I won’t lie to you. Staying home with children for New Year’s Eve doesn’t beat ringing in year 2000 on the streets of Paris. We don’t have a family nearby to babysit with us, and we are staying home for New Year’s Eve yet again this year. But celebrating New Year with kids doesn’t have to be an ordeal that leaves everyone bouncing off the walls and cranky.
1. Decide on When You Will CelebrateYoung children won’t mind going to bed close to their normal times if they feel that they got to celebrate and have fun. Over years we moved celebrations from 7 pm to 9 pm PST, so we can wish grandparents on the East Coast of the United States a Happy New Year. As a bonus, we get to spend the rest of the evening enjoying each other’s and, sometimes, our friends’ company. Alternatively, you can convince your children to take a nap during the day, but it never worked in our house.
2. Make MusicNew Year’s Eve is usually associated with noise making, so making musical instruments or making music with what is on hand will get everyone in a good mood. In the past we whipped up homemade drums, shakers, and castanets for New Year’s eve to add to our musical instrument collection, but two lids will work great. This year I think we’ll challenge daughter to make a noisemaker or a musical instrument of her choice. If you can’t decide what to make, here are a couple of links:
- Homemade Band in a Box from The Eyes of a Boy
- Make instruments from every part of the world from Daria Music
3. Set GoalsNew Year is a wonderful time to set some goals individually and as a family. Many people stress out about goal setting, especially for kids, because they feel that children often set unrealistic goals. I think it’s perfectly OK for young children, but this year I would like to discuss SMART goals with my seven year old and see where it gets us. Perhaps we will do this “resolution flower” again or maybe we will just write down our goals in our Advent Journal.
4. Read Books for Kids With New Year Theme
If you are in the mood of learning more about New Year’s traditions around the world, try Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport. Younger children will enjoy a light-hearted rhyme while older children might want to do their own research into New Year’s traditions or they might want to create their own New Year dinner menu based on their heritage. For more books with New Year theme check Children’s Books for New Year’s Day at What Do We Do All Day. Erica has booklists for practically everything and everyone!
5. Choose Activities You All Enjoy
A New Year’s Eve is a great opportunity to spend time doing things you hope to be doing more in the next year. Depending on your family, it could be anything from playing outside to building a Minecraft world. We are a family who loves to read and to play board games, so we plan to spend some time between dinner and an actual celebration playing games.
6. Stock Up For a “Big Bang”
Unfortunately, individual fireworks are illegal where we live, but every year we get those cheesy “New Year celebration kits” from Target that come with surprise crackers. Of course, people with more time on their hands can do their own homemade New Year crackers - Makes and Takes has a great tutorial online. Once all the crackers are popped, small gifts are examined, and the room is put back together, we announce that New Year has started and send a happy New Year child off to bed.
- The Educators’ Spin On It has a great round up of resources for New Year’s celebrations
- A Mom With A Lesson Plan offers great ideas for successful New Year celebration
- KBN New Year for Kids Pinterest board.