So you want to do a New Year countdown with kids and have some New Year fun? We have the best New Years countdown ideas, party games, and New Year’s Eve party ideas for families that are fun for all ages—so unique you’ve probably never thought of them!
Want to know how to celebrate new year at home with kids and still have a ton of fun? Try these fantastic kid-friendly New Year’s Eve party at home ideas and activities for New Year!
Perfect if you’re wondering how to celebrate New Year with friends who have kids or need some fun New Year’s event ideas!
First, here are New Year’s event ideas…
How Do Families Celebrate New Years Eve?
What do you do with kids on New Years?
Here are 17 New Year activities to do with kids on New Year’s Eve:
- Have a New Year countdown party.
- Have a fake New Year countdown, especially if you have little ones. (Yep! It’s a thing!)
- Lead a nighttime nature hike.
- Have a movie night (don’t forget the popcorn!).
- Do an indoor obstacle course.
- Make some hot chocolate and go on a Christmas lights drive.
- Host a glow dance party! (We did this and it was a HUGE hit!)
- Play New Year’s truth or dare.
- Have a gingerbread house or cookie decorating contest. (Don’t forget to give prizes!)
- Have a craft or scrapping New Year’s Eve party. (Have the kids bring pictures of things they’ve done over the past year.)
- Create a Bucket List of items for the new year.
- Make a time capsule of memorable events over the last year
- Plan some service projects for the new year.
- Learn about the History of New Year celebrations.
- Hire a babysitter to watch the kids in the basement while the adults are upstairs. (Bonus if you make it a super casual pajama party for everyone that way kids can go straight into bed when they get home.)
- Throw a board game party and play some New Year games for family! (There are plenty of great new years eve family games–check out our three-part best games list!)
- Have a toasty bonfire and make smores and a hot chocolate bar.
- Have a sleepover. (Get some great sleepover ideas!)
Now that we’ve covered New Year’s eve activities you can do with kids on New Year’s Eve, here are awesome New Year countdown ideas New Years activities—something for everyone and all ages!
12 Creative New Year Countdown Ideas for Kids
Here are 12 ideas for New Year’s Eve activities to countdown to the New Year.
Pick one of these for your New Year’s activity and have a blast with the kids!
1. Follow the New Year countdown on your favorite channel and play New Year’s Eve bingo!
This is one of those easy, but fun, New Year’s party activities!
All you do is tune into your favorite New Year countdown channel and play Bingo!
Grab these super cool, ready-made New Year’s Eve Bingo cards set for everyone.
You can also make your own new years eve bingo printable using free programs like Pixabay.com (for the clipart) and PicMonkey.com (for creating the bingo card template). Just remember to vary the placement of the items so everyone has different cards!
And the great thing about a New Year bingo game? All ages will have fun with it!
You can make it a fun a competition by providing some fun prizes to winners (gift cards, trinkets, gag gifts, etc.)
2. Do a fake New Year countdown.
If you’re wondering, “What can toddlers do on New Years Eve?” or what about your little ones who will never make it to midnight, then this tip is for you!
Do a fake New Year’s Eve countdown (mock New Year’s countdown)!
You can do it all on your own (use your phone countdown timer) or Netflix has a fake New Year’s Eve countdown you can pull up on your TV or device. This allows you to do a countdown with your kids anytime before midnight!
Don’t forget your party countdown pack!
3. Create a new year countdown clock for different time zones.
This is one of those fun New Year activities for kids if they have friends or relatives across the country or around the world.
Set up different clocks and timers so that you can celebrate the new year as it hits in different time zones.
This is also a great cultural studies opportunity. For example, if your child is interested in China, read books about China, find a place streaming when it hits the New Year in China so you can watch the festivities, provide some traditional Chinese dishes, and even learn about the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations (which happens after the American New Year celebrations).
4. Pop countdown balloons.
Now this is a SUPER fun New Year countdown idea where you use balloons as your hourly count down.
Decide on what time you want to start the countdown. For example, if you’re starting your party at 5 p.m., you will need one balloon for each hour until midnight. (So, eight balloons for this example.)
In each balloon, place an activity, a fun fact, or a scavenger hunt clue.
Then, on each hour, pop the balloons and do the activity or read the fun fact (or whatever you want to put in them)!
5. Use New Year countdown poppers.
I love those party poppers! (STILL! And I’m OLD!)
Well, you don’t have to just do the poppers at the event time. Have you ever thought about using them as New Year countdown activities?
To do this, you provide one popper per guest for each hour of the countdown. Then, when it’s 9 p.m. (or whenever you start your countdown), everyone pops the first popper. At 10 p.m., they pop the second popper … and so on until midnight.
6. Complete countdown activity bags.
Activity bags are a great way to keep kids busy throughout New Year’s Eve!
Each hour until midnight, you give each kid an activity bag and they can be be as inexpensive as you want. The trick is to use something that will keep them (mostly) busy until the next activity pack.
Here are some ideas for New Year countdown activity bags:
- Coloring pages and personal crayon packs.
- Individual Lego or building blocks packs. (I love this inexpensive animal building block 12 pack!)
- Games or packs of playing cards (think: Old Maid, Go Fish!, etc.). (You can get a card game pack for CHEAP!)
- Parachute People (These provide HOURS of entertainment when we have kids over. They go upstairs and throw them over the balcony and see who can get closest to the bullseye they’ve drawn on a paper.)
Those are a few examples, but use your imagination!
7. Have a New Year countdown scavenger hunt … hour by hour.
This is one of those fun New Year’s eve games that party attendees of all ages can get in on and have fun!
Just create a scavenger hunt for a prize that everyone can enjoy. (Maybe it’s the party hats and streamers for midnight!)
Each hour, the group gets a new scavenger hunt clue to try to find in the house (or wherever you’re having your party). For example, maybe your first clue is something like, “Brrr! It’s cold in here. Be sure to find me before the new year!” and it’s hidden in the refrigerator.
Then, the clue in the refrigerator is in an envelope marked CLUE #2: OPEN ME AT 10 p.m. (or an hour after they opened the first clue, whatever time that is at your party). Continue until they are opening the last one just before midnight with a clue to the countdown party pack or a special treat (or whatever you want to give as group prize).
8. Make a New Year countdown chain.
You know those craft paper chains you made in preschool? Well, they make cool New Year countdown activities, too.
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut fun patterned or colored paper into about 1 inch strips.
- On each strip, write the time that the activity will be performed. (For example: 7 p.m. on one strip, 8 p.m. on another, 9 p.m. … until midnight.)
- By the time on each strip, write an activity. For example one strip may be: 7 p.m.: Have a dance party. On another strip: 8 p.m.: Do the craft (and provide a craft). 9 p.m.: Sing karaoke. Make one for each hour time slot–starting around the time the party starts until midnight. You may want the one at midnight to be something like POP THE POPPERS! or BLOW THE HORNS!
- You can either glue the chain together OR (my favorite way) but the strips of paper in envelopes with the times on them. On the hour (of each hour), let the kids open the corresponding time envelope, do the activity and then use a glue stick to glue the new link onto the chain. At the end of the evening, they have completed a paper chain of all the activities they’ve done for that evening. Be sure to make a chain with the year on it to add to the end. Each year you’ll have a reminder of what you did that year. (You can use it for the Christmas tree or to decorate for the next New Year’s party!)
9. Play family games for New Years Eve countdown.
Playing family games for New Years is fun because you can switch to a new game every hour as you countdown or even have a game tournament and when the clock strikes midnight, the person ahead in the game is the winner!
Some of our favorite New Year’s Eve / party and family games include:
- Deer In The Headlights
- Payday (Yep! Rockin’ old school up in here!)
- Exploding Kittens
What’s the New Year’s resolution game?
You may have heard some people talk about the New Years Resolution Game.
This is another one of those New Year’s games for kids and adults alike.
The New Years Resolution Game is a game like Mad Libs where you have someone plug in words without knowing the sentence.
All ages can play (even little ones). They may not know what an adjective is, but you can say, “Describe something like soft, blue, (etc.).”
You can also just play different Mad Lib stories!
(Do you have favorite New Year family games? Let us know so we can add it to the list and recommend it to others here!)
10. Do a craft station countdown!
If you have a party group who loves crafting, set up craft or scrapbooking stations for each hour (where they change to a different station when the hour is up).
And, the projects don’t have to be expensive!
Make a drawing station.
Make a coloring page station.
Create snowflakes at one station.
Get a craft pack and make one station a “Free Art” station to make whatever they want!
Maybe the last hour (11 pm station) they make party hats or party poppers!
11. Countdown around countries.
Set up stations/tables for different countries.
Provide facts about that country, travel tips, a word to learn, a book to read about that country (bonus if it’s a book about how the country celebrates New Year or the holidays!), play traditional games from that area, and even a couple of dishes to try from that country.
(You can buy cookies or dishes, you don’t have to make them!)
Each hour, people rotate to a new country and learn something new!
At midnight, the country table can be America (or wherever you’re located) with traditional food and party items.
You can even do this with different states within America.
REMEMBER: You can start the countdown at whatever time you like. So if your party starts at 6 p.m., maybe people mingle until 7 or 8 p.m. and then you start the countdown rotations then.
12. Do a kindness countdown!
Want to have fun counting down to the new year AND help others? Then, the kindness countdown is for you!
You set up stations and people rotate after every hour.
- One station may be decorating backpacks or bags that will be filled with food for kids in need later.
- Another station could be writing letters or designing cards for military personnel overseas.
- Yet another station could be drawing pictures that the group can deliver to a local nursing home later.
- Make an easy and inexpensive bird feeder or popcorn and fruit garland to give back to nature.
- Or, you can create kindness rocks that will be placed during future nature hikes.
OR, a ton of other activities that will help others!
What are your favorite New Year party activities for families or New Years Eve games for kids?