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Ringing in the New Year with Kids

Ringing in the New Year with Kids
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BY MYRA FAYE TURNER

When I was younger, attending adult New Year’s Eve parties was something I looked forward to doing. Then I became a mom and limited my out-of-house celebrations because I wanted to spend more quality time with Tyler. I quickly found out that seeing the new year arrive through the eyes of a child was the most fun I’d had in years. If you have ever spent time with kids on New Year’s Eve you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. If you have plans to celebrate with kids this year (for the first time or if you’ve been doing so for years), here are some fun options for your New Year’s Eve celebration.

Move Your Celebration to Noon

I admit when I first heard of ringing in the new year at noontime, I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea. But I gave it a shot when Tyler was younger and we actually had a great time. A couple of times we went to our local zoo’s 12 noon countdown. Before the big countdown, there’s fun activities, music, food and of course, you can stroll through the zoo. And you know what? None of the kids seemed to mind that it wasn’t actually midnight. If your town is like mine, there’s probably at least one attraction or community outlet offering an early celebration event for the little ones. Here in New Orleans, in addition to the zoo, the Louisiana Children’s Museum also has a well-attended noon time count down.

But you don’t have to leave home to have a good time. You can start your celebration early, ideally a few hours before the “ball drops” and then count down at noon. After a chorus of Auld Lang Syne , you can continue to party until the little ones wear themselves out.

Time Travel

This is a fun activity that works for both the little ones and for older kids. You have to remember that every hour on New Year’s Eve, someone is turning the page on the old year. With a little advanced planning, you can celebrate the new year and learn about other countries and their culture. In the U.S. we have our own customs but what do the people in other countries do? Research and create little celebrations incorporating your selected country’s customs, food, arts and crafts and music into your celebration. The kids will have a blast and then learn some unusual information in the process. Here’s a chart that shows when different countries around the world will enter 2016.

Goodie Bags

Do you like surprises? I know I do and so do most kids. This activity works for kids of all ages. You can create Countdown Goodie Bags for your kids to open each hour until the big countdown. What you put in your bag is up to you, as in when the actual countdown begins. The kids will have a blast anticipating what’s waiting for them inside the next bag. You can find inexpensive swag at the places like the Dollar Tree. Lots of stores will probably also have leftover Christmas items on sale. You can also place non-material items like a coupon book of hugs. Or maybe a fresh baked cookie. Be creative.

Bring the Noise

Let’s face it — it’s going to be noisy in your house with kids running about so you might as well embrace it. When it’s time to usher in the new year you’re going to need some noisemakers. And don’t forget some homemade musical instruments. You can go to the party supply store and purchase what you need but where’s the fun in that? You can easily create your own , probably from items you have around the house.

Movie Marathon

This is another one of those activities that works for kids of all ages. Most of us have at least one streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. During the holidays you’ll likely find tons of family-friendly movies to choose from. If your library rents DVDs, that’s another great source, as is Hoopla, a streaming service that is available free of charge through participating libraries.

Slumber Party/ Indoor Camp-out

This can coincide with many of the activities mentioned in this article and it allows the little (and big) ones to snooze when they get tired. Put on your footed pajamas, grab some blankets or sleeping bags and camp out on the floor, watch some movies, play some board games, etc. Just don’t try to light a campfire inside and toast marshmallows!

Get Glammed Up

Even though you’re not going out doesn’t mean you can’t play dress up. Get dressed in your snazziest duds and have a formal affair. You can even create a photo booth, which is becoming popular at home parties.

Create a Vision Board

At the end of each year I like to create a vision board as a roadmap to what I’d like to accomplish in the coming year. This activity is ideal for tweens and older, but with help, the little ones can definitely create their own boards.

As you can see many of these ideas can be combined to create a great New Year’s Eve bash. Especially if your kids are old enough to stay up to actually see the new year roll in. You’re limited only by your imagination. Now get out of here and get to planning.

 

 

 

 

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