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New Year's Eve With Kids: 12 Family-Friendly Ways to Ring in 2018!

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 8, check out our top 12 ways to ring in 2018 family-style. 

1.     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 and libraries for festivities. I guarantee there’s one in your area! Here’s a list of some local favorites you may want to check out:

  • Yards Parks Noon Years Eve, 355 Water Street SE, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Admission is FREE. Festivities will include moon bounce houses, face painters, live music, hula hoop performances and even a trackless train. Guests will celebrate the coming of the new year at NOON with horns, balloon and party hats!
  • Maryland Science Center’s Midnight Noon, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. FREE with paid admission. There will be fun New Year’s festivities throughout the day, including a live concert by popular kids band, Milkshake. 
  • Port Discovery Children's Museum's Noontime New Year’s Celebration, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Enjoy a festive day of play inside a Winter Snow Ball Wonderland! Dance the day away during their Snow Ball. Watch special performances. Make jingle bell bracelets, sound sandwiches and diffusion snowflakes to help out with their famous Noontime Countdown featuring confetti and a balloon drop.
  • Jammin Java’s 11th Annual Rocknoceros New Year’s Eve Party, 227 Maple Ave E, Vienna, VA, 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. Celebrate New Year’s early by rocking out to the widely popular music of kid band, Rocknoceros, at Jammin Java in Vienna.
  • NOON Year’s Eve at Tudor Place, 1644 31st St. NW, Washington, D.C., 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Enjoy a festive counting-themed storytime, then count down together to 12 p.m. Celebrate the noon-year with noisemakers, confetti, a sparkling craft, and toast 2018 with juice. 
  • Fairfax Four Miler, 10427 North Street, Fairfax, VA (corner of University and North in the heart of Old Town Fairfax). RUN in the new year with a 4 mile race starting at 6 p.m., followed by a post-race pizza party! This is a stroller and pet friendly event.
  • Medieval Times Celebration of Centuries, Arundel Mills Mall, Dec. 31st at 3:30 p.m. Celebrate the new year with a fun-filled afternoon for the whole family featuring a thrilling jousting tournament and a four-course meal fit for royalty. Check out this CertifiKID deal for special freebies with admission, including free knight training before the show at 2:30 p.m.!
  • Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods Midnight at 7 Celebration, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Celebrate with your family and friends while walking through the path of outdoor light displays and enjoying music, children’s activities, giveaways and a 7 p.m. fireworks display to usher in the new year.
  • Celebrate with the Washington Wizards, Capital One Arena (formerly Verizon Center), 3:30 p.m. Have little sports fans in your family? Celebrate the New Year by watching the Washington Wizards take on the Chicago Bulls. Bonus! With this CertifiKID offer, you will get a Wizards T-shirt AND the opportunity to shoot a FREE THROW at the conclusion of the game!

2.     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 2018 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 from List25 for some fun inspiration (though we don't recommend the Danish tradition of shattering plates against the doors of your friends and family :-0). If you want to go all out, get the kids involved in researching and preparing traditional dishes from your chosen country.

3.     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 from Mom Junction. Poll the family to pick a favorite, give it a fancy name, and dress it up in your fanciest plastic ware and toast to 2018! And hey, we won’t judge if you want to throw a little something extra in there for the grown-ups. ;-) 

New Year's Eve With Kids: 12 Family-Friendly Ways to Ring in 2018

4.     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 from Modern Parents Messy Kids). 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 to great fanfare.

5.     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! Here are some of our local favorites:

  • First Night Alexandria, held at dozens of venues throughout Old Town Alexandria, VA. The festivities kick off at 10 a.m. with a Noon Year’s Eve Celebration at Alexandria Library and are capped off by Fireworks on the River on the Alexandria Waterfront at 12 a.m., with lots of family-friendly fun in between. Visit the First Night Alexandria website for a full schedule of activities.
  • City of Falls Church Watch Night, West Broad Street, 7 p.m. – Midnight. Spanning a four block area which is closed to traffic for the evening, Falls Church’s Watch Night features live music, amusements and activities, inflatables, balloon artists, puppet shows and more. A free shuttle bus runs every 30 minutes from the East Falls Church Metro Station to the venues. Free parking is also available at the Falls Church Presbyterian Church.
  • City of Annapolis New Year’s Eve Celebration, Weems Whelan Fields behind Maryland Hall and Bates Middle School, Kid-friendly activities 3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Activities will include face painting, an obstacle course, moon bounces and music performed by kids’ rock bands. The first round of festivities wrap up with fireworks at approximately 5:30 p.m. Cap off your night by swinging by Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point State Park on your way home! Save 35% off admission with this CertifiKID offer.

New Year's Eve With Kids: 12 Family-Friendly Ways to Ring in 2018

6.     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!

7.     Make a Family Resolution Tree
Spend New Year’s Eve working on a Family Resolution Tree, like this one from Crafting a Green World. Brainstorm as a family to come up with all the things you would like your family to do and stand for in 2018 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!

8.     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!

9.     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 video from IncredibleScience will walk you through the process of creating these fun and super easy confetti poppers.

10.     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 from Buggy and Buddy. This New Year’s Eve Countdown Activity Chain from The Ot Toolbox 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!

11.     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 from U Create for inspiration. Teach Mama also has a great list of Minute to Win It Games that are perfect for kids and families.

12.     Fake a Countdown with Netflix
For the past several years, Netflix has provided fake NYE countdowns – short videos featuring cartoon characters from a variety of kid-friendly shows. This year’s shows include characters from True and The Rainbow Kingdom, Pororo, Larva, Word Party, Puffin Rock, Beat Bugs, Skylanders Academy, DreamWorks All Hail King Julien and DreamWorks Trollhunters. Search “countdowns” on Netflix starting on December 26 to find the shows, which can be started at any time. This only works if your kiddos can’t tell time, of course! Here’s a preview:

However you choose to celebrate this year, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2018 filled with much joy and many blessings!

CertifiKID was founded by a mom with a passion for helping parents provide the best experiences for their children on a budget. From outings to adventures, classes to camps, theatre to sporting events, amusement parks to getaways, CertifiKID provides the best family-friendly experiences at unbeatable prices. 

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