Some of the sparkle of staying up on New Year’s Eve wore off for me between changing nappies and sleepless nights. However, now my kids are older, staying up late on New Year’s Eve holds a Cinderella novelty for them. As I watch their excitement, I’m reminded of how fun celebrating the dawn of a New Year can be. Celebrating on New Year’s Eve has become an opportunity to create family traditions as we celebrate with family and friends.
Whether you stay up to see the New Year in, or plan a quiet night at home, there are many fun family activities to do on New Year’s Eve. I’m sharing ten ideas below.
1. Find out what events are on in your community
Many cities provide firework displays, concerts and other family friendly events on New Year’s Eve. If tickets are required, book early to avoid disappointment. To see what’s on in your area, Google ‘family friendly New Year’s Eve (your city)’.
2. Make a Time Capsule
A New Year‘s Time Capsule is fun and easy project to make. The idea of a time capsule is to collect items that hold significance for the year that has gone. This then is opened the following year and refilled.
How to make: Decorate a cylinder box (you can purchase one at the post office) with paint, collage or wrapping paper. Fill the capsule with personal items that will be enjoyed in a year’s time. Below are some ideas:
- A small toy
- A photograph
- A drawing
- A letter
3. Throw a New Year’s Eve party
Invite family and friends over for a New Year’s Eve party. Our family usually spends New Year’s Eve with other families and the children have a blast together.
- Have a table set up with a simple activity to engage visiting children when they arrive.
- Keep dinner simple, for example, sausage sizzle, BBQ or pizza.
- Sparklers are always a hit for kids on New Year’s Eve.
- If you don’t want to wait up until midnight, set an alarm to go off at a certain time and celebrate the New Year then.
4. Make decorations
Kids love to help prepare for a party. Below is a list of New Year’s craft ideas.
- Decorate a New Year hat: Curl a piece of cardboard into a cone shape. Place two holes either side of the base of the cone shape and attach a length of elastic. Decorate the hat with pens, paper scraps, glitter and pom poms.
- Create a New Year Banner: On a large piece of cardboard or brown craft paper, decorate a New Year banner with permanent markers, collage and/or paint.
- Make a noise shaker: Fill an empty plastic bottle with rice or pasta, tape lid down and decorate the outside of the bottle with stickers.
- Streamers: Staple or tape 3-6 even lengths of crepe streamers on an empty toilet roll.
- Paint a New Year’s shirt: Paint a plain coloured T-shirt with fabric paint.
- Make personal place mats: Draw and decorate a piece of A4 paper, and then laminate.
- Fireworks sound board: Purchase a roll of bubble wrap and tape to a hard floor (or a large packing box). To celebrate the New Year, children can jump on the bubble wrap; it sounds like fireworks!
- Have sparklers ready for when it’s dark! (Click here for a tutorial on how to photograph words with sparklers)
5. Play board games/Family games
Below are popular board games and activity ideas to play on New Year’s Eve.
- Game of Life
- Trivial Pursuit
- Pass the Pigs
- Game of Life
- Nintendo Wii
- Dance to music
- Who am I
- Family Talent Concert
6. Look at the stars
New Year’s Eve is usually coupled with noise, cheers and fireworks. For something different, drive out somewhere quiet, where there is limited artificial light, and gaze at the stars. Bring an Esky filled with food and drinks, a large mat, sleeping bags and fold-down chairs so everyone is comfortable. You may like to use this time to decide on family resolutions for the year ahead.
7. Decide on a Family New Year’s Resolution
New Year’s Eve is often a time for both reflection and resolutions. Personally, I don’t make grand New Year Resolutions however, it can be fun to discuss family dreams and plans for the year ahead. This could be anything from organising a camping trip, establishing a new tradition or hosting more family dinner parties. A simple way to visualise this is for each member of the family writing down something on sticky note and taking turns at sticking the notes up on the wall.
8. Watch a movie
Throw down pillows, cushions and doona’s on the floor to create a fun atmosphere. Make popcorn, and sit down to a family movie.
Below is a popcorn cup template.
9. Make Mocktails
Mocktails are a fun activity for kids on New Year’s Eve.
Below are some flavour combinations:
- Fruit Tingle
- Raspberry Fizz
- Coco Choco
- Fruit Cobbler
- Spider: Add a scoop of ice-cream to half a cup of soft drink.
10. Create a family timeline
My children love when I tell them stories about when they were younger. This concept can be turned into a visual activity that is perfect for New Year’s Eve. Don’t be surprised if this activity opens up a many wonderful conversations and laughs! The idea is to create a family timeline, marked with important dates.
How to make: On a long piece of brown craft paper or butchers paper (tape A4 paper together if desired) draw a rough time line and mark important family events with a felt pen. For example: marriage, births, milestones and other important family related events.