New Year’s Ideas for Kids | 100 Ways to Celebrate

New Year's Ideas for Kids | 100 Ways to Celebrate

New Year’s Eve is a special time to welcome a new beginning and reflect on the previous year. There are so many ways to make the holiday special and celebrate with your kids! We’ve put together a list of 100 New Year’s Ideas for Kids with activities, food, games, crafts, and indoor and outdoor fun to make the holiday meaningful and keep your kids entertained. You’ll be able to mix and match from this list to make the countdown to midnight (or 9 p.m.) fun and exciting. The kids will be enjoying the last day of 2023 until the very last minute!

Written by , Aishah Eljirby, & Angie Teed


Outdoor ActivitiesIndoor Activities | Food & Drink | Games | Crafts



Party Poppers

Who doesn’t love a party popper? Typically found at any major store, they are exploding streamers, which are sure to be a hit with the kids, and the young at heart.

S’mores and a Bonfire

When you think s’mores, you might think of summer and camping, but s’mores are a fun treat any time of year. A nice warm fire on a cold night is a great way to ring in the New Year.

Send Off a Floating Lantern

Did you know that the Chinese New Year ends with a lantern festival? Start the New Year with a lantern send-off at midnight and include your family and friends or an entire neighborhood.

“Sparkle” Your Neighbors

Let the kids get out the glitter to make sparkly treats, gift baskets, or notes to leave for neighbors and friends. Add a cute gift tag with “May Your New Year Sparkle” for extra smiles this New Year.

Star Gazing

Go to NASA’s Hubble Site to find the best visible constellations this month. It even tells you which direction to look and how to move from one constellation to the next.

Outdoor Fireworks and Sparklers

Gather up family or neighbors for an outdoor fireworks show and end it with some sparkler fun to ring in the New Year.

Wish Upon a Star

What kid doesn’t love star gazing? Write down wishes for the New Year on star cutouts and place them outside under the stars. While you’re out there—if it’s not too cold—star gaze!

Balloon Send-Off

Have kids and grownups write down their favorite memory of the past year, post it, or hang it on a helium-filled balloon and send it away—a great way to thank the previous year and welcome the new one.

Wishing Tree

All ages can participate in this activity! Write down wishes, hopes, and dreams for the new year and hang them on a nearby tree or bush.

Take a Family Walk

Take a walk through your neighborhood and notice the quiet before your party begins. Take a stroll when it gets dark and enjoy the Christmas lights that are still lit.

Random Act of Kindness

Help kids create random acts of kindness to leave behind in food boxes along the city or at random locations. They can be anything from a small toy to candy to gift cards. It will brighten everyone’s new year.

Candlelight Farewell

Bid the year farewell by candlelight. Set up candles all along your driveway or host a candlelight vigil for your neighborhood.

Host a Neighborhood Drive-By Parade

This was a fan favorite for 2020, and no doubt it will make a great way to ring in the New Year for many years to come! Decorate cars with all things New Year’s and parade the neighborhood in your car. This may also be done during the day or evening; making it accessible to everyone.

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Dance Party

Lace up your dancing shoes, and dance it out to ring in the New Year. Create a playlist of all your favorite songs from the past year to jam to.

Hair Color

Temporary hair dye is an easy and fun way to elevate your night this New Year’s Eve. Hair spray, hair chalk, and wash-out dye are all fun and easy options for a festive look!

Glow Sticks

Glow sticks are a fun way to party with your friends and family. Use the glow stick to make crowns or bracelets. Or, dance around in the dark and create fun games to play with the family!

Go Ice Skating

While you can go ice skating at a rink, you can also skate at home! Have everyone put on several layers of socks and move those areas rugs. Turn on some figure skating music and whirl around your hardwood or tile floors!

Glow Paint and Blacklight Party

Create your own family-friendly rave at home to end the year with a bang. Decorate with glow paint (highlighters work well too), turn off the lights, and fire up the old black light from college. Add dance music for a memorable New Year’s Eve party.

Finish a Puzzle

What better way to pass the time than with a family puzzle? Make it a fairly simple one if you want to finish before the New Year, or a more complex one if you want to work on it as a New Year project.

New Year’s Pinata

Whether it’s a DIY or purchased from a store, pinatas make any party or gathering a great one. Include wishes for the new year along with some sparkly trinkets and treats inside the pinata.

Movie Marathon

Does your family have a movie series you love? Pop in a movie, snuggle in with your favorite snack, and enjoy each other’s company to round out the year.

Disco Party

Throw it back to the 70’s, and enjoy a disco party with your friends and family. Don’t forget fun shades, bell-bottom jeans, and a disco ball, of course! Show the kids all of your moves and have them dancing all night long.

Snowball Fight

Use leftover tissue paper or scrap paper and make snowballs. Give everyone some “snowballs” and let the epic battle begin!

Watch a New Year’s Eve Show

There are several New Year’s Eve shows live each year, with performances, memory reels, and more to look back on all of the big moments from the year.

Word Scramble

Test your family’s puzzle knowledge by giving everyone a word scramble to solve. Happiness is Homemade has a New Year’s Eve themed scramble you can try.

New Year’s Eve Scavenger Hunt

A New Year’s Eve scavenger hunt is lots of fun and will keep the kids entertained and busy while they search for all things New Year’s. Come up with your own list or find one on the internet.

Karaoke Night

Did somebody say Karaoke? Here is your chance for the spotlight! Get lost in the fun of a karaoke machine, and sing your heart out all night long.  


Make a funny story and teach kids grammar and writing at the same time!  They can partner up or ask you the questions, then read the crazy story they created. Woo! Jr Kids Activities has several printables available.

Blanket Fort

If you’re at home with hours left until the ball drops, gather all the blankets and chip clips and make a gigantic fort. Use couch cushions and chairs for extra stability in your structure.

New Year’s Eve Storytime

A New Year’s Eve storytime is a simple and classic activity any time of year. But make New Year’s Eve special with books from your local library. After the story, do a craft that complements the book.

Deck the Halls

Keep all of those Christmas lights out and re-decorate your home with all sorts of glowing lights.

Living Room Picnic

Bring out the picnic blanket, pillows, and basket for an indoor family picnic. Feature finger foods and delicious drinks and play some fun outdoor games that you wouldn’t normally be allowed to play indoors.

Watch Family Videos

Gather around the TV and broadcast your videos from the previous year for everyone in your family.  They’ll enjoy seeing themselves on the big screen and reminiscing about old adventures.

Photo Booth

A photo booth is the perfect addition to any New Year’s Eve bash. Add flamboyant props like a feather boa, fun glasses, or top hats for a perfect photo opp.

Pajama Party

Break out the PJs!  Put them on in the afternoon (or earlier) for an extra-comfy New Year’s Eve party.

Sparkle Party

Don’t put away all those Christmas decorations just yet. Gather up all things that sparkle and shine and host a fun shiny New Year’s Eve party.

Montessori New Year’s Eve Celebration

Whether you love Montessori or are new to the ideas, a Montessori play space setup is a great New Year’s Eve activity for babies, toddlers, and children. Living Montessori now has some great ideas on ways to set up a Montessori play for each age group and how the new year can be celebrated from a different perspective.

New Year’s Eve Around the World

Travel fever has your whole family itching to explore new places, so bring the world to your home! Follow the countdown around the world. The first New Year’s celebrations begin in the Pacific Islands around Noon (EST) and last until 7 a.m. on January 1st. Use the time in between to learn more about other cultures’ New Year’s traditions.

All White Party

An all-white party may sound daunting to host with kids. But on the contrary, it is an elegant and magical experience for everyone. Have everyone dress in white, set the table in all white, and include some fun activities using all-white crafts.

Once Upon a Time

Relive one of your favorite years or decades with a party that includes close family and friends. Or make a simple day to enjoy everything that happened during that year or decade with favorite movies, snacks, and activities of that time. Your kids will love hearing all about the good old days before electricity.

New Year’s Eve Murder Mystery Party

The setup is in NYC at Times Square and the goal is to solve the murder mystery before the ball drops. This party is great for teens who want something new and exciting for New Year’s Eve, but aren’t ready for a night on the town.

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Enjoy some special beverages with the kids to celebrate the New Year. Consider mocktails with fun fruits, apple cider, and virgin mixers to make some colorful and tasty concoctions. They’ll feel extra fancy!

“Toast” with Toast

Here is a fun twist on a typical New Year’s Eve tradition. “Toast” with toast! Yes, make toast with the kids, let them put whatever spread they wish (marshmallow fluff is festive), and toast to the New Year.

Charcuterie Board

A nicely arranged charcuterie board is all the rage, and for good reason! If you aren’t familiar, this is a creative way to present your food. Typically, it offers fruits, cheeses, and meats deconstructed for self-serving. Kind of alike a fancy lunchable! Themed boards are always fun, and you can find a lot of holiday-themed board ideas on Pinterest!

Nacho Table

The most epic Nacho Table is forever engraved in my mind. Take aluminum foil, wrap up your entire kitchen table with it, and then create a giant tower of nachos right on the foil. Start with your tortilla chips, and then add on all the toppings. Kids love the giant mess!

Sparkling Juice Toast

Cheers to the New Year! This simple activity is a classic way to ring in the New Year with your kids. You can find sparkling juice at most grocery stores, or you can make your own at home!

Dress Up for a Fancy Meal

You don’t have to go out to get dressed up. Put on a sparkly dress or suit and enjoy a nice meal together as a family. Add light music and candles for extra ambiance.

New Year’s Hot Chocolate Bomb

They’re all the rage these days, they’ve been included in stocking stuffers, and they can include great surprises once opened. Hot chocolate bombs can be made to fit any theme and New Year’s no doubt would make a great chocolate bomb with exploding flavor and all things glitter.

Pop Rocks Popcorn

Add a little pop to your popcorn! Combine microwave popcorn, white chocolate, and pop rocks candy for an explosion of flavor! Try this recipe by Mom Always Finds Out.

Chicken Wing Bar

When I think of a good party, the first thing that comes to mind is the FOOD. Chicken wings are a fun food to eat and a delicious treat. You can prepare them so many ways. Offer a sidebar with all of the staple sides and dipping sauces.

Hot Chocolate Bar

A warm cup of hot cocoa is a great way to end this year. The creations are endless! From chocolate types, mix-ins, and toppings there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some yummy options to grab around town for your hot cocoa bar!

Decorate Donuts

Buy a donut kit or make your own with some plain donuts, icing, and sprinkles. Have a delicious breakfast ready for the morning!

Cookie Monster Countdown

Make a cookie clock by placing numbers 1-12 on cookies and with each hour, treat everyone to the specific cookie!

Ice Cream Sundae Bar

Buy a gallon of your favorite ice cream and have each of your kids pick a favorite topping.  Set it all out for everyone to make his or her own artistic ice cream design.

Sparkler Cupcakes

I can’t wait to do sparkler cupcakes with my kids this year! Grab a container of cupcakes and a pack of sparklers, then place a sparkler in each cupcake instead of a candle. A beautifully dazzling way to ring in the New Year.

Favorite Snack Party

Have everyone in your family choose a favorite snack or appetizer (or two). It can be favorite chips, crackers, dips, etc. Have a snack fest!

Make and Eat Sparkly Treat

What is New Year’s Eve without a little sparkle? Edible glitter is a fun way to elevate your treats for a fun night in. Drizzle your cookies, rice crispy treats, ice cream, or mac and cheese with some edible glitter!

Toot Your Own Edible Horn

Ice cream cones, dipped in chocolate, and covered in sprinkles are a fun snack to make on New Year’s Eve. The kids will love being involved in the creating and the eating!

Milk and Cookies “Champagne” Toast

Put some milk in (plastic) champagne flutes and top each glass with a cookie.  The kids will have fun toasting at midnight and enjoying their treat.

Next Great Baker

Have a child that loves to bake? Hosting a family bake-a-thon will surely get everyone excited for delicious treats, and everyone can be a judge on who wins the next greatest baker prize.

DIY Cookie Kit From a Local Bakery

Cookie kits have been another great hit this year. Ask your local bakery for a custom New Year’s cookie kit to take home and make. Cookie kits can also be made at home with on-hand kitchen ingredients and a little creativity.

Fondue Night

Elevate your evening with a fancy fondue dinner. Chocolate, cheese, you name it, there are so many fun takes on this classic eating style. Best of all, kids love dipping food!

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Euchre Night

Euchre is a great game, sure to provide hours of fun for your friends and family. This partner card game is a fun way to kick back and have a fun night in to welcome the New Year.

Minute to Win It Games

Make up some quick Minute To Win It Games with items you have around the house. Here are some fun ones to try with a New Year’s Eve theme from The Idea Room.

Surprise Ball

Find New Year’s Eve trinkets and treats and wrap them in Saran Wrap, one prize per layer.  You’ll end up with a giant Surprise Ball that your kids can take turns unwrapping to see the prize that’s inside each layer!

Would You Rather

You can always learn something new about someone by playing “Would You Rather.” Have your kids come up with the questions, or find some pre-made ones from Birthday Party Ideas 4 Kids.

Balloon Volleyball

String a piece of crepe paper across your living room and blow up a balloon. Break into teams and take turns hitting the balloon over the net. Don’t let it drop on your side!

Video Game Night

A game night at home is a great way to kick off the New Year with friends and family. You could do a virtual video game tournament, or games that move your body or challenge your mind. So many possibilities!

New Year’s Eve Bingo

Play a simple game of Bingo with a New Year’s Eve twist.  You can print blank cards and write or draw in different New Year’s symbols, or print these Bingo cards by Thirty Handmade Days.

New Year’s Eve Clock Game

Make a large clock and give everyone an hour hand for the New Year’s Eve version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  If you’d rather print this game, try this version from Paging Super Mom.

Word Search

Pass the time until midnight by doing word searches. Work as a family team or print one for everyone to try. Here’s a printable from Happiness is Homemade.

Game of Spoons

Dig out your playing cards and a few spoons and try your hand at this fast-paced classic card game. Bicycle Cards gives you step-by-step directions here.

NYE Charades

Write down several words relating to New Year’s Eve on small cards or print these from BonBonBreak. Split up into teams and play a family game of Charades.

Photo Memory Game

Print off two of each of your favorite photos from the year. Mix them up and flip them over to play a fun memory game with some familiar faces.

Board Game Night

Board games are a great way to get friends and family of all ages involved in the fun. From Ticket to Ride to Monopoly, enjoy hours of fun ringing in the New Year.

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Disco Ball Drop

The ball drop is an iconic memory that is always associated with New Year’s Eve. Make your own sparkly mosaic ball and suspend it from the ceiling for some fancy sparkle. Or, make it a pinata and stuff it with candy or trinkets.

Balloon Drop

Balloon drops are surprisingly easy to make, and will surely be a hit this New Year’s Eve. Blow up some balloons and put them in a trash bag or tarp and tape it to the ceiling. Release the balloons down as the clock turns to midnight.

Festive Noisemakers

Are you ready to make some noise? We know the kids are! Use a clean and dry water bottle and fill it up with coins, marbles, rice, or beads. Reattach the lid with glue and reseal it tightly. Let it dry completely, then shake the night away!

Family Vision Boards

A great way to focus on your goals in the coming year is to create a vision board. Often they are compiled of specific items for your New Year’s resolutions. After you finish, hang your board in a high-traffic area of your home so you can see it often. Use it as motivation to stay on track and encourage your family to do the same!

Create Your Own Wands

Create your own New Year’s Eve wands and make a wish for the New Year! Attach tassels, crepe paper, a star, etc. This fun and simple craft will be a great activity to round out the year and look forward to all of the fun a New Year brings.

New Year’s Sensory Bottle

Bring a little calm to the chaos with this Sensory Bottle activity from The Chaos and The Clutter.  Add some confetti and glitter. Your kids will be mesmerized!

Memory Jar

Have everyone write down favorite memories from the year onto strips of paper and put them all into a jar. Pull a couple out each hour to reminisce. Make it a game by guessing who wrote each one.

New Year Countdown Bags

Similar to an advent calendar, this is an easy way to countdown each hour of the day leading to the New Year. Each small bag holds candy, treats, or trinkets to ring in the New Year. They can be displayed on a wall in a clock shape, hung like a garland, or placed on a table.

Glitterball Playdough

If you don’t mind a little mess, make some glitzy playdough to keep little hands busy. Here’s a recipe from HomeGrown Friends.

New Year’s Eve Ice Cubes

Gather up leftover Christmas decor that shines, stars, glitter, and some “2024” numbers. Add them to a small round or square size plastic container and freeze overnight. Once frozen, gather up some tools, such as spoons, forks, and kid hammers, and let the fun begin.

Time Capsule

Make a family time capsule to remember this year in a special way.  Everyone can include a piece of art, a special picture, or even just fill out a form such as this Time Capsule Printable from Uncommon Designs.  Open it next year on New Year’s Eve.

Science With a Bang

Today’s kids love all things science; it creates a fun and learning experience for everyone. Here are some cool STEM activities that can be done together as a family. Fireworks in a jar are easy and fun to make as most of the items come from your kitchen. The New Year’s Erupting Volcano is another fun and easy way for kids to commemorate New Year’s Eve with a bang.

Special Greeting Cards

Make New Year’s greeting cards to send to family and friends. Everybody loves receiving snail mail, especially handmade cards!

Make a Countdown Clock

Gather a few materials from around the house and have your kids make Countdown Clocks as demonstrated by Buggy and Buddy.  They can keep track of the hours and count how many are left until midnight!

Family Photo Book

Family photo books are a great way to display all the events of that year. Create one together while reminiscing over the events of the past year.

Make a New Year Balloon Garland

Balloon garlands are great for all sorts of parties, and New Year’s is no exception. They can be simple balloon garlands or over-the-top topped with tassels and twinkling lights. You can spend all day putting it together!

New Years Slime

Celebrate the new year with slime. There are lots of great ideas to try out new ways to make slime. It can be metallic slime, confetti slime, or colored slime.

Countdown with a Balloon Clock

It can be hard for kids to be patient while staying up until midnight to celebrate the New Year. Try making a 12-balloon clock. Starting at Noon, pop one balloon each hour to spread out the festivities and fun. If you’re feeling generous, you could let them pop the number of balloons of the hour it is.

Countdown Chain

Build a paper chain with each hour written on it from the time your kids wake up until midnight (or the time they go to bed).  They’ll have fun watching it get shorter as they tear one link off each hour. Rip up the pieces of construction paper to begin making confetti. By the time midnight rolls around, you’ll have enough to throw in the air.

Canvas Painting

Let your kids get creative with their very own canvas painting of fireworks, a cityscape with colorful fireworks in the background, or a personal creation for the New Year.

Family Resolutions

Is there something as a family you want to work on or a family mission statement that you want to set? The New Year is a perfect time to begin a family resolution to set and achieve your goals.

DIY 2024 Glasses

Pop out the lenses on old sunglasses and use pipe cleaners to make festive glasses. Shape each pipe cleaner into one number of the New Year. They’ll look just like those worn in Times Square!

Make T-Shirts

Use t-shirt markers, puffy paint, or a Cricut and design some shirts for the New Year. Let everyone make his or her own unique design.

Party Hats

What’s a party without party hats?  Decorate printer paper or construction paper and shape it into a cone to make a fun hat for your New Year’s Eve party.  You could also print these ready-made hats from Happiness is Homemade.

DIY Confetti Bar

Confetti is used in many New Year’s Eve celebrations, but have you ever made your own? First, gather materials on hand-it can be anything from glitter to flower petals to Christmas tassels. Place each item in its own container with either a scoop or spoon. Next, make cones out of construction paper or decorate small ziplock bags. Fill them up, then at midnight have fun tossing them around to ring in the New Year.

How many of these 100 New Year’s Ideas for Kids have you done or do you plan to do? Do you have other New Year’s Ideas for Kids you can share with us? Leave a comment below! However you celebrate, we wish you a Happy New Year!

For more ideas for places to visit and things to do during winter break, check out our holiday events and activities guide. See all of the ways you can play in the snow, and check out Indy’s best sledding hills, ice skating rinks, and adult date nights.

If you got lucky and scored a babysitter for New Year’s Eve, check out 50 Exciting New Year’s Eve Date Nights to plan your special day.

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