Family Games

13 Kid-Friendly Activities to Ring in the New Year

By: Amanda Mushro
Two boys and a girl covered in confetti and holding Happy New Year signs.
For All Ages
Creativity
Curiosity
Science
Social Emotional

Highlights has you covered when it comes to New Year’s Eve ideas for children, from games and treats to crafts and STEM projects. Even if the kids don’t make it to midnight, they will have a blast with these kid-friendly New Year’s Eve activities for families. 

Balloon Countdown

Create a New Year’s Eve countdown by writing all the party activities on small pieces of paper. Blow up 12 balloons and put one activity inside each balloon. As the party progresses, kids pop balloons to see what the next activity will be. 

NYE Resolutions 

Use this Highlights New Year's Resolutions printable to talk about the best parts of the past year and set goals for the year ahead.  

Confetti Popper

This craft is perfect for when the ball drops (even if that happens before midnight at your house). Find the directions for confetti poppers here and use whatever supplies you already have at home to make this festive craft.

Glowing Dance Party

Break out a bunch of glowsticks, turn up the music and turn down the lights. Kids can have their own glow-in-the-dark dance party to ring in the new year.

Cookies and Milk Drink

Kids can make their own fancy and sweet drink to celebrate by dipping the rim of a cup in whipped topping, rolling the rim in crushed cookies and filling the cup with milk.

Custom Party Hats

Give kids gold or silver party hats and plenty of extra crafting supplies so they can personalize their own party hats for the night.

Popcorn Buffet

If your little party goers need to take a break from the festivities to watch a movie, let them snack on popcorn. But give it a fun New Year’s Eve spin by serving it up with small pieces of candy, cookies and other sweets mixed in.

Building Brick Ball Drop

Put those building skills to the test and have kids create midnight ball drops out of building bricks. Use a golf ball and different sized bricks to see how many different versions of the ball drop they can make. 

Glitter Playdough

On New Year's Eve, everything should sparkle — even the playdough. With just a few ingredients (get the recipe here) and a little glitter, kids can make their own batch of glitter playdough.

Game Night Until Midnight

Turn your celebration into a family game night with a few rounds of your favorite board games. Keep things moving by letting everyone choose a game to play. 

NYE Banner

Let the kids create the party decorations by making a New Year’s Eve banner. Hang up a large sheet of paper and let the kids color and draw on all over the banner. 

Dress Up/Dress Down

Encourage everyone to put on their fanciest outfit to celebrate the new year or and tell everyone to wear their favorite pajamas to the party. Then have a fashion show where everyone shows off their style. 

Year-in-Review Movie

Record everyone in your family sharing their favorite moments of the past year and describing what their resolutions will be for the upcoming year. This sweet activity is also a great keepsake for years to come.