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7 New Year’s Eve Activities for Kids

Long gone are the days of hailing a cab at midnight in your party dress! But you can wear sweatpants and still plan a celebration full of New Year's activities the whole family will love.

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Family with daughter enjoying New Yearmartin-dm/Getty Images

Your New Year’s Eve celebrations may be slightly less outrageous since you’ve had kids. The days of endless primping, wearing clothes that were never appropriate for the weather and drinking fancy cocktails have come and gone. But that doesn’t mean the fun is over! There are plenty of ways to celebrate.

From putting together a delicious spread of food to donning your best dress-up attire, here are New Year’s activities to help you celebrate as a family.

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African American family watching television togetherJose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Have a Movie Marathon

For your New Year’s Eve movie marathon, have everyone pick a favorite flick. Depending on how many are in your family, set the last movie to end just a few moments before midnight. Prep a spread of awesome movie treats to snack on throughout the evening. And most importantly, don’t forget the homemade popcorn.

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Boy and girl celebrating New Year's EveJose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Ring in the New Year at Noon

If you have little ones in your crew, the reality of making it until midnight (or even 10 p.m.) is slim to none. Close all your curtains and pretend it’s 12 midnight instead of 12 noon. Find a faraway time zone that’s already celebrating the New Year and watch the festivities online. Toast with your favorite non-alcoholic party drink.

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Mother and son cooking together - new years activities for kidsTaiyou Nomachi/Getty Images

Make Fun Finger Foods

Want to put together a delicious spread for a cozy night in? Make an evening of it! Cooking together in the kitchen is such a fun activity for kids any time, but on New Year’s Eve, they’ll feel like they’re helping to prep for a party. Make a bacon cheeseburger slider bake and whip up a batch of chicken fries, or let the kids help assemble cold chicken-cheese kabobs. Once everything is prepped, they’ll be thrilled to dig in!

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Glass jar with handmade wooden hearts decorations and ribbon filled with colorful pastel paper notes spilling over.; Shutterstock ID 696530689; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHAna-Maria Tegzes/Shutterstock

Start a Gratitude Jar

Begin a new tradition on the last night of the year. Since expressing gratitude has been a proven key to continued happiness, have every family member write down what they are thankful for going into the new year. Fold up the pieces of paper and put them in the jar and continue this practice whenever the mood strikes throughout the year. Next New Year’s Eve, dump out the jar and review all there was to be thankful for.

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Cranberry FizzTaste of Home

Throw a Mocktail Party

You may not be dressing up and heading out to a bar, but that doesn’t mean delicious (and beautiful!) drinks are out of the question. Plan out a menu of mocktails to make with the kids and sip all evening long. How about a cranberry fizz or a blueberry lime slush? Both you and the kids will be in love!

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Shot of two little boys pretending to be pirates in their bedroomPeopleImages/Getty Images

Play Dress-Up

It may not be the dressing up in glitzy outfits you used to do for New Year’s Eve, but the kids will love this activity. Choose a theme as a family, whether from a favorite movie or book, and set the scene. Have everyone hunt through their closets and the rest of the house for dress-up items to match the theme. Or, pick names out of a hat and find dress-up items for the assigned family member.

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Family Playing Board Game At Home - new years activities for kidsvgajic/Getty Images

Make It a Game Night

A game night is fun for any evening of the year, but it can be made all the more special on New Year’s Eve. Let everyone in the family pick out a game to play as midnight inches closer. Keep score on each game, and tally them all together to crown one New Year’s winner.

Don’t forget to put out a spread of fun eats! Treats like game-night nacho pizza, paired with pretzel nuggets and domino brownies will be perfect to munch on all evening.

Michelle Steber
Michelle is the Customer Account Manager at Scott's Marketplace and loves all things local: shops, parks, garage sales and yes, even the local bar. She engages the selling community by day, and by night is a chauffeur, sous chef, spin instructor and Pinterest junkie. Michelle seeks joy in everything she does, especially closet organization.
Molly Allen
Molly Allen is a previous bakery owner and former event planner. Now, a freelance writer and editor focused on food and beverage, lifestyle, travel and parties, she brings her years of experience and industry knowledge to readers across a variety of platforms.