New Year’s Eve used to be fun…and then you had kids. Now, the thought of trekking across town to spend a week’s worth of grocery money partying with strangers whom you will later fight for cabs just doesn’t seem so festive. Besides, it’s not like you can find a babysitter, anyway.
So what if you can’t leave the house without the kids? Stay home and have an amazing New Year’s Eve with them instead.
To do a family New Year’s Eve party right, consider hiring a babysitter. Yes, we know your regular sitter was booked months ago, but you’re going to be home anyway – a responsible tween is a perfectly suitable (and much cheaper) option. Let your underage child-minder entertain the kiddos – emphasis on the plural. Inviting other children – and their parents – gives everyone a chance to socialize: kids party in one room, adults party in another, and a good time is had by all.
Work with your children to pick your favourites from the following activities, and decide which you’ll do with peers and which you’ll do together. When the big night comes, be sure to gather everyone for the final countdown and a sparkling toast of age-appropriate beverages.
Family-friendly New Year’s fun that doesn’t suck
PHOTO BOOTHGoogle ‘printable New Year’s photo booth’ for DIY props, or see Etsy for sparkly premade ones. Then, arrange a tableaux and keep a digital camera nearby for guests to pose the night away.Etsy: The Manic Moose
NEW YEAR'S EVE TIME CAPSULEThese printable questionnaires and reusable time capsules will entertain the whole family well into the future. Write the answers that apply today and laugh and learn in years to come.Inspired By Familia
BUBBLE WRAP STOMPYou could toast the New Year with bubbly, or you could stomp on a bunch of bubble wrap instead. Buy a big roll in advance, lay it out, and when the countdown is done, stomp! Good luck pretending this one is just for the kids.Flickr: Jon Winters
GOOD LUCK GRAPESThe Spanish tradition of eating twelve grapes at midnight – one for each of the coming months – is a sweet treat for all ages. Kids will enjoy threading the grapes on skewers before the party starts.Flickr: jacinta lluch valero
LETTER TO YOUR FUTURE SELFWhere are you now, and where do you want to be a year from now? Writing a letter to the future gives adults and mature children the opportunity to reflect, dream and set goals for the coming year.Flickr: srsldy
BOARD GAME BONANZAGather your favourite board games and settle in for a night of competition and camaraderie.Flickr: Patrick Q
COUNTDOWN WITH BALLOONSBalloons filled with activity suggestions stay fun long after they’ve been popped. See Inspired By Familia for instructions on making your own fun-filled countdown balloons.Inspired By Familia
NEW YEAR'S PREDICTIONSPrint your own prediction cards and have prizes ready for the silliest and most likely forecasts.Teachers Pay Teachers
MUSICAL COUNTDOWN COMPETITIONMusic lovers – top 40 fans, especially – will enjoy this clever musical countdown competition. Most radio stations count down the top hits of the year; turn it into a game by guessing the year’s number one hit in advance.YouTube
HOMEMADE BALLOON DROPDuct tape, crepe paper and a bunch of balloons are all you need to create a fantastic countdown finale courtesy your very own homemade balloon drop.Flickr: Melissa Eleftherion Carr
NEW YEAR’S EVE FIZZ FUNKids will feel sorry for the adults with their boring champagne once they set off their first round of fizz fun. Find the instructions here, and decide whether you want to set one off every hour before midnight, or save them all to bid this year a very fizzy farewell.Inspired By Familia
SPARKLING CIDER TOASTChampagne is the obvious choice for adult toasts, but kids have plenty of options: ginger ale, homemade punchor sparkling non-alcoholic grape juice or apple cider are all fun to clink and drink.Flickr: Ginny