitter, marker, paint, whatever!
  • Get equal number of balloons as you have rolls. Knot off the empty balloon then cut the top off of it
  • Grab some festive tape and fix the balloon to one end of the toilet paper roll
  • Use a hole puncher to clip out lots of little pieces of confetti from tissue paper or construction paper
  • Pour the confetti in
  • OPTIONAL: You may want to take some tissue paper and fill the top with a thin crinkly piece in case the popper tip over before you're ready to use them. Just have the kids remove it before popping
  • Hold the Confetti Popper upright, pull the knot of the balloon down towards the floor,and watch the confetti fly!

Make Your Own Noise Makers

DIY noise makers for New Year's Eve with supplies you have on hand is pretty easy. Here are a few options:

  • Outer shell/casing: you can use paper plates or tiny boxes (think card boxes or empty raisin containers), or even toilet paper rolls cut in half. Decorate whatever style you choose first using glitter, markers, paint, sequins, etc.
  • Partial seal: After your casing is decorated, you'll want to seal it off with duct tape about 90% of the way for paper plates or just leaving one open side for boxes/toilet paper tubes. For toilet paper tubes, you can use some construction paper taped over the end.
  • Filling: Inside your container you'll add whatever you have on hand. Some ideas to consider include jingle bells, coins, dried pantry items like beans, cereal, rice, or pasta.
  • Finish sealing: Once all your noisy items are inside, seal off the remainder of your noise maker with tape.
  • Additional fixings: Add streamers or ribbons to your noise maker for an extra festive finish and glue/tape a straw or stick to the base like a wand if you'd like to spin it back and forth by rubbing it between your hands.

Ultimate Family Game Night

Pulling off the ultimate family game night for New Year's Eve is like setting up the perfect domino display—one strategic move leads to a cascade of fun!

Start with the game selection: Opting for a mix to cater to different ages and interests.

This is a great time to bust out the kid + toddler board games they got during the holidays!

Or you can set up simple “minute to win it” games like:
  • Who can fit the most marshmallows in their mouth the fastest,
  • Racing a wind up toy down a path,
  • Placing a cookie on the face and seeing who can get it in their mouth without hands the quickest
  • “Decorate the ‘New Year's Ball'” – sort of like a New Year's Eve twist on the Halloween “mummy” game where you split into teams and have to decorate each other in tissue paper, but then decorate for a festive New Year's celebration with streamers, pipe cleaners, etc.
  • Countdown to midnight: A kid friendly twist on beer pong! Using plastic cups filled with liquid (to anchor), label each one with 1-12 then have players land ping pong balls – in order – to countdown to midnight
  • Drop down to midnight: Get a paper plate and label it like a clock 1 through 12. Fill another plate with M&M’s, tic tacs, marshmallows, or any other small piece of candy/food. Use a straw to suck up 1 piece of food at a time, then drop it over the clock numbers in order to countdown to midnight
  • Balloon Pop (suitable for older kids): Using this set of countdown confetti balloons, have players pop them in order to countdown to midnight. You can have them try and pop the balloons without using their hands or pop the balloons using darts (older kids or adults) for an added twist!

Next, level up the ambiance. Convert the living room into a game hub, with cozy pillows on the floor and fairy lights twinkling like stars. This isn't just another family night—it's an event. Have a special “Game Master” hat for the evening's host, jazzing things up with a touch of ceremony.

A crucial touch—stock up on snacks. A spread of finger foods keeps the players' energy up without needing lengthy breaks for a sit-down meal. Think easy-to-eat treats that won't mess up the game board.

And don't shy away from a little tradition—maybe inaugurate a ‘Winner's Cup‘ for the family champion, a playful nod to the competitive spirit of the night.

Finally, the clincher for an unforgettable game night—create a close out tradition like a final New Year's Eve toast after the final game before the countdown.

It's these unique touches that lodge the evening firmly in memory, forging traditions that'll keep the family asking, “What games are we playing this New Year's?”

Family Movie Magic at Home

After the glitter of holiday crafting settles, I find snuggling up for a New Year's Eve movie watch party to be pure gold.

Picture this: the living room is transformed into a cozy fort of blankets and pillows, the glow from the screen illuminates excited faces, and a selection of heartwarming movies awaits.

List Of New Year's Movies For Families To Watch:

  • Winnie The Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year is a great pick for toddlers
  • Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!
  • Rudolph's Shiny New Year
  • Happy Feet: Not as “on the nose” but has us tapping into the New Year with its message of embracing uniqueness,
  • High School Musical
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • New Year's Eve
  • An Affair To Remember

New Year's Eve Menu: Tasty Treats + Fun Tradition

Whipping up New Year's treats becomes a highlight of our celebrations — and why not? My little sous-chefs are always eager to jump in, and I adore seeing their eyes light up as we create something yummy together.

Kitchen bonding is not just about indulging in sweet or savory delights; it's about those giggles when flour dusts our noses or the pride they feel when sprinkling the final touch of decorations.

Start with something simple, like fruit sparklers – skewered berries and melon balls that mimic fireworks in joyous color. It's a no-cook recipe, keeping things safe and straightforward for those tiny hands.

Then consider braving some homemade pizza — Most grocery stores offer fresh made dough in the bakery section to keep things simple. Plus kids stretching the dough makes for quite the spectacle, and each family member can personalize their slice or pie with favored toppings.

For desert you can always set up a festive ice cream bar with sparkly sprinkles for a fun NYE twist!

These cooking activities are more than tasks — they are memory-makers and laughter-inducers. Making New Year’s treats turns into an endearing tradition that, I hope, my little ones will carry forward into their families one day.

RELATED READ: New Year's Eve Countdowns For Kids

Toasting with Family-Friendly Mocktails

As the clock ticks closer to the New Year, there's nothing quite like a bubbly, festive mocktail to make everyone in the family feel part of the celebration!

Having tried a myriad of non-alcoholic concoctions, I've discovered the key to the perfect mocktail is a blend of fun, fizz, and flavor. Of course you can go with the classic Shirley Temple, but these are extra fun:

Picture the kids' eyes lighting up as they sip on a Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade Fizz, a concoction of fresh raspberries, a splash of lemonade, topped with sparkling water, and garnished with a sprig of mint. Trust me, it's a crowd-pleaser!

But why stop there? For a tropical twist, our Pineapple Ginger Sparkler mixes pineapple juice with a hint of ginger ale, creating a sweet, zesty tingle that dances on the tongue – it's an instant ticket to an imaginary beachside countdown. My kids love the addition of a fun drink umbrella and silly straws.

And for the little ones who adore all things pink, a Strawberry-Lime Mocktail combines muddled strawberries with lime soda, served in sugar-rimmed glasses with a strawberry on top for that extra bit of pizzazz.

These family-friendly mocktails do more than just quench thirst; they add a touch of sophistication to our New Year's Eve ensemble, bringing the allure of the midnight toast to every family member. Lift your glasses, toast to the highs and lows, and sip your way into the New Year with style and sweetness – it's a cheer-filled clink that's music to my ears.

Kid-Friendly Countdown Celebrations

As a mom of littles, we know how sacred bedtime is! No reason to keep your kids up late for New Year's Eve celebrations! Instead of inflicting FOMO upon them with bed-time protests, opt for mini-countdown around bedtime!

You can watch any of these new years eve countdowns for kids, pop your poppers, and let the confetti rain!

PRO TIP: Do it an hour before bedtime, so they feel like they got to “enjoy” the celebration and it gives them time to wind-down after the big “ball drop.”

If your kid can tell time, don't forget to change the clocks on your microwave, stove, and throughout your house to match!

Let's be real, celebrating New Year's with wide-eyed kiddos is a different kind of joy, one that's too precious to cloud with fatigue. Ingenious, right?

RELATED READ: Ultimate List Of Unique New Year’s Resolution Ideas

Reflecting on Memories and Dreams

I find that there's something magical about sitting with my family, huddled under the glow of string lights, sharing the standout moments we've each tucked away over the past twelve months.

With hearts wide open, we recount tales that had us in stitches, adventures that took our breath away, and even the challenges we bravely faced. This isn't just about reminiscing; it's about passing along the narrative thread of our family's history as we weave it together in real-time.

Creating the right setting is key for this kind of memory sharing—it calls for more than your average evening at home. So, I pull out the cozy throw blankets, light a few candles, and brew some hot cocoa. These little touches make everyone feel settled and ready to dive deep into conversation.

And then we dream aloud. Casting our wishes for the upcoming year like dandelion seeds into the wind, hopeful for what might grow. It's a tradition rooted in vulnerability and hope. Oe that I find draws us closer as we step into the new year linked by our shared aspirations and strengthened by our collective journey.

READ NEXT: How To Spend The Week Between Christmas and New Years

Welcoming New Beginnings Together

I hope you can envision a colorful, joyfilled New Year's Eve celebration with family through these ideas of NYE-themed crafts, indulging in the laughter-infused chaos of game night antics, and savoring New Year's treats!

We've woven the very fabric of family traditions, each thread bursting with the pure joy of celebrating together. Adopting these family-focused New Year's activities doesn't just culminate in a night of fun—it plants the seeds for memories that will bloom year after year, nurturing the roots of our family bonds.

And so, as our kid-friendly New Year's countdown leads us to the cusp of new beginnings, let's raise a glass of bubbly, non-alcoholic mocktails in a toast to the past year's shared smiles and the coming one's!

Here's to creating celebrations that are uniquely ours. May they resonate with laughter, echo with joy, and, most of all, be remembered for the love they encapsulate. Onward to bright, new beginnings, together as a family.

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