New Years Eve Activities for Kids (that don’t include staying up past midnight)

New Years Eve Activities for Kids
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New Years Eve Activities for kids, especially preschoolers, is hard to find. After all, the main attraction of the night is waiting for the moment when December 31st becomes January 1st of the new year.

Many parents are willing to let their kids have the privilege of staying up late that one day of the year. Especially because it is always during a school break and everyone can sleep late the next day. It’s one night.

I’m not one of those parents.

I’m sure other preschooler and toddler moms can relate. Even if our kids could manage to stay awake until midnight, the next morning will not be spent sleeping late. Toddlers and preschoolers will “sleep in” an extra hour at most. Resulting in a big sleep debt and very grumpy kiddos. Or, if your kids are like mine, the next several mornings will be thrown off and very emotional. By just that ONE night.

But New Years Eve is still a holiday. Kids love holidays! So what kind of New Years Eve activities for kids don’t include staying up past midnight?

I’m so glad you asked.

Here’s my list of 8 New Years Eve Activities for Kids.

Clean and De-clutter

Just kidding. Sort of.

No kid likes to clean their room. Most moms don’t either. But what better way to start the New Year than with a clean and clutter free house?

Start your New Years Eve activities with your kids helping you organize and declutter some toys. Right after Christmas they probably received lots of new things. Older toys can be recycled out, donated, or put into storage to make room for the new toys. Challenge the kids to find a home for their new toys on the shelf or bins that you keep toys in.

Movie night

Okay now a real New Years Eve activity for kids. Roo LOVES to have movie nights. We let her pick a movie to watch, or sometimes we choose one of our old favorites. Then we pop popcorn and have other snacks.

Include a special drink for your New Years Even movie night too. Ginger ale or something else fizzy in champagne glasses, or maybe hot chocolate with extra marshmallows. Just not too much sugar before sending them to bed before midnight.

Family Game Night

This was always my favorite activity for New Years Eve as a kid. Each family member would pick a favorite board or card game and we would play them all.

Now that Roo is four, she likes to play board games like Candy Land and is beginning to understand card games like Uno and Go Fish. I’m looking forward to playing games with her this New Years Eve before putting her to bed.


Of course I’m going to include crafts. New Years Eve themed crafts are a fun activity for kids to celebrate the holiday without staying up all night.

Firework paintingsPainted fireworks New Years Eve Craft

With black paper and some bright paints, you can easily create a beautiful fireworks display with your kids. Even preschoolers can paint straight lines to create this New Years Eve artwork.

Jingly Bell Wands

Ring in the New Year with this simple craft. Gather some jingle bells you know you have leftover from Christmas. Help the kids string them on ribbons and tie secure knots. Wrap and tie the ribbon to a dowel stick and shake. (This also, apparently, makes a fun cat toy.)

Firework Chalk DrawingsNew Years Eve Activity Chalk Fireworks

Take out the black paper again. This time give the kids chalk to draw their fireworks display. This is a better option if you don’t want to clean up after a painting session.

Paper Plate Twirler

Give each kid a paper plate to decorate with markers, crayons, or paint. When it’s dry, cut the plate into a spiral starting from the outside and swirling in. The more loops in your spiral, the twirly-er it will be. Hang from the center point to display.

Confetti Filled Balloons

What kid doesn’t like balloons? Use a funnel to pour confetti into a balloon before blowing it up. It’s safest to use a hand pump to avoid sucking in the confetti. Then when the time is right, pop the balloons and let the confetti fall. Happy New Year!

Calm Down BottlesCalm Down Bottle

After all that excitement, it might be time to calm down. Calm down, or sensory bottles are so much fun to make and are a tool that can be used for calming down a overstimulated child later. I have another post about how to make a calm down bottle, but you can find loads of ideas on Pinterest.


Just because the kids won’t be staying up until midnight to see the fireworks, doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy sparklers. As soon as the sun goes down, take the kids outside to light sparklers.

Young kids may be scared of the sparklers, so hold them for them to see. But no one can resist the pretty lights against the night sky. Or writing their name in the air…

Write down goals and hopes

Most of us adults make grand New Years Resolutions on NYE. Don’t exclude the kids from this New Years Eve activity.

Maybe start a notebook with your kids this year, asking them what they hope they will do in the next year and writing it down. See how their answers change each year.

Kids that are writing can write down a goal they are working on to tape to their bedroom wall.

Or just have a conversation with your kids about what they want to be when they grow up, what kind of vacation they’d like to take, or people they’d like to meet. You’ll be surprised with some of their answers!

Special present

*Affiliate Links ahead. If you choose to make a purchase after clicking one of the links provided, I will receive a small commission at NO extra charge to you. Full disclosure here.*

I know. I know. Christmas just happened. They have ENOUGH stuff. You’ve spent enough money.

Think of something you’d like them to have or use in the next year:

A journal or notebook.

A feelings journal, where they write down or draw a picture of emotions they are experiencing.

A new toothbrush set.

Or something that aligns with your own New Year resolutions:

Got a “Get Organized” resolution? Get each of the kids a bin for all their toys, or a shelf for their books.

“Get to school on time every day” resolution? Hang hooks by the door for their backpacks and hooks in their bedroom for the day’s outfit.

“Lose weight/be healthier” resolution? Roo loves her mini 2lb weight I got her to “train” with when I’m using my full sized 8lb and 20lb weights.

Or something for the whole family! Like a membership to the zoo, the gym, or the local rec center.


Happy New Year!


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