Countdown to fun: 18 New Year’s Eve activities for kids

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As the clock strikes midnight and the world celebrates the arrival of a brand new year, it’s important to include the youngest family members in the festivities. Children can enjoy age-appropriate activities to make the evening memorable. This article will explore several New Year’s Eve activities for kids, like early countdowns and special treats.

A group of kids holding confetti and a happy new year sign.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

New Year’s Eve activities for kids are a great way to get the whole family involved in the fun of the evening. Whether you’re getting cozy and staying in or hosting a kid-friendly gathering, this article will give you a range of enjoyable and safe ideas to ensure the kids have a blast welcoming in the new year.

Family activities

Create cherished memories with your loved ones by staying in on New Year’s Eve and celebrating as a family. These activities can bring families together and help children have an enjoyable evening.

Game night

Dust off your board games and have a family game night. Let each family member choose their favorite game and play each one. Video games can also be a family affair. Teach your kids the games you used to play and let them teach you their favorites.

Movie marathon

A family sitting on a couch watching tv.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

Get cozy on the couch in your pajamas and watch movies. Everybody can choose a favorite movie to watch while enjoying popcorn and candy. In between each movie, restock the snacks and check the clock to see how close it is to midnight.

Early countdown

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with an early countdown by finding a time zone that aligns with the kids’ bedtime. Find a New Year’s countdown to watch online at the time you choose.

“I always stock up on lots of confetti poppers and sparklers for our New Year’s Eve celebration. As our kids are little, we always start our celebration early by having a mini dance party with festive music and lots of confetti flying around. We let our kids go wild with noisemakers and sparklers, adding a touch of magic to their New Year’s Eve experience.” 

— Tamara, Thriving In Parenting

Family scavenger hunt

Create a scavenger hunt around the house for various items. Children can find things you already own, or you can hide prizes, New Year’s hats or noisemakers and write clues for them to figure out. 

Bake and decorate cookies

Bake and decorate New Year’s-themed sugar cookies. Let the kids help mix the ingredients and make them as a family. Cut out festive shapes and decorate with colorful sprinkles or frosting. 

Virtual family calls

Connect with family and friends who live far away through video calls. Share celebrations and resolutions through the phone. Call right before midnight to ring in the new year together.

New Year’s resolutions

Write down New Year’s resolutions on notecards and share them with each other. Young children can draw their goals instead of writing. Challenge each other to keep them throughout the year.


Read and tell stories as a family to pass the time. Each person can choose their favorite story to share, or they can tell stories about their favorite memories from the year.

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Party activities

Throw a party for your children and their friends to ring in the new year. Keep them busy with these New Year’s Eve activities for kids, and midnight will come in no time.

Countdown balloon drop

Fill balloons with prizes and confetti and create your own balloon drop. Kids can pop a balloon each hour leading up to midnight. Save the biggest prize for last.

Make party hats

Let the kids get creative and decorate their own party hats. Provide glitter, markers, stickers and rhinestones. Award a prize to the most creative or the most unique.

Noisemaker craft

Provide kids with soda pop cans and other recycled materials to create noisemakers. Place rocks inside and seal with tape. Have them add glitter and stickers for decorations.

Progressive party

Move the party to a different house each hour. Each family can be in charge of a snack and an activity at their house. It keeps the kids busy and gives every family a chance to host.

“When my kiddos were born — and it’s continued until now — my neighbors and I would get together and house bounce to keep them awake and celebrate. Basically, each of us would make one app and have one kid activity to do. We’d stay at the house for an hour or so before moving on to the next.”

— Shelby, Fit as a Mama Bear

Mocktail bar

Set up a mocktail bar with a variety of juices and sodas. Kids can create their own non-alcoholic drinks, or you can provide recipes. Supply fun plastic cups, colorful straws and drink umbrellas.  

Dance party

A family is dancing with their children in a living room.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

Stream the kid’s music station or create a playlist and turn your living room into a dance floor. Kids can have a dance-off to their favorite tunes.

Glow-in-the-dark party

Provide glowsticks, bracelets and necklaces and have kids wear white and neon for a glow-in-the-dark party. Put up black lights and Christmas lights to add to the fun.

Countdown bags

Create countdown bags for kids to open every hour until midnight. Fill them with surprises or other activities for each hour to keep them busy.


Have a karaoke contest with kid-friendly songs and let the other children dance and sing along. The party guests can vote for their favorites, and the winner can receive a prize.

Photo booth

Set up a photo booth with props for kids to take New Year’s-themed pictures. Have a designated adult photographer or let kids take selfies. 

Final thoughts

As the clock strikes midnight, these New Year’s Eve activities for kids will create memories and ring in the new year with fun and excitement. Whether it’s creating party hats with friends or watching movies with family, these activities will set the stage for a year filled with love and laughter.

Heidi is a Certified Elementary School Teacher in the Inland Northwest and has been teaching for 17 years. She is also a vintage recipe blogger at Real Life of Lulu, where she focuses on recipes that are at least 50 years old, many from her grandparents’ kitchens. When she isn’t teaching or baking, she loves spending time with her husband and three kids.

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