New Year’s Eve celebrating is a much different experience once you have kids. Chances are, you won’t be attending any First Night celebrations, even with kids in tow, for at least 9 or 10 years. Chances are, you will ring in the New Year at home, while your little tots are fast asleep. Does that mean the occasion doesn’t merit a celebration? Of course not! There are a number of great ways you can celebrate the New Year and start New Year’s family traditions that even young children will love.
New Year’s Eve Day Area Events
There are most likely numerous activities geared towards families with young children wherever you live. If you live in the Baltimore and Howard County, MD area, these are a few family friendly ‘First Night’ events that caught my interest:
- Noontime New Year: Holiday Hoedown at Port Discovery Children’s Museum- Kids get to dress up in cowboy gear and toast the New Year with milk and cookies. Fun activities are planned from 10AM-5PM and include live music, a hoedown dance party, make your own confetti and sound machine crafts, and Old McDonald story time. Sweet Pea has a soft spot for Old McDonald so we very well may check this event out. Plus, it is at Port Discovery. How could that go wrong?
- Midnight Noon at the MD Science Center- From 10AM-2PM kids can make noise makers, party hats, and glittering snow globes. The Grammy-nominated kid’s band Milkshake will perform at 1130AM. We have never been to the MD Science Center and if we don’t check out Port Discovery, this event also seems like a ton of fun!
- Midnight at 7– face painting, walking through Symphony of Lights, fireworks at 7PM. This is only the second year that the Symphony of Lights has offered this event. Our family will definitely check it out.. if for no other reason than the fireworks! The chance to walk through the Symphony of Lights seems pretty neat too.
New Year’s Eve Before the Kid’s Bedtime
Sweet Pea is only 2 years old this year, so she will be in bed by 9PM. However, there are a few simple things we can do together throughout the day and evening to make it special. If we run out of time before her bedtime, just about any of these activities would be fun on New Year’s Day as well!
- Painted Firework Toast and Fireworks Playdough from the Messy Little Monster blog. Both of these activities sound like a blast.. and easy enough to throw together with about 5 to 10 minutes of prep.
- An ‘End-of-Year’ Family Questionnaire- I love this idea. Clearly, the questions we ask now will evolve as Sweet Pea gets older. However, some fun questions to ask (or answer for Sweet Pea) can include: favorite color, favorite toy, favorite animal, favorite song, best friend(s), favorite TV show, favorite fruit, favorite thing to eat for dinner, favorite place to eat out, etc… you get the point. Keep it simple. Perhaps we will throw in a few curveball questions just to see what she says.
- Make a Kid’s New Year’s Eve Video- There are so many fun possibilities for a video like this. Even for a 2-year old. We could do a family sing-a-long featuring Old McDonald, Wheels on the Bus, Row Row Row Your Boat, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the Lord’s Army, etc… Sweet Pea could demonstrate how she walks like a dinosaur, acts like a firefighter, roars like a lion. Maybe Mommy and Daddy can get in on the action and just act silly!
- Make a Family Time Capsule- Again, this doesn’t have to be a big ordeal. Get a shoebox, cover it with white paper and spend a little bit of time decorating it. Then throw in some pictures, your family questionnaire, maybe a few other memory makers from the current year. I might not try and stick a favorite toy in, but a book that was loved at the beginning of the year might be a fun addition! Bonus points if Daddy and Mommy add items too!
New Year’s Eve Post Kid Bedtime
- Fondue Night!- What could be more romantic than dipping fun foods into cheese and chocolate with my Honeybear? I love this idea and look forward to making it part of our family traditions for years to come. Once Sweet Pea is a little older she could have fun doing this too!
- Brainstorm Date Night Ideas- turn on some music and come up with a ton of Daddy-Mommy date night ideas for the new year. Now that Sweet Pea is 2, it is about time Honeybear and I start refocusing on our relationship with each other. If we not only came up with ideas but tentatively scheduled them, that would be even better!
- Pray together- This may actually be the best/most important tradition to start. Again, Sweet Pea can join in when she is a little older (maybe even as early as next year) but why not start the year on the right track by praying about everything that happened in the previous year, and asking for guidance and blessings over the year to come.
- Family Game Night- Agree on a board game to play or maybe have a Wii competition. In year’s to come, Family Game Night will include games we play with Sweet Pea. Either way, this sounds like a super fun idea!
- Toast and Fireworks- If you are home, you might as well virtually ring the New Year in with the rest of Manhattan. Of course, in our neighborhood, the drop of the ball is a catalyst for fireworks. We will certainly walk out to the street, soak them all in and exchange our New Year’s kiss. Very romantic!
New Year’s Day
- We take down Christmas on New Year’s Day. It isn’t a rushed process, but it definitely signals ‘out with the old’ and ‘in with the new.’
- Have a special breakfast. Waffles? Character pancakes? Special muffins? Stay in pajamas and relax!
- Look through my Gratitude Jar and (post to follow) and reflect on all the things that went right in the past year.
And who knows, this is the first year to really celebrate the New Year as a family. I am sure we will try out some fun ideas. I will let you know how it goes!
Happy New Year to you and yours and thanks for reading!
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Here are some other great ideas for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day: