Have a Kid-Friendly New Year’s Eve Countdown

Have a Kid-Friendly New Year’s Eve Countdown

Photo by Kim Stahnke

Whether you couldn’t find a sitter for New Year’s Eve or you just don’t feel like fighting holiday traffic, you can still have a fun, kid-friendly celebration. The key is to keep the kids occupied as the clock counts down. We’ve gathered a few family-friendly ideas to help you ring in 2019.

Count Down the Hours

There are so many fun ways to help kids mark time until the new year arrives. Pick the time you want to start (and end!) and count down the hours by opening a bag, package, or even popping a balloon. Mark each bag with the time and include a fun activity for each hour. This need not be expensive. Here are some ideas of what to stuff the bags with:

Party hats and noisemakers
Party poppers
A deck of cards and game instructions
Pens and paper to write New Year’s resolutions
Craft projects
Glow sticks
Milk and Cookie Cocktails


Every party needs snacks!

Serve up milk and cookies in style by coating the rims of small glasses or even wine glasses with colorful sprinkles. Spread a thin layer of honey or corn syrup on a plate, and then pour out sprinkles onto a separate plate. Simply dip the rims of glasses in honey or corn syrup, then dredge in the sprinkles. (Leave the glass upside down in the sprinkles for a few minutes so that the sprinkles don’t slide down the glass!) Cool the glasses in the fridge, fill with cold milk and serve with cookies.


DIY Noisemakers

Create DIY noisemakers for midnight using objects found around the house. Decorate empty, lidded canisters such as butter containers, coffee cans, Pringles cans, etc., and add dried beans or rice to make shakers. Or thread large jingle bells onto pipe cleaners, then twist the pipe cleaner together at the ends for a jingle bracelet.


Sparkling Science

Younger kids love to watch bubbles grow when vinegar is added to baking soda. You can glam up this simple science experiment by mixing glitter or confetti with the baking soda. To do this, mix together baking soda and glitter or confetti in a shallow bowl (be sure to use plastic confetti, not paper). When kids add drops of vinegar with droppers to the soda mixture, it will produce sparkling bubbles. If you don’t have droppers, kids can pour small amounts of vinegar over the baking soda with cups.


Bake a Clock

If your kids love baking, a fun and delicious activity is to make a countdown clock. You can do this by baking cookies or cupcakes and arranging the treats in a circle on a round serving platter or pizza pan. Decorate each with the numbers of the clock and use licorice sticks as clock hands to mark the time.


Balloons, Balloons, Balloons

It’s not a party without balloons, right? Confetti-filled balloons will brighten up your space, then you can pop them at midnight for a confetti shower!

If you really want to wow the kids, stage your own balloon drop! You can make one by taping a plastic party tablecloth filled with balloons to your ceiling.


Photo Booth

Even if it’s just you and the kiddos, why not have a photo booth? There’s no need for an elaborate set-up; tacking up a sheet or plastic tablecloth to the wall to use as a background works well. Gather fun props from around the house, such as hats and sunglasses, or buy a New Year’s Eve photo booth prop.


Family Time Capsule

Putting a time capsule together as a part of your New Year’s Eve activities can be a nice way to reflect on the past year. This can be as simple or elaborate as you wish! Grab a shoebox or big manila envelope and gather your time capsule items. Ideas for what to include: your child’s handprint, a family picture, and an interview. Questioning your kids about their current likes and dislikes, life goals, and more is fun in the moment and to look back on next year. Simply Google “interview questions for kids” for ideas on what questions to ask – some bloggers even offer printable Q&A forms. Once finished, tuck away your time capsule and open next year.


Whatever you choose to do with your family on the eve of the New Year, you can make sure it’s memorable with these sure-fire party pleasers.

New Year’s Eve Picture Books

The night can get long and a quiet break for storytime is good for everyone. Try one of these holiday-themed books to balance out the activities.

“The Night Before New Year’s,” by Natasha Wing
The kids want to stay up until midnight, but can they make it?

“Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution,” by Pat Miller
A fun way to explain New Year’s Resolutions to children.

“Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas,” by Gail Piernas-Davenport
This book introduces kids to the way New Year’s is celebrated in different cultures.


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