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5 Kid-friendly New Year’s celebration ideas

When it comes to bringing in the new year with kids, let’s face it: the rules have changed from your long lost singleton days. Granted, you’re likely not going to get tipsy like you would in those days before you had kids (remember those? Neither do we!) but of course there are creative substitutes (think: apple juice on the rocks) and ways to get into the new year spirit.

Three Girls on New Years Eve

Play dress up

For Laurie Wolk, mom, life coach and writer at, New Year’s Eve is about spending time with her family and creating new traditions. “We call it our favorite night,” she says. After all, Laurie, her husband, six year-old twins and three year-old get dressed up in their favorite outfits, they choose one favorite food and dessert to serve and they do one favorite game or activity. “Charades and freeze dance have made it two years in a row.”

The Wolks aim to do it up as a great way to spend time together and make memories. “We feel that we can go out and celebrate with grown-ups any night of the year and that this one feels special to the kids and makes them feel valued by the fact that we choose to stay home with them on this special evening.”

Get your glam on

As for their New Year’s Eve frocks, Laurie’s husband rocks out to wearing comfy clothes like a pair of Old Navy sweats and his Jets jersey regardless if the team is having a good or bad season. As for her girls? They wear their fanciest party dresses and slippers. “We play beauty parlor and do their hair with a curling iron in wringlets but since they just did Locks for Love and have very short hair, they will wear sparkle headbands. “We put shimmer dust and lip gloss on to finish off the look.”

Her son wears his favorite Adidas sweat pants and Yankees t-shirt. “He goes barefoot. I wear a fancy party dress just like the girls, typically something that I never have an occasion to wear now that I’m a mom of three and work from home. My girls do my hair and make-up.”

New Year’s games

If you want to get creative and fuse family game night with the celebration, just take a cue from Laurie with their scavenger hunt as well. “I made clues of things relating to our family and things that happened this past year. Items such as a class picture, a birthday card, the coin we pressed at the Bronx Zoo.”

Create new kitchen concoctions

While they eat shrimp cocktail, chips and guacamole, sushi and salad with their favorite ginger dressing along with corn muffins (“We know they don’t work with sushi but we love them”), they also bake a Happy New Year’s cake in a different shape each year. “Last year it was in the shape of a smiley face.” And when the clock strikes midnight well, it’s technically too late. They designate 9 pm as the clock striking midnight as they turn on the music and dance!

Seafood Celebration

For Cate O’Malley, a family-friendly New Year’s Eve was the result of um, cough cough, the flu. Years ago when she and her husband were first married, they were both down for the count with the flu. “We ended up forgoing the usual celebrations and stayed in and had a seafood feast, just the two of us.”

While it’s an “obscene amount of food,” she says, it’s something they look forward to all year. Once their son was born it became even more fun. “Who wants to go out and fight the crowds and pay ultra-expensive jacked up prices?”

Word caught on and now the O’Malley’s have an expanded celebration in their very home. They have since extended invites to their closest friends who now turn down all other party invites just for their seafood feast. She adds, “This will be our 10th year celebrating this tradition and we wouldn’t have it any other way.” Comment below! How do you make New Year’s Eve special for your kids?

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