Making New Year’s Eve Fun for the Little Ones

Celebrating the year gone by, and the brand new year to come, should be something that all the family can enjoy together, young and old. It can seem like a challenge to come up with fun New Year’s Eve games for toddlers and preschoolers, as so many of the good ones revolve around the concept of staying awake well past midnight… and this is not practical or even advisable, for most youngsters.

So, we need to help our little ones to celebrate in more age-appropriate ways that will make sure they feel included in the festivities, and that come bedtime they are not missing out on all the fun!

Here are just a few of our favourite ideas for making New Year’s Eve fun for our younger family members too.

Early Doors Countdown

Having an early or ‘mock’ countdown to ‘midnight’ can be a great idea if the kiddos are too young to see in the new year with the older family members. Make this full of exciting things for them like a ‘countdown game’, fun party snacks, and a special drink as an age-appropriate ‘toast’ to the new year. You can set the countdown to end at a specific time, perhaps a little later than standard bedtime… or, of course, you can reset some special clocks just for the kids. Make sure they all strike midnight a little while before you want them to start winding down for bedtime.

Countdown Games

There are quite a few variations of countdown games for kids that you can find online. For preschoolers, we particularly like the idea of countdown goodie bags (or ballons to pop, for the noise lovers). With the goodie bags, you can fill them with small treats in advance, and whenever your countdown begins, allow your little ones to continue with other activities, but to take a treat every hour (or half hour for smaller treats). You can set alarms on your countdown clocks, which the kids must listen out for, and this also helps young children with their time-telling skills.

Fun and Healthy Party Snacks

Too many sugary foods and drinks can be a worry, especially during the holidays. But fun and attractive food doesn’t need to be processed, calorific, or full of nasty additives. Young children are highly motivated by colours, shapes and textures, and some of the healthiest foods are rich in these properties. So, ensure the table is full of tasty nibbles that the children will love. See our fun snack ideas here and here.

Make a Child-friendly ‘Toast’

However you do the kid’s countdown, allow them an option to ‘toast’ to the new year with a special drink. This can be a plastic champagne flute with your child’s favourite soft drink, and perhaps some child- friendly garnish, such as sliced fruit to decorate the glass. Or if your child prefers a milky drink before bed, you can add a sprinkle of cocoa or a few marshmallows as a celebratory treat.

These little additions to the evening can play a big part in helping our little ones feel included as a valued member of the celebrations. Feeling like they have joined in with all the fun should also help when it comes to laying down those sleepy heads at bedtime, and as parents, we’ll have gained cherished memories and hopefully some great family pictures too.

For Chinese New Year’s Arts & Crafts, see here.

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