Celebrating New Year’s Eve with Kids

Kids love New Year’s Eve just as much as adults. Whether you let them stay up until midnight or end the festivities earlier, there are plenty of fun things you can do to make the day special for the younger family members. From virtual balloon drops and fireworks to crafts and snacks for your own private party, we’ve gathered up some family-friendly activities full of fun!

Virtual Events

Mayo Performing Arts Center will present First Night Morris 2021 live, streaming and on-demand. The festivities begin on New Year’s Eve at 5:40 PM through 12:15 AM. Enjoy music, magic, comedy, and virtual fireworks throughout the night. Livestream tickets are $10. View the full schedule on the website.

Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, CA, will host a Virtual Balloon Drop New Year’s Celebration from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST. Celebrate strokes of midnight around the world and receive a STEM activity kit and party materials. Enjoy hands on activities, learn a family-friendly drink recipe, and wrap things up with a dance party. Tickets are $25 – $55 depending on the number of kits you need. Shipping is included in the ticket price.

The Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA, which celebrates the work of the Peanuts creator, will bring its annual New Year’s Eve festivities online this year. Enjoy their virtual Noon-year’s eve celebration with Peanuts-themed crafts, special appearances by Snoopy and Woodstock, and a countdown to the Museum’s annual up-down ball drop. The event runs from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST (the Museum is on Pacific time, so it’ll end at noon there). Advance registration is required by December 30. The cost is $15.

Tunes with Tim & Monika+Andy will present Countdown to Noon Year’s Eve at 12:30 EST. These children’s performers will present a party and balloon drop. Grab milk, hot chocolate, or your favorite treat and dress your formal best for a countdown and toast with a special performance by TWT. This event is hosted on Central time, so noon there will be 1:00 PM EST. This free event will take place via Zoom. Register online.

DJ Squirm-a-Lot will host a Story Pirates New Year’s Eve Party on New Year’s Eve at 3:00 PM EST. DJ Squirm-a-Lot’s old nemesis Yorma the ice dragon is trying to spoil the big party with her icy dragon magic. Will the Story Pirates be able to foil Yorma’s plans and have an awesome party? Only with the help of kids!  There will be games, surprises, and a thrilling caper. A family pass to the party is $15. Kids can also join a 3-day Creator Camp ($75) that runs from December 29-31 where kids will help DJ Squirm-a-Lot and the Story Pirates on their quest with games and projects that lead up to the party. More details for both are on the website.



Who doesn’t love a good countdown? Creating a New Year’s Eve Countdown that will last all day can not only provide a bunch of different activity options, but it will also keep giving kids something to look forward to. This balloon clock idea is a great way to get started. Write an activity down on pieces of paper and insert one into balloons. Blow them up and tape them to the wall to make the clock. Then, on each hour, pop the corresponding number and do the activity. You could start at 1:00 PM and go until midnight or start in the morning and go all day with the last balloon activity as bedtime. Activities could be silly things, fun things, or whatever works for your family.

Not into balloons or you don’t have the room? Try this Countdown Chain! It’s essentially the same idea as the clock, but you make one link for each hour and write the activity on the link.

Kids seem to love making lots of noise on any given day, but at a New Year’s Eve celebration it’s a must! Check out these easy DIY noisemakers made from paper plates, dried pasta, and embellishments. Decorate the bottoms of two plates, put pasta inside, and secure them together. This tutorial has some decorating ideas. You can use a popsicle stick for a handle, but if you don’t have them available, these noisemakers can be used like tambourines, too.

For more noisemaker fun, try out these DIY plastic straw horns. This blog suggests just decorating the straws with glitter or sequins, but you could expand on this idea with ribbons or making a cone shape with paper (decorate it first!) and attach it to the end of the straw. The fun the kids have making the craft should outweigh all the noise they’ll make with them later!

The other thing kids love as much as making news is making a mess. These poppers will certainly accomplish that! Attach a small balloon to the end of a craft or toilet paper tube. Decorate the tube using washi tape or anything else you have available, then fill it with mini pom poms. Pull back on the bottom of the balloon and launch the pom poms into the air. Easy and fun!

Eats & Treats

Want to liven up a simple cupcake dessert? Serve it in a plastic drink glass that’s partially filled with candy! Many party and dollar stores have cute plastic cups that can look super fancy to the young ones. Pick a candy the like. You could color coordinate things or not – it’s all up to you. Place store bought or homemade cupcakes on top and you’ve got a fancy treat kids will get a kick out of.

Chocolate covered pretzels are tasty and you can decide just how much chocolate you want to use. This time of year, it should be easy to find fancy sprinkles and candies to decorate the sticks with, but simple rainbow sprinkles from the everyday ice cream aisle at the store can be festive as well. Stand these up in a jar or wide-mouthed cup and you have a centerpiece as well.

If you want to try to get the kids to eat something healthy, try out these fruit rockets. Using foil cocktail sticks as skewers, add a few pieces of fruit to form the body of the rocket. Top them with a strawberry so it has a point and you’re all set!

Kids will love these number-shaped crescent dippers. They make an easy appetizer or accompaniment for dinner. Unroll a can of crescent dough and cut the dough into strips. Twist them into number shapes and touch each number together to form the year before you bake them, so they stay together when you fully cooked.

For lunch or dinner, try out these cute pizzas. It’s as simple as cutting the numbers out of pizza dough. Vary the flavors on each pizza and make something each person loves!


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