Fun Ways To Spend New Year’s Eve With kids

Remember New Year’s Eve celebrations when you were young and free of parental responsibilities? Fast forward to now … even if you have the stamina and energy to party on into the new year, the chances of finding a babysitter for New Year’s Eve are slim to none.

Just because your responsibilities take priority, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still celebrate the arrival of the New Year – and sometimes we need a bit of a celebration to see the back end of a hard year! Here are a few ideas to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the kids.

Throw your own New Year’s Eve party

Keep the celebrations at home and avoid all the crowds. Put on a spread of finger foods for the guests, or better yet, ask everyone to bring a plate or fire up the BBQ. Set up a few fun party games for the kids (and adults!), offer some fun photo props and just enjoy each other’s company. If you’re inviting other families with children, ensure there is somewhere safe for them to crash out when the hours start to tick by and it all gets too much. Remember to drink responsibly and ensure that all guests have safe transport home.

Make it a special movie night

Choose a favourite film or discover a new release for a fun family movie night – don’t forget the popcorn! If the weather cooperates, you could even take the film outdoors and set up a sheet and projector in the garden with bean bags for moviegoers. Try some other munchable movie snacks.

Have a games night

Break out the board games and cards for some quality time with the kids. Try a variety of games like simple dice games, Jenga, charades, go fish and Mousetrap. Or for the older kids, get set for an epic game of Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit. Break out a few snacks and pop on some favourite music in the background.

Create a family time capsule

Capture those happy memories from the year that was. Ask each family member to contribute a few items, drawings or photos to create a family time capsule. To make a digital time capsule, video each family member talking about some of their favourite memories from the year.

Sparklers, hot chocolate and stars

If you have some sparklers leftover from your Guy Fawkes celebrations, New Year’s Eve is the ideal opportunity to use them up. Kids love to twirl them in the air, ‘writing’ their names. If your photography skills are up to it, you can even get a fantastic family photo with everyone drawing a letter of a favourite word, ie LOVE. Pull the last of those Christmas crackers, serve up some hot chocolate outside and gaze up at the stars while you recount favourite memories.

Camp out

Even if you’re not going away, you can still have the fun of camping. Put up the tent in the backyard, toast marshmallows on the brazier, tell spooky stories, play spotlight and other outdoor night games.

Check out what’s on

Local councils often put on family-friendly New Year’s Eve events featuring fireworks, music, outdoor movies or entertainment. Some even have a special fireworks show a few hours before midnight so the little ones don’t miss out when they can’t quite keep their eyes open long enough to see in the new year. Go prepared with blankets, snacks and drinks (check for restrictions on what you can and can’t bring along). Check with your local council website for events.

Here’s a list of regular New Year’s Eve events in some of NZ’s cities. We have updated the list with the latest information to hand.

Written by Kidspot NZ.

How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve with your kids?


  1. SarahBlair 31/12/2017 at 8:05 pm

    What a lot of great ideas, we are watching Cars 3 while my husband and I are sipping on a beer each. When it’s dark we will go and look at the stars then put the littlies into bed while we stay up with the teenagers. (It is Dec 31st tonight) We have a bottle of bubbles for us to toast and Sparkling Grape Juice for the teens. Happy New Year Everyone!

  2. Angelgirl081 30/12/2017 at 10:21 am

    I never even thought about these. We have a whole box of sparklers so we might do that with the kids. Last new years I was heavily pregnant so I don’t even think we did anything and pretty sure I was in bed before midnight hahaha. I really wanted to go out this year but both my parents (read babysitters hahaha) are away this year, so it will just be something at home with my girls this year. Maybe a movie and something yummy for tea.

  3. felicity beets 29/12/2017 at 10:04 pm

    outdoor movie night and camping at home sound like awesome ideas for the family and easy to do as you do not have to go anywhere.

  4. felicity beets 29/12/2017 at 10:04 pm

    outdoor movie night and camping at home sound like awesome ideas for the family and easy to do as you do not have to go anywhere.

  5. Bevik1971 28/12/2017 at 1:47 pm

    All great ideas – our 5 year old is usually in bed at 7am as she’s up between 6 and 7am regardless of what time she goes to sleep haha. We are off to Methven this new year to meet up with family, we are staying in a hotel right beside the Mum-in-laws place so we will put her to bed and then carry her home after the festivities 🙂

  6. Mands1980 23/12/2017 at 11:04 am

    We usually have a few people over and everyone brings their own drinks/ food. The last few years we have done sparklers but that depends on weather as can be very dry and we sometimes have fire bans on so too risky with fireworks as well. The kids love it though as they get to stay up late and have lots of fun.

  7. kymmage 22/12/2017 at 6:27 pm

    We will often throw or own party, and we save some sparklers for the occasion from Guy Fawkes. We have a BBQ and put music on and eat snacks and talk about the year. This year we might go to our local pub. They are having a family fun afternoon which sounds good.

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