How to celebrate New Year’s Eve with Children

Are you planning to ring in the New Year with children this year?  Celebrating with children can be challenging, but do not fret, Jennifer Carver of Spaceships and Laser Beams is here to help! She’s put together some tips for throwing a kid-friendly New Year’s Eve party full of the fun and excitement that kids love!

#1- Dress down for the occasion!  A kid-friendly New Year’s Eve means you can leave those uncomfortable dress clothes in your closet for another event.  Celebrate in comfort by having a pajama party!  This means you and the kids can move around with ease and don’t have to worry about spilling on the “good clothes”.  Even better, outfitted in jammies, your kids will be all ready for bed when the clock (finally) strikes midnight!

#2- Celebrate on a convenient timetable.  Nobody says you have to wait up until midnight local time to blow those party horns and bang those pots and pans.  If your little ones want to celebrate, but won’t make it until midnight, consider counting down with another time zone!  Change clocks in the home to reflect the new “time” and have some fun countdown activities prepared for the kids to pass the time until “midnight”.  Parent plus?  You’ve now freed up a few hours of adult only party time!

#3- Plan kid-friendly games and activities.  Kids of all ages love playing games.  From board games to card games to matching games and more, choose games appropriate for your crowd.  Consider numbering gift bags or boxes with countdown numbers, allowing a new game or activity to be chosen at the appropriate time.  For example:  bag #4 may have a children’s music cd to dance to, while bag #3 may have a game to play.  Bag #2 may have a snack to eat, while bag #1 has the party cups and sparkling cider to pour in preparation for “midnight”.

#4- Serve a smorgasbord of kid-favorite snacks and treats.  No fancy hors d’oeuvres required.  However, make things fun by displaying kid favorites like stacks of crackers and cheese on fancy trays with festive picks.  Use treat cups to serve individual sized portions of candy, caramel popcorn or snack mix.  Mini cupcakes and cookies are bite-sized options, minimizing mess and allowing kids to sample a variety of items without causing upset stomachs from overeating.

#5- Stock a basket with party horns and hats, noise makers, beads and feather boas.  Just because they are young, doesn’t mean the traditional New Year’s favorites are lost on them.  They’ll love to dress up and celebrate the whole night long!

#6 – At the stroke of midnight, let the kids go crazy!  It’s only one night of the year, so let them go crazy getting all of their pent up energy out!  Blow party horns.  Bang pots and pans.  Whoop and holler.  Throw the confetti.  If it’s safe to do so, let them run around your front yard for a few minutes. 

Add your favorite ideas to this list of kid-friendly tips and make your New Year’s Eve party one your children won’t soon forget!

Cupcake decorated with colorful sprinkles and a sparkler


  1. What a great post!! Thanks for the super ideas 🙂

  2. These are all great ideas for people with kids. My three kids are dogs, so I try to keep the noise to a minimum on New Years. When the fireworks go off, they're all under the bed.
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  3. Masshole Mommy says

    Last year my husband and I both passed out and the kids ended up waking us up at midnight LOL.

  4. These are great ideas. We always let our kids go a little nuts when the clock strikes midnight. They love having no rules for those few minutes.
    My recent post How Healthy Essentials is Getting Me Ready for the Holidays!

  5. Fantastic tips! We always have a big family party since it's also my birthday. I need lots of ideas to keep those kids happy and occupied!

  6. Great tips. The kids always beg to stay up, but never quite make it. LOL… This year may be the year, though. Thanks for the ideas.

  7. This year is one of the first years we will be celebrating New Years with our son. Great idea to plan kid friendly activities!

  8. The kids rarely make it past 10, so we either wake them up at midnight or celebrate 'East Coast Midnight' 3 hours early.

  9. We get to spend New Years Eve with several of our grand kids this year. We are really looking forward to it. I'm gonna but some of your suggestions to use.

  10. We always stay up to watch the ball drop on New Years Eve. We've been doing that with my son since he was born.
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  11. loveforlacquer says

    These are all great ideas! I'm not sure if my 4 yr old will make it.. but it's worth a shot

  12. Such a cute idea to make New Years Eve much more children friendly!
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  13. I love spending new years eve with the kids, it's so fun!
    My recent post New Year’s Resolutions that You Can Actually Keep

  14. We go to my best friends' house for New Years. Her kids are best friends with my kids so they have fun together while the adults hang out. it is perfect!
    My recent post From sun up to sun down, Healthy Essentials helps you feel and look great!

  15. We have always done the same thing for New Years Eve. It is my nieces Birthday so the whole family gets together to celebrate New Years at midnight. Then we sing Happy Birthday at 12:01.

  16. The kids always want to join in the New Years celebration. These are great ideas to celebrate with little ones!

  17. That's a fun list and one I know my kids would love and appreciate too.

  18. Great suggestions. We do fondue – pizza fondue and chocolate fondue. This is a treat and we do it on New Years Eve.
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  19. These are some great tips. We used to always let ours stay up late to watch the ball drop. We played board games all night, danced, made special food and just made it really fun.

  20. Mrs. Jilly Fisher says

    I want that cupcake! haha and such great ideas! I am looking forward to it.

  21. when my kids were little we would have a nice evening at home and watch the ball drop on TV. It was always fun to see if the kids could make it till midnight.

  22. Some really cute and fun ideas! When our kids were little we let them help pick what we did as a family. That was always fun.
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  23. justamom8225 says

    These are really great tips. We're spending NYE at home and just watching the ball drop.

  24. Great ideas!! I often focus so much on christmas that I’ve forgotten to make New Years plans!!

  25. tweenselmom says

    on new years eve, we all blow the loudest horns and the kids enjoy it!

  26. Ann Bacciaglia says

    My kids are older now and we all end up doing our own thing. I love the tip about letting the kids go crazy at midnight. It is such a fun time of the year. Full of hope and promise.

  27. I used to stay up with the kids on New Year's for their sake. They really did think it was such a big deal!
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  28. We have a PJ party with the kids every year. It's a ton of fun!

  29. Thanks for the reminders….my kids are 16 yrs apart, some of this stuff will be useful as it's been years since I've had to plan for a toddler!

  30. maggiesblog2 says

    Great post! We always celebrate at home, just us and the kids. We usually make a special meal and let the boys stay up and watch the ball drop!

  31. how neat! I love all these ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  32. These are all great ideas! There are many ways to include children in celebrating New Year's Eve!

  33. Thanks for the great ideas. My girls are at the age where they would like to celebrate!

  34. Great post. Up until last year we would stay home with the kids. Last year we went to the downtown area for the First Night event and let the kids stay up super late.


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