New Years Eve Party Ideas for Kids

Family-friendly ideas to ring in the New Year

Christmas may be over but are you still in the mood to party? Looking to ring in 2013 with some fun for your family? Have relatives coming into town after Christmas and you want to plan something special to celebrate? Why not throw a kid-friendly New Years Eve party?

Since I’m usually running on empty by the time New Years Eve rolls around, I’ve put together some fun but EASY ideas for staying home and celebrating in your family room with the kids. 


Keep it low-key.
You don’t need to go crazy cleaning the house, buying party favors, and cooking to have a fun New Year’s celebration. Keep the party ideas simple. Even if you just end up watching the countdown shows on TV with the kids, they’ll appreciate it.

Make it a party.
If you don't have relatives staying with you, invite neighbors and friends with kids about the same age over to help celebrate. This keeps everyone off of the road, you can watch the kids together, and it saves on babysitter money. To keep it casual and easy, have everyone bring a dish to share. Start the party later so you don’t need to cook dinner, just have snacks and desserts. Use up all of those left-over Christmas cookies. Invite the kids to come over in their pajamas so it’s casual, and parents won’t have to change their kids’ clothes if they fall asleep before going home.

Time is all relative.
Even if you have small children, you can still ring in the new year together. Here’s a trick. If you have small children who might not make it to midnight, change the clocks in the house so that “midnight” hits around 9 or 10 p.m. The kids will feel like they got to stay up and celebrate and you will still be able to put them to bed at a decent time.

Balloon Drop
Another fun idea is to blow up balloons and “drop” them at midnight. Rig up a net in a corner of the basement or drop them over the balcony stairs. Kids will have fun popping the balloons and chasing them around.

Pop in the Fun
Kids love to make noise and New Year’s Eve is all about loud noise. Grab some inexpensive noise makers at your local Dollar Store or buy a roll of large bubble wrap. Give each kid a piece and let them “Pop it Up” at midnight while the adults pop open the champagne. Skip any confetti or streamers unless you want to spend the next day cleaning. Remember, keep it simple.


It’s easier to plan a party if you have a theme. Here are 3 easy themes and activities to keep the family occupied and laughing while you wait for midnight.

Game Night 
Get out those new board games you got for Christmas or Hanukkah, find your old favorites in the closet or fire up the Wii for a little family competition. Definitely grab prizes like big boxes of movie theater candy, large chocolate bars, or my favorite, win coupons to get out of household chores. Click here for more ideas on planning a Family Game Night

Pajama Pizza Party

Why not have fun cooking together and sharing some laughs in the kitchen by making homemade pizza? If you have a great pizza recipe and a pizza stone, you are good to go. If not, here’s my family's killer homemade pizza recipe. To make the evening more unique, have everyone wear their pajamas all night. Invite another family over and make it a kids/adult slumber party. Or set up a tent in the living room and the kids can watch the ball drop from inside the tent in their sleeping bags. Here are some more ideas on how to host a fun Pizza Party.

Fancy Schmancy New Years Eve Party
Half the fun of going out on New Year’s Eve is getting dressed up. Who loves dress up more than kids? Kids also love to dance so why not combine these two into a Fancy Schmancy New Year’s Eve Party? Kids love watching their parents get dressed up for New Year’s Eve Parties, so let them share in the spotlight this year by dressing up in their fancy duds or their kooky dress-up clothes.

You don’t have to go to a club to hear the latest bands and dance on New Years. Pick a theme and host a kid’s prom at home. Turn the New Year’s countdowns on the TV and let the kids dance along to the featured bands. Or set up an area in the house as a dance floor and spin the tunes. Create a playlist of the top dance hits of 2012 and groove those holiday feeding-frenzy calories away. Blow up some balloons and have them around the dance floor for even more ambiance! You can drop them from a net or second story at midnight. Get your video camera out because the video of your kids dressed up and dancing will be worth it!

You can even serve sparkling grape juice or milk in plastic champagne flutes to really make the party classy and fun for the kids.

Midnight Noise Makers

A woman I met recently told me that every year on New Years Eve the kids went outside at midnight and banged pots and pans to ring in the New Year. She said although it was silly the kids loved it and still talk about it now as grown adults. 

Whatever you decide to do, have a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve with your family. Happy Holidays to all of you and I look forward to sharing more simple, creative and memorable Family Fun ideas with you in 2013.

How do you celebrate New Years Eve with your family?


Sue Kirchner is a family fun coach, kids party planner, and weekly contributor to Patch.com. Sue and her family fun ideas have been featured on TV, newspapers, magazines, blogs, as well as her own family fun site ChocolateCakeMoments.com.

Izzybellann December 27, 2012 at 07:13 PM
I never thought of having a party for the kids. We would just try to stay up and say happy new year to each other. Of course it always ends with mommy trying to wake everyone up and watch them roll over in their sleep and mumble. This year my friend and I were talking about it and came up with some ideas. I will be buying apple cider and plastics flutes from the dollar store for us to drink out of. Also some noise makers. We will have some appetizers set out for the night while we wait for the moment. Maybe make some homemade personalized pizzas. Attire will be pajamas but I will bring out the craft box so we can make hats/crowns to wear. I'm very excited. I can't wait to do this. :)
Sandra Levin December 30, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Orbit Skate Center has a great Family Bash in Palatine 12/31/12 6-10pm with 2 huge balloon drops filled with prizes. Check out the website at www.orbitskate.net
Sue Kirchner December 31, 2012 at 07:55 PM
That sounds like a lot of fun for your kids and the adults as well. Thanks for reading and sharing your New Years Eve tradition.
Sue Kirchner December 31, 2012 at 07:56 PM
That sounds like a whole lot of fun. And, since you are excited about it, I'm sure the kids will be excited as well. Have fun tonight!
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