Whether this is your first year as a parent, or you’re praised among your friends as a true vet, us moms and dads know the startling truth – holidays with kids are just different, especially on New Year's Eve.
If your kids aren't passed out by 10:30 p.m., then they're probably ringing in the New Year with major meltdowns, having all of your kid-free friends mentally scratching your family off of next year’s invite list. Or perhaps you can’t find a babysitter, so you're heading to a restaurant with your adventurous toddler. Trust us, don't even go there.
Instead, check out these 17 unique options that will make 2017 the year you are rockstars in your kids’ eyes!
1. Happy Noon Year Celebrations!
Depending on age, your kids may or may not make it to midnight - hey, parents might not either - but having a happy noon year makes them feel special and lets them celebrate in a special way. You can do one at home, or check your local play gyms and libraries for festivities. I guarantee there’s one in your area! If you can’t find one, or just don’t feel like loading up the kids you can totally host your own – crafts, snacks and confetti for the win!
2. Get Dolled Up
Once upon a time, and pre-kids, you spent days picking out your perfect NYE outfit. Now, IF you make it out of the house, you throw on jeans, boots and a sweater. Whether you’re staying in or going out, make the kids feel special by having everyone put on their fanciest clothes and strutting their stuff – even if it’s just around the living room.
3. Toast the New Year with a Mocktail
Let the kids celebrate! After they’ve gotten all dolled up, give them something to toast with! You’ll be hearing “Cheers!” all night. You could always get a few bottles of sparkling apple cider, or milk and cookies, but this is way more fun! We found this awesome recipe on Today’s Parent you can use. Then you can poll the family and give it a fancy name, dress it up in your fanciest
glass plastic ware and toast to 2017!
4. Watch Fireworks
Make NYE super special for your kids by seeing New Year’s Eve fireworks. Most likely your nearest large city will be hosting a fireworks show celebrating the New Year (a few hours early). Bring a cozy blanket, sparklers and a mug of hot cocoa and let the fireworks light up the night!
5. Go Ice Skating
Grab the family and head to your local rink for a few laps around the ice. Do some research before you go, they may even be having their own NYE celebrations, and your family can join in on the fun!
6. NYE Family Fun Run
The family that runs together, stays together right?! Check out your local family boards for fun runs that are usually about a mile, but also have other fun activities for the whole family. Kids love it because they are active and usually get medals or trophies and parents love it because they get a jump on that New Year’s fitness resolution!
7. First Night in your City
Celebrate the last day of the year with your entire family at First Night – a community celebration of the New Year in cities all over the country! Do a quick search, and you’re sure to find options for great family friendly NYE parties in your area! There are so many free events around your city all day that are great for kids! If not First Night, try the museums and other local performances.
8. Watch the Ball Drop
There really is nothing quite as iconic of NYE as watching the ball drop in NYC. Most of us break into a cold sweat at the thought of taking our kids to see it live, but you can always tune in from the comfort of your own home! Some cities may even host their own version. Check around to see what rendition of the ball drop your city might have.
9. Have a Dance Party
You’ve elected to be at home for the official turn of the calendar, and that may be the smartest plan, but you can still party! Invite your kids to the best dance party – in your living room. After all, it’s what the best YouTube videos are made of. Show your kids that you still know how to get down with your bad self – don’t say that, they’ll know you aren’t cool. But you can let each person pick a song and create your own rockin’ NYE family playlist!
10. Year in Review Scavenger Hunt
I’m a sucker for a good scavenger hunt, doing one with my kids makes it even better, and incorporating our family pictures and memories into it – WINNING! No Time for Flashcards has this awesome idea of printing out a bunch of your family pictures from the year and hiding them all over the house. Your kids will have a blast with this indoor “Easter egg” hunt! They not only have to find all the pictures, but then they must put them in chronological order! We absolutely love this one!
11. Make a Family Fort
Most older kids resist the urge to get to bed before midnight, but still end up snoozing throughout the night! Grab the pillows, sleeping bags, stuffed animals, snacks, a few good DVDs and each other’s company will make the night a NYE to remember.
12. New Year's Eve Bingo
Here’s another fun activity to keep the kids entertained and happy on NYE. NYE Bingo is great if you just have your family, or are hosting a bunch of families! Round up anyone who wants to play and be sure to have enough cards printed ahead of time. Playdough to Plato has some cute free printables for your NYE bingo game. Have them call out “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” when they’ve won!
13. Year in Review Slideshow
Remember before iPhoto when you had to hire a professional to create a video slideshow of all your pictures? Well now anyone with a smartphone can download an app and make a high quality year in review video. If you are a faithful poster to Facebook, you can also gather the family around the computer to watch your “Year in Review” video.
14. Cook Something Together
I’m obsessed with everything you can do with crescent rolls. They are so easy and delicious! Whether you’ve got the next Master Chef Junior, or if you’re an expert at ordering take-out, this festive appetizer from Pillsbury will get the whole family in the kitchen this NYE!
15. Write Family NY Resolutions
It’s hard to believe another year is ending, and it seems to go by even faster when you have kids. We try to have no regrets, as parents, but we all end up having them. The New Year feels like a fresh slate. The entire family can learn a lot about self-disciple and the value of making goals by making it a family activity some time on NYE. Here are some tips from Parents magazine on helping guide your kids.
16. Countdown Banner
The Crafting Chicks show us the coolest banner that can help your family countdown to 2017 hourly. Each hour, the kids will have engaging activities to pass the time as the clock ticks to midnight!
17. DIY Balloon Drop
Your kids want to feel like they’re in Times Square too! Although, they have no idea what Times Square is, nor the mania of being there on NYE. You can still give your kids that quick excitement and celebration of their very own “BALLoon Drop”. You can go the easy route and just throw some balloons in the air, or if your inner Martha Stewart is feeling crafty this week, check this out from The Daily Meal.
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