10 New Year’s Eve Activities for Kids

10 New Years Eve Activities for Kids

Need some fun ideas to entertain your kids on New Year’s Eve?

I’ve compiled a list of all the things my girls and I did this past New Year’s Eve.  I had such a great time making this a special holiday for them and watching them have fun celebrating it.

And my girls may be just shy of 2 and 4-years-old right now, but these activities will be a part of our traditions for many years to come since they are great for all ages.

1.  Make a “New Year’s Eve Activity Bag”  (or Box)

New Year's Eve Activity Bag

I filled a gold bag with some of the party supplies we’d be utilizing on New Year’s Eve, which included noisemakers, glitter hats, silver bead necklaces, gold balloons (not yet blown up), and a couple of LED light-up wands I picked up at the dollar store.

Since it was only a few days after Christmas, I felt that getting a “present” of activities would be a neat way to start the day.

New Year's Eve Activity Bag

2.  Champagne Bubble Balloon Toss

Speaking of balloons, I find that they are a sure way to make any day special.  So, naturally, they make holidays extra special.

In the spirit of the holiday, I picked up a package of gold balloons at Walmart (for a buck) because they were the color of champagne.  I told the girls they were like bubbles and we kicked and bounced and tossed them around throughout the day and night.

New Year's Eve Balloons

3.  Make Giant Numbers for Photos and Decoration

I always have construction paper on hand (especially for our alphabet activities) and so that’s what I used to make the numbers.  I chose 4 colors and cut each of the numbers from a different sheet.  And I did it by hand.  I’ve learned that my kids aren’t perfectionists like me, so I don’t have to kill myself over the details.

We used the numbers first to pose for a few photos.  Next I asked my oldest daughter what the numbers were and asked if she could trace them each with her fingers.  Then we taped them to the TV hutch, just under the television, so that they would be visible while we watched the ball drop.  (They actually fell asleep before that, but we left the numbers up for a few days anyway, since they looked so cheerful.)

New Year's Eve Numbers 2014

4.  Practice Counting Down

Okay, I don’t know if older kids would get a kick out of this, but my girls certainly found it exciting.

Throughout the day, when discussing New Year’s Eve and how the ball would drop at midnight, I would announce, “Let’s practice counting down!” and we would shout out the numbers from 10 to 1 followed by a shout of “Happy New Years!”

My oldest daughter loved the counting and my littlest one enjoyed all the noise.

5.  Celebrate with Fireworks

We let the girls handle a couple of sparklers, and I was surprised at how quickly and excitedly they went through a whole box of snappers.  Then we lit a fountain-type firework in the street and did our many ooooohs and aaaaahs.

Many people set off fireworks at midnight, but we did all this just after the sun went down.

6. Dress Up

A great way to ring in the new year is by getting all dolled up – even if you’re just hanging out at home.  Whether you’re throwing (or attending) a party or just riding out the ball drop on your couch, adding a little frill to your outfit will make it extra special.

My girls got dressed up in twirl-worthy skirts and party bead necklaces.  Let girls paint their nails in fun colors.  Let boys try on silly neckties or style their hair in Mohawks.  Have fun with it.

7.  Eat Party Food

You may actually be throwing a party, but even if you’re not, celebrate the holiday like you are.  This goes along with #6.  Serve appetizers and tapas instead of a large meal.  Set out chips and dip, cheese and crackers, hot wings.

You could make regular food special, like serving hot dogs that have been cut in spirals and turned into “confetti ribbons.”

And eat grapes.  You’re young ones might not be able to stuff a dozen grapes in their mouths in a minute like the traditional Twelve Grapes of Luck, but you can still snack on them throughout the day.  It helped to sneak some more fruit into our day by announcing that they were good luck.

8.  Make a Giant Cookie Clock

Make a cookie cake into a Cookie Clock by adding chocolate numbers.  And, sure, I talked about numbers and counting with my daughter with this clock as inspiration, but really, we mostly made it for the sake of the chocolaty, gooey goodness.   Read about it here.

Cookie Clock 5

9.  Make Confetti Poppers

This was a New Years craft for us, because my kids helped.  We made confetti and made “poppers” that showered the confetti on us.  It was a fun addition to our celebration.  Here are our Confetti Poppers:

Confetti Poppers

10.  Serve Sparkling Grape Juice

But not just any sparkling grape juice… if you want to make it really festive, add in some cotton candy!

Cotton Candy Champagne

What New Year’s Eve traditions do you have?  How do you celebrate it with your kids?

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New Year’s Eve Confetti Poppers

New Year's Eve Confetti Poppers

Confetti is always a fun way to celebrate holidays and special occasions.

Until it is time to clean up.

So, to find a way to incorporate confetti into our New Year’s celebration, I decided upon Confetti Poppers that were designed much like a pull-string pinata.  And, like a pinata, we put them outside.

For the confetti, we used construction paper cut into tiny pieces.  My 3-year-old was very excited about this part.  I did some of the confetti, but it was mostly her job while  I constructed the poppers and her younger sister giggled about the tissue paper.

New Year's Eve Confetti Poppers

I’ve seen a few varieties of things like this online, but I chose my materials based off of what I had on hand.

You’ll need:

toilet paper rolls
tissue paper
pipe cleaners
construction paper
ribbon or string
scissors

Cut the construction paper into tiny pieces for the confetti.  Take the pipe cleaners and wrap one end into a kind of ball or loop.  The bigger the loop the better, because the smaller loops I made (like the one pictured below) didn’t break the paper enough for all of the confetti to fall out, and those poppers had to be shaken a little.

Also, if your pipe cleaners are “kid-friendly” like mine were, you’ll need to un-bend the end so that the pointy metal piece is straight, and not tucked over.

Take a piece of colorful tissue paper (ours was used tissue paper from previous birthdays – yes, I’m that person), and wrap it around an empty toilet paper roll, gathering the extra.  With small scissors, poke a teeny, tiny hole in the center of the paper that’s wrapped around the roll – see photo.

New Year's Eve Confetti Poppers

After poking the hole, very, very gently push the pipe cleaner through it by inserting it in the top of the toilet paper roll and pushing it through the hole and pulling it all the way down.  If you do this roughly, you’ll rip the paper.  The loop in your pipe cleaner should be resting on the tissue paper covering the bottom of the toilet paper roll.

Pour a handful of confetti into the top of the toilet paper roll and gather the tissue paper together to close it.  Tie a long ribbon or string around the gathered paper.  Use the other end of this string to tie the poppers to something high, or just to hold them over your kids if you don’t have anything to hang them from.

New Year's Eve Confetti Poppers

We hung ours outside, mostly so we wouldn’t get confetti all over the house.  Unfortunately, it began to rain just as I tied the last popper on the branch, so we rushed a little more than I expected.  But the poppers achieved their goal:  smiles and giggles.

New Year's Eve Confetti Poppers

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Cotton Candy Champagne or Sparkling Juice

Cotton Candy Champagne or Sparkling Juice

I gotta be honest here:  I’m not a fan of sparkling grape juice.

But a shot of whiskey was not going to be how my girls were going to ring in the new year.  Not for another 18 or 20 years, anyway.

So sparkling grape juice it is.

I wanted to do something a little different, tho, and so I picked up some cotton candy at the dollar store, since I’ve read that people sometimes add it to champagne.

The result?

I loved it!

And so did my girls, which is the important part.

Cotton Candy Champagne or Sparkling Juice

It’s such a simple concept, too:  put a little cotton candy in your glass and pour the champagne / sparkling grape juice over it.  Watch it fizz, and enjoy!

The fizzing happens quite quickly, but it’s still fun to watch.  And listen to.  But the best part?  Your sparkling grape juice now tastes like cotton candy.  Yum!

Cotton Candy Champagne or Sparkling Juice

As you can see in the above photo, the cotton candy disappeared almost the instant the sparkling juice hit it, so it was hard for me to capture the actual process on film.  Although the “after” is kinda pretty.

I used pink cotton candy above, and then I tossed some blue cotton candy into it, which you can see below.  The result was a somewhat murky purple, but delicious.

Cotton Candy Champagne or Sparkling Juice

And, I served it in aperitif glasses, so that my preschooler could feel like a grownup with her own kid-sized wine glass.

This will definitely be served for many New Year’s to come!

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New Year’s Eve Cookie Clock

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

Cookies are always a good idea.

Seriously.

So why not bake a giant cookie to help you ring in the New Year?

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

Since I wanted our giant cookie to look like a clock, I used melted chocolate to make some numbers.  I used dark cocoa chocolate melts, but you could also use regular chocolate chips for this, too.

I melted them at 50% power in a baggy, then cut off a small corner to squeeze out the chocolate onto some parchment paper.  I let these harden while we made the cookie.

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

And the easiest way to shape your cookie into a circle is by using a circular pan.  I don’t have any fancy “giant cookie pans” or anything, so we smushed our cookie dough into a regular cake pan.  On top of a piece of parchment paper, though, that I had cut into a circle just smaller than the pan.  The paper keeps the cookie from sticking.

Use your favorite cookie dough here.  I went with chocolate chip, and I even used a box mix since we had some of those BOGO deals from Publix taking up room in the pantry, but you could use any recipe you like.

You need to watch it as it’s cooking.  Since it will be thicker than a regular cookie, the middle will still be a little soft when the edges are done.  You just kind of have to judge.  Usually the middle will feel a little underdone to some people (unless you overcook it), but that’s what I love about them.  It’s kind of like a cookie-brownie.

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

When you take the baked cookie out of the oven, let it sit for a minute or two, and then lay the chocolate numbers on top of the cookie, very gently pressing to make sure it stays in place.

The heat from the cookie will melt the bottom of the chocolate numbers and as the cookie cools the numbers will harden again.

To make the pattern easier, put the 12, 3, 6, and 9 on first, and arrange the other numbers in between them.

I drew on the hands of the clock afterwards, since I wasn’t really sure what size I’d need.  You could draw the hands ahead of time when you make the numbers, though.  And if you really want to make them ahead of time but you’re really worried about the size, make a few and choose the best when the cookie is done.

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

Once the cookie and numbers had finished cooled, I stuck some candles in it and we sang Happy Birthday to Mother Earth in celebration of the New Year.  My girls loved blowing out the candles at the end of the song.

Oh, and I did actually remove the cookie from the pan after we took out the candles and before we cut it.  It only cracked a little on the edge when I stuck a cake server under it to transfer it to a plate, but I didn’t take any photos after that.  Was too busy eating.  :)

Do you have any special New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day foods?  Let me know!

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Happy {Caffeinated} New Years

Coffee New Years 2014

How are you celebrating the New Year?

For my part, coffee is keeping me conscious until it’s

Time to Drink Champagne and blow Bubbles

In the meantime, the girls and I are celebrating New Year’s Eve with plenty of fun kid-sized activities.  From balloons to noisemakers, there are plenty of ways to make the day fun for the little ones!

And, of course, there’ll be a post to follow.  :)

Happy New Year!  May 2014 be a very blessed {and caffeinated} year for you all!

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(You can download the coffee bean pic from Dreamstime and find the bubbles poster at society6.)