Skip to main content
Parenting

12 fun ideas for celebrating New Year's Eve with kids

These kid-friendly party ideas will help you celebrate the new year—no matter what your bedtime

Family smiling and enjoying sparklers indoors. Credit: Getty Images / MesquitaFMS

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Now that we have kids, those days partying until the sun comes up is a thing of the past. I don’t know about you, but my kid’s bedtime is 8 and I’m asleep by 9. Even if we could get ourselves to stay awake past midnight, there is no way the kids are going to let you sleep in on New Year’s day, which leaves me little motivation to dress up, find a sitter, and jet my way across town for a party.

While New Year’s Eve is typically thought of as a “grown-up” holiday, it can still be fun with kids involved—even if you opt to do it low key. Here are some of our favorite ways to make ringing in the new year fun and festive, while still being kid-friendly.

1. Have a mock midnight

Mother and child holding up sparklers and smiling.
Credit: Getty Images / RgStudio

Now your little ones won't be groggy waiting for midnight.

For tiny tots, this can be the popular “Noon Year’s Eve”, celebrated right before nap time. For older kids there is the “It’s midnight somewhere” idea. Pick a bedtime that’s age-appropriate and make that your stroke of midnight. For our family it’s 9 p.m., the sweet spot where our son starts to feel tired, but before the witching hour begins. Kids will love that they got to stay up late, but everyone will be refreshed and in good spirits with the start of the new year.

2. Party with the Brits

Family of three smiling at laptop.
Credit: Getty Images / FG Trade

This fun twist can be a tradition your family continues for years.

If you must watch a New Year’s Eve countdown, live stream from a different time zone. For East Coasters, they can live stream London and be done with the countdown at 7 p.m. For West Coasters, it’s as easy as cuing up New York City or a local affiliate station on the eastern seaboard.

3. Make some noise

Gold metallic streamer noise makers next to party items.
Credit: Sumind

Celebrate with joyful noise this NYE.

They don’t call it “ringing in the new year for nothing.” It’s not a party without some noisemakers. No matter when your clock strikes—be it the real midnight or your mock one—kids will love making lots of fanfare with sound.

Get the 24-piece Metallic Blowouts Squawker Noisemakers at Amazon for $14.99

4. A night of favorites

Varity of junk food and food in individual bowls.
Credit: Getty Images / LauriPatterson

Pig out on a variety of goodies your child will love.

New Year’s Eve is a night to reflect on the year behind us. Kids change so much year to year, how about having a night to celebrate their favorites? Let them come up with a dinner menu: Sure, it may be macaroni and cheese and Oreos, but what a fun kickoff to an annual tradition where you can fully take in their favorites and take note of how it changes year to year. If you’re inviting friends over, you can make it a potluck-style where each kid brings their favorite foods to share.

5. Get dressed up

Children's New Year's celebration kit.
Credit: Kid Made Modern

Look the part and get glam for the special occasion.

You may not be going out on the town, but it can still feel special. Invite kids to come to the party dressed in their fanciest clothes. You provide party hats, crowns and feather boas. Be sure to snap lots of photos to share.

Get the New Year’s Eve DIY Party Kit for Kids at Maisonette for $24.99

6. Have a dance party

Father dancing with two young children.
Credit: Getty Images / andreswd

Scream, shout, and dance it out!

Make a playlist that will get kids excited and on the dance floor—but keep it grown-up friendly (there’s no need to dance to the Wiggles tonight). Get some glow sticks and glow necklaces to set the mood, and maybe even invest in an inexpensive dance floor light and a bubble machine! It may have been years since you were last on a dance floor, but tonight is the night to show your kids how Momma used to move!

Get the Remote Control Party Ball and Strobe Light at Amazon for $14.99

7. Make a photo booth

People smiling in New Year's picture frame.
Credit: Getty Images / lisegagne

Say cheese!

All you need is a roll of craft paper for a backdrop, and you’ve got the start of a photo booth. Let the kids decorate it with glitter, shimmering pompoms, gold lettering—you name it; as long as it’s festive it works! Then set aside some costume props and your party guests have the perfect place to take some end-of-the-year snaps.

Get the pack of 15 New Year’s Eve Photo Booth Props at Amazon for $13.99

8. Do a craft (but don’t stress over it)

Small child creating small craft project.
Credit: Getty Images / gpointstudio

Creative crafts that will last through the entire new year.

When the founder of Year Cheer was a new mom, she found herself spending too much time on the internet, researching how to come up with fun and meaningful holiday crafts to do with her kids. Skip the research! These adorable kits will give you a fun moment to connect with your kids while doing something they enjoy.

Shop Year Cheer craft kit subscriptions starting at $45.95

9. Have a movie night

Animated children's cartoon characters celebrating New Year's Eve.
Credit: CBS / Apple TV

Join Charlie, Snoopy and the rest of the gang for a New Year's Eve bash.

There is nothing like ringing in the new year with an annual tradition of a movie night. For little ones, we like to keep it short and sweet. This 24-minute Peanut gang classic is just right for little ones who want to party, but maybe can’t last their way through a feature length film.

Watch Happy New Year Charlie Brown on Apple TV

10. Project it on the wall

Family smiling and enjoying movie in front of projector screen.
Credit: Getty Images / master1305

Fun fact: your projection screen can double as a stage for finger puppets.

Whether you are watching a short movie or a long countdown, make it feel like an event by projecting it on the wall for all of your party guests to see—plus everyone can carry on with their festivities, rather than cramming in together on the couch. Our expert testers’ favorite is the Anker Nebula Mars II, which comes with popular streaming apps like Netflix, Youtube, and Amazon Video right out of the box—simply connect the Mars II to a Wi-Fi network and you’re ready to go. The Mars II also comes with a small remote control so that you can navigate the software from a distance.

Get the Anker Nebula Mars II at Amazon for $499.99

11. Give a toast

Champagne flutes filled with bubbly beverage and gummy bears.
Credit: Not Quite Susie Homemaker / Prestee

Nothing is more festive than mocktails.

Keeping it kid-friendly doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the toast. Whether you’re drinking mocktails or sparkling cider, fill their flutes with something fizzy and festive.

Get the 24-pack of Plastic Champagne Flutes at Amazon for $13.99

12. Do your own ball drop

On left, person wearing black dress while holding silver disco ball. On right, silver disco ball.
Credit: Oriental Trading

This personal disco ball will make ringing in the new year much more exciting for your children.

They may not get to see actual holiday ball drop but, if we are to be honest, it’s sort of anticlimactic anyway. A much more fun and festive activity is smashing the piñata at the stroke of “midnight.” We like this shimmering disco ball pinata that’s so festive it is very likely Ryan Seacrest-approved. Fill it with candy or toys and let the kids break through to 2022.

Get the Iridescent Disco Ball Piñata at OrientalTrading.com for $19.99

Related content

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or Flipboard for the latest deals, product reviews, and more.

Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

Up next