When I think of New Year’s Eve, images of sparkly outfits, bubbly cocktails and midnight kisses are among those that come to mind. For families, though, there is a whole different side to the occasion—one that can be every bit as fun and festive as the more adult-centered parties and events. Below are five family-friendly ideas for ringing in the New Year. Hopefully one of these will be just the right way to celebrate with your littlest loved ones.
1. It’s midnight somewhere – While everyone wants to celebrate the start of a brand new year, staying awake until midnight can be a tough feat for the youngest among us. In honor of those sleepy little ones, perhaps a noontime celebration is in order. Parents and kids can watch the clock and count down the seconds as 12:00 approaches. After all, what is a mere twelve hours in the grand scheme of things?
2. The celebratory balloon shower – Whether it occurs at noon or midnight, one supremely fun way to ring in the New Year is with a shower of balloons and confetti. Having rigged just such a concoction once or twice before, I can assure you that it isn’t as hard as it sounds. When we did it, we simply taped three sides of a plastic tablecloth (party store variety) to the ceiling. Before taping off the fourth and final side, we stuffed blown up balloons (helium ones wouldn’t work for this purpose) into the “pocket.” At the designated time we ripped away the tablecloth and basked in our homemade balloon shower. The kids were so impressed!
3. Make some noise – When I was young, we banged wooden spoons against pots and pans to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. And while that method certainly served its purpose, I must it admit that it seems a bit archaic. Another noisy option is to place long strips of bubble wrap along the sidewalk or driveway. At midnight, the kids can hop, skip, jump (or all of the above) their way from end to the other, creating quite a ruckus as they go.
4. On the Hour – Create grab bags with small surprises (think inexpensive party favors) that can be passed out on the hour, every hour, throughout your celebration. Ideas include: crossword puzzles, sticker sheets, bubbles, word searches, mad libs and bouncy balls.
5. Looking Back – While New Year’s Eve is definitely a time to look forward, it can also be a fun time to look back. Take some time to sit down and go over the highs and lows of the year. The youngest children might require some help recalling the year’s events. To that end, sit down together and create a simple scrapbook or photo album with pictures taken during 2012. Not only will the activity produce a memorable keepsake, but the trip down memory lane is a fabulous way to usher in the New Year.