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Easy New Year’s activities your family will love

Celebrating New Year’s Eve changes completely when children arrive. Rather than forfeiting this holiday entirely, consider these easy New Years Activities for the whole family to celebrate together. Of course, you could always go out for an adult event once the little ones are tucked away (better book the sitter now!)

Planning a family-friendly New Years celebration is as easy as 1-2-3!

Easy New Year’s activities your family will love

New Years Eve Ideas

Step 1: Choose your time

Consider the age and stage of your children when scheduling your New Years’ celebration. With small children, perhaps start at 10 in the morning and count down to noon. Or begin at supper time and end at 8:00 for older children. Research which country is having their countdown when the little ones go to bed, so they can still watch a live countdown.

Step 2: Choose your hiding place

Kids love mystery and intrigue. What better way to keep them engaged than hide the details of the evening? We recommend balloons or mystery bags.
Count down the New Year as a family by letting kids pop one balloon every hour. Take strips of paper, roll them up, and write your ideas on them. Complete the activities found inside each balloon together.
surprise bags
Surprise bags can also be opened every hour. Kids can decorate the bags in advance and you can fill them and tie the ribbon. Bags can hold activity ideas (see below), movies to watch, or treats.

Step 3: Choose your activities

We’ve compiled a list of many possible activities you can choose from. Find favorites to suit the ages of your children, and print out the time each activity will begin.

Silly string fight

My children will go crazy about this idea this year. When this family popped their 8:00 balloon, the slip of paper sent them outside for a late-night silly string fight.
silly string fight outside

Make a time capsule

A time capsule can be as simple or complex and you would like. Create this as a family and fill it with treasures.
time capsule

Record resolutions

An evening activity could include filling out these printables with individual resolutions. Keep this to see how children change from year to year.
New Years Resolutions

Work the camera

Every New Years Party needs a photo op.
photo props 2
Keep the props simple with hats you can buy or make yourself and mustaches on a stick. Love these free printables:
photo props3

Dance together

Ring in the new year with a family dance party. Create a playlist of family favorites and dance at home, or find a family-friendly local option like this one.

Make New Year’s treats together

Kids love to help create special treats, especially when they have a big impact like these easy New Year Snacks.
New Years collage

Savor the fireworks

If you can’t enjoy outdoor fireworks, consider making these fireworks as a family. Colorful craft ties are the only ingredients necessary.
Or let younger children grab a handful of glow sticks. With older children, light sparklers in the backyard.

Start the conversation

New Year’s Eve is a time for reflection. Use these 36 family-friendly questions to get the conversation started, or create your own. Print, cut and tuck them into a jar.

Make a resolution tree

With a few branches, twine, and paper circles, your family can make a cute resolution tree. Make it in advance, or build it together during your celebration.
resolution tree

Frame elf on the shelf pictures

If your family enjoys this elf tradition, use this template to frame favorites together. Use this New Years’ time to say good-bye to the elf for another year.
elf on the shelf

Minute to win it games

I can’t get enough of Minute to Win It party ideas. They are fast-paced, easy to set up, and hilarious to watch. With help, kids of all ages can participate.
minute to win it

Make some noise

Every New Year party has to end with noise. For kid-friendly options, use bubblewrap and sharpies to create a festive noisemaker they can stomp on, or build a few of these with household objects.
bubble wrap

This New Years’ evening, start a new tradition by popping balloons and diving into family fun. Celebrate with another family and share the activity planning.

What traditions do you enjoy on New Year’s Eve?


  1. Amber

    Just wanted to add that Netflix has created a 3 minute New Year’s countdown that parents can play for their kids at any time before midnight. It is hosted by King Julien from the Madagascar movies.

  2. Karen G

    Thanks for adding this Amber! Loved that idea from Netflix.

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