New Year’s Celebrations with Kids

Studio 5 Contributor Kiersten Blanchard has some ideas to celebrate with younger kids.


You could toast Midnight in Miami, New Year’s in New York or Midnight in Maine–each of which falls at 10 P.M. Mountain Time.

Simply plan your gathering to feature menus, decorations and activities suited to the site. To create a Maine ambience, served a seafood buffet. For New York, offer up bagels, soft pretzels and “Big Apple” pie while Broadway musicals played on the VCR. And for Miami, guests may don bathing suits, romp in a hot tub and barbecue amid knee-deep snow.

Here are a couple of ideas for your party in the new time zone
Sample Time Zone: Midnight in MEXICO (reaches midnight at 11:00 Mountain Time)

New Year’s Countdown Box

Find a large colorful box or bowl. Buy several small bags or boxes to fit inside. Fill the small bags with party favors, prizes, or other surprises like the ones listed below. The kids will love opening a new bag every hour (or more frequently) throughout the party. So that the party guests will know when to open which bag, write different times (for example, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., and so on) on the front of each bag–or glue on a paper clock face. The kids may want to set an alarm clock to ring hourly to remind them to open the next bag.

Bag Ideas

7:00 – Inexpensive plastic watches for each guest and a note reading “Time for Fiesta Food”

Activity: With this ultimate countdown party favor, kids will know exactly how close the big moment is. Serve chips and salsa and other Mexican-type appetizers and drinks.

8:00 – A blindfold, an empty plastic bag for each guest, and a note reading “Piñata Time”

Activity: Pull out the blindfold, string up the piñata, and watch the candy fly. This is always a party favorite. Once the piñata is broken, the kids can fill a plastic bag with the contents of the piñata.

8:30 – Mexican Match-Up Game

Activity: This game is a Mexican spin on the old classic Concentration. It is played with homemade cards decorated with pictures (or downloaded clips) of anything to do with Mexico. Remember, you need two of each image. Glue the images onto colored 3 or 4-inch squares cut from card stock, and the deck is ready for a match. The bag can also contain prizes for the winner!

9:00 – Paper party plates, napkins, plastic forks and a note reading “Confetti Cake Time”

Activity: Cake time!!! This cake is made from a confetti cake mix, whipped white frosting and plenty of sprinkles. Decorations include star garland and little sombreros. An adult may need to help slice the cake.

9:30 – Supplies to make maracas

Activity: Have supplies in the bag for each child to make their own noisemaker. You can include decorative scissors, small paper plates, colored card stock, markers, hot glue or stapler, craft stick or tongue depressor, hole punch, curly ribbon, and dried beans or rice

10:00 – Fake moustaches, balloons, and a note reading “Relay Races”

Activity: Have dress-up items like a sombrero, poncho, fake moustache, fan, maracas. Divide into teams. Each team stands in a line several feet from their pile of dress ups and a balloon. One at a time, the children run to the pile, throw the balloon in the air and must keep it in the air while they put on all of the dress ups. If the balloon touches the ground, they must return to the back of the line. The team that successfully rotates through its entire line first wins!!!

10:55 – Confetti rockets, party hats, and a note reading “We’re bubbling over with excitement”

Activity: Distribute the contents of the bag so that everybody is ready to celebrate and make some noise as the alarm clock goes of at 11:00. Don’t forget the maracas they already made. And for some extra pop, pull out some large sheets of bubble wrap to lie out on the floor.

11:00 – (Optional) Party favors

Activity: Thank each child for celebrating with you and give them a party favor as they leave.

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