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Family Countdown: 10 ideas for how to do New Year's Eve with kids

Penny Alexander

21 December 2017

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3 minutes
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New Year’s Eve with kids can be magical, it just takes a little planning to lift an ordinary evening at home into something they will beg for again the next year. Making New Year at home special can seem daunting, but after chatting to my friends about what they do, it’s definitely the little things and the time spent together that kids remember best.

Plan it jointly and everyone will be able to relax, and over time the kids will be the ones running the show!

Happy New Year headband

Here are my top 10 ideas for how to do New Year's Eve at home with kids:

  1. Karaoke time!

    My friend Louise swears by Singstar, her kids really enjoy a singalong. Kids love it, and grown-ups find it a surprisingly therapeutic way to see out the year too.

    Little girl in sunglasses with a microphone

  2. Disco lights

    Disco lights don't have to be expensive but they can be a whole lot of fun. Make a playlist as a family, with something for everyone, and have a good old boogie together. Throw in some games like musical bumps and statues for younger kids. Maybe even have some prizes.

  3. Home Cinema

    Make tickets, put popcorn and treats in bags, dim the lights, let the kids be ushers and snuggle down with a movie. My friend Elinor recommends celebrating with other families and ‘Making one room a big squishy den with films or games so if they do fall asleep it doesn’t matter, go in a give them a big hug or blow them a Happy New Year kiss and carry on with the party in another room.'

    Three kids in a homemade den made from blankets

  4. Favourite foods

    Get everyone to choose something they would like to eat. You could even design a menu for the evening and cook up a feast together.

  5. Make a wishing tree

    Write your wishes for the year on luggage tags or cut out stars, hole punch them and tie with ribbon. You could hang them on the Christmas tree and put them away with the decorations and see if they come true. Or make a tree or display to hang all year. My friend Becky keeps her family’s yearly wishes in a shoe box, what a lovely memory box!

    A girl hanging paper on a wishing tree

  6. Dress Up

    My friend Helena sends everyone to get dressed up before dinner, interpreting it whatever way they see fit. ‘Everyone goes into their rooms just before tea time and gets WELL poshed up! It's always so exciting to see what on earth people will come out in. We've had everything from Velvet tuxes and dickie bows, to crazy coloured hair!!’

  7. Little traditions

    The strange little customs are the things kids come to crave and remember about New Year. They will be the ones demanding Auld Lang Sign, the Hokey-Cokey and a Can-Can around the garden in years to come. My kids were fascinated by the mystery Scottish stranger visiting our next door neighbours who came to first foot one year. To ensure good luck for the house the first foot, or the first person over the door after midnight, should be a tall dark-haired male (so the legend says) and he should bring with him symbolic pieces of coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and a wee dram of whisky.

  8. Fireworks

    Fireworks or a fire pit can be a magical way to end the year if handled carefully. Sometimes we use it as an opportunity to burn all the things we haven't got round to shredding, or each write down a wish and set fire to it and watch it spiral off into the universe. You could also have s’mores to seal the new deal too, marshmallows toasted and sandwiched between two chocolate digestives.

    Roasting marshmallows over a fire

  9. Game night

    One year we each picked one board game we wanted to play each and it made for a perfect evening of quality family bonding time and giggles. There are so many great games that are guaranteed to bring the family together - we had a lovely mix of strategy, physical, creative and wordplay.

    A boy playing Jenga

  10. Make your own drinks menu

    Make special celebratory drinks with important sounding names. Let them indulge in some mocktail making to ensure everyone has a special drink at midnight, or whatever time you decide to declare midnight ;) Cocktail parasols, cherries and special straws add to the celebratory magic.

Wishing you and yours a great night and a truly magical 2018. Let us know what you get up to in a comment below!

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Penny Alexander

21 December 2017

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Penny Alexander is a multi-award winning travel blogger and writer, passionate about UK travel and loves to help families find their perfect escape. Penny is one of our much loved Trusted Explorers, which means all content has been written exclusively for dayoutwiththekids.co.uk in exchange for a contribution to their family piggy bank. All posts are first hand, honest and based on real experiences.

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