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New Year's Eve With Kids: 12 Family-Friendly Ways to Ring in 2020

Holidays Parenting Just For Fun

New Year’s Eve is a day of anticipation and excitement. There’s something about counting down the hours, minutes and finally, seconds to the new year that’s thrilling. However, us moms and dads know the hard truth - holidays with kids are just different, especially New Year's Eve.

Whether your kids are old enough to make it to midnight or will be corked out by eight, check out our top ways to ring in 2020 family-style. 

Happy Noon Year (And Other Pre-Midnight) 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, libraries and museums for festivities.

Our recommendation? Noon Year's Eve at The St. James in Springfield, VA!  On Tuesday, December 31st from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., head to The St. James for endless fun in their Active Entertainment Center along with entertainment galore including a magician, DJ and face painting. More info here.

Travel Around the World

It’s always midnight somewhere in the world, right? Have some fun as a family picking out and researching the new year's customs of another country and set your clocks to ring in 2020 in another time zone! Midnight in European countries will fall around dinnertime on the East Coast (and even earlier for the West). Asian countries are between 12 and 14 hours ahead - perfect for a New Year’s Eve brunch before nap time! Check out these 25 Strangest New Year's Traditions From Around the World for some fun inspiration, though we don't recommend the Danish tradition of shattering plates against the doors of your friends and family! If you want to go all out, get the kids involved in researching and preparing traditional dishes from your chosen country.

Toast the New Year with a Mocktail

Get dolled up in your New Year's Eve finest and then give the kids something to toast with! You could always get a few bottles of sparkling apple cider, or milk and cookies, but this is way more fun! Check out these 15 Easy and Simple Mocktails for Kids. Poll the family to pick a favorite, give it a fancy name, and dress it up in your fanciest plastic ware to toast to 2020! And hey, we won’t judge if you want to throw a little something extra in there for the grown-ups. 

Stage a Balloon Drop 

Cap off your at-home NYE celebration with a balloon drop at the stroke of [insert time that makes the most sense for your littles]! Use a balloon drop kit, or DIY by filling some netting or a plastic tablecloth with balloons and tape to the ceiling (check out this DIY Balloon Drop tutorial). Alternatively, buy some helium-filled balloons, have each family member write down some New Year’s wishes or resolutions on pieces of paper, attach to the balloons with a hole punch and ribbon, and release into the air with great fanfare.

Family-Friendly First Night Celebrations

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! 

Host a Slumber Party

New Year's Eve is the perfect night for a sleepover (or, as we call it at our house, a "no-sleep over"). If the kids are going to stay up into the wee hours of the morning, it may as well be on NYE, right? Or, if you’re not feeling having a house full of kids, keep it a family affair by pitching a tent or constructing a homemade fort in the living room, hauling in your pillows and sleeping bags, and settling in with some popcorn and movies. The kids will love it!

Make a Family Resolution Tree

Spend New Year’s Eve working on a Family Resolution Tree like this one. Brainstorm as a family to come up with all the things you would like your family to do and stand for in 2020 and hang them on the tree. Maybe you want to make a family commitment to volunteer or serve your community more, be kinder to each other, eat more dinners together, or recycle more? Family resolutions can also include fun things like visiting a new state or trying new activities together. We love this one!

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! I love this 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!

Make Your Own Poppers

What kid doesn’t love confetti? All you need are some toilet paper rolls, balloons and some confetti – and POP! – you’ve got yourself a fun way for the family to usher in the new year. This tutorial will walk you through the process of creating these fun and super easy confetti poppers.

Countdown Crafts

Kids love a good countdown, and a cute craft that helps them do it is even more fun! Check out this super cute Countdown Clock. This New Year’s Eve Countdown Activity Chain is more involved (so start early), but will keep the kiddos entertained all day long. Each hour, the kids will have engaging activities to pass the time as the clock ticks to midnight.

New Year’s Eve Minute to Win It Games

Take family game night to the next level by planning a fun, themed Minute to Win It night for your NYE celebration. Invite friends and neighbors for even more fun! Check out these New Year’s Eve Minute to Win It Games for inspiration. Teach Mama also has a great list of Minute to Win It Games that are perfect for kids and families.

#DisneyParksLIVE Stream of New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Even if you can't be at "The Most Magical Place on Earth" on NYE, you can still ring in 2020 Disney-style right from your living room via #DisneyParksLIVE streams. Magic Kingdom Park will live stream their epic "Fantasy in the Sky" fireworks starting at 11:45 p.m. that will include songs from the most beloved Disney films, including "Peter Pan," "Pinocchio" and "Aladdin".

However you choose to celebrate this year, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2020 filled with much joy and many blessings!

For more family fun this winter, check out 10 Positively Magical Ice Skating Rinks to Add to Your Family Bucket List.

Tags: new year's eve family kids


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