Last year was the first year I tried this with my kids. They were 4 and 6, and I wanted to spend the last day of the year connecting as a family in a fun, memorable way. Fast forward to this year, and they have been already been saying, "I can't wait until New Year's Eve to do the activities again!"
Edit - here's a link to even more activities we did the following year.
How it Works
Pick a time to start on New Year's Eve, and then open a bag with an activity idea in it every hour. I put a note and any supplies that would fit in the bag. We catch the 9:00 ball drop (midnight on the east coast of the U.S.), but I've just found out Netflix has ball drops that you can play at any time that works for you!
The number of activities is totally up to you. You can start at 5:00 pm with just a few or as soon as they wake up. Last year we started at 10:00 am and if I'm being honest, I was worn out by the end of the day. But, I will likely start at the same time because I found too many good activities again this year, and what else are we going to do?!
It's really easy to switch things around for what works for your family - less activities, different games, etc.
Last Year's Activities
11:00 am - Year in Review Photo Hunt - print pictures from each month of the past year and hide them around the house. The kids will try to find them and then you can look back at the memories you made. You can also write which month they were taken on the back and organize them in month order.
There was some arguing last year, so this year I will make a set for each kid and color code them. They can only find their own color.
12:00 pm - New Year's Coloring Pages from Rad and Happy. (We are subscribers and get new coloring pages each month to print). They do not disappoint! Each year is different, so you likely won't see the ones pictured. We'll probably eat some lunch somewhere in here too.
1:00 pm - Snowmen stones. Go find some rocks, paint them white, and then decorate with marker or paint pens.
2:00 pm - Tic Tac Tweezer Game - See who can move the most Tic Tacs from plate to plate in a minute. If you have younger kids, try using cotton balls and larger tongs or tweezers.
3:00 pm - Make these funny mouth covers for party horns. Hilarious! These required some adult help, but the kids loved end result!
4:00 pm - Balloon paddles - decorate some paper plates, attach a craft stick, blow up a balloon, and try to keep the balloons off the ground!
5:00 pm - Learn about how different countries celebrate New Year's Eve and Day with the Powerpoint Presentation and print outs from TPT. I thought it might be a little over their heads and didn't expect them to do it all. But I was pleasantly surprised! They were really into it and I love exposing them to different cultures.
6:00 pm - You can plan dinner before or after this. Then play this fun game with a ball in panty hose on your head. You try to knock the cups (that are arranged like a clock) over in order from 1-12. Of course for littles, you could just have them knock them all down.
8:00 pm - Fireworks in a jar since we won't be seeing any real fireworks! A simple activity with just a mason jar, water, oil, and food coloring.
8:40 pm - Get some fancy drinks ready and maybe some popcorn. Get your noise makers, crowns, and party horns you made earlier today!
9:00 pm - Watch the ball drop and say Happy New Year! Then go straight to bed. Ha! If we're lucky. But maybe they will be so exhausted from all the fun that this won't be so hard.
The Plan for This Year
10:00 - My kids are really into making fortune tellers, and I found this free printable for a New Year's Eve themed fortune teller and here is a joke teller.
11:00 - We'll be making the paper plate noise makers like we did last year (see above).
12:00 - I got the book Snowflake Bentley to read to them, and then we'll create our own snowflakes using toothpicks and marshmallows. They will learn that no two snowflakes are the same in this STEM activity.
1:00 - Year in Review Photo Hunt like we did last year (see above). This time each kid will have their own color and pictures to find!
2:00 - We'll make our own Pom Pom Shooter with paper cups, a balloon, and pom poms.
3:00 - Black Eyed Pea Races - Use a party blower to move a black eyed across the table. The first person to knock it off the end is the winner!
4:00 - We'll do an easy craft and make some fireworks out of cutting cute cupcake liners.
5:00 - Bingo time! Use this free printable to play the classic Bingo game with a New Year's Eve theme.
6:00 - Glow Stick Hide and Seek - turn off the lights and each person gets a turn at hiding the glow sticks. Then everyone else finds them!
8:00 - We are Lego fanatics around here, so we will be attempting to create this Lego Ball Drop Tower.
8:40 - Prepare our festive drinks and snacks. We'll also get our noisemakers and party poppers ready.
9:00 - Watch the ball drop on Netflix or the east coast feed. Happy New Year!!
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