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. But 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.
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 or take a look at some of the events we found:
- Auckland – Wondergarden
- Rotorua GLO Festival
- Great Lake Taupo’s Big Bang
- Wellington City celebrations at Frank Kitts Park
- Christchurch City – New Years Eve
- Queenstown & Wanaka New Year’s Eve celebrations
- Dunedin – New Year’s Eve Octagon concert
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
Don’t just pop in a DVD and much on some popcorn for a fun family movie night. If the weather co-operates, you could even take the film outdoors and set up a sheet and projector in the garden with bean bags for moviegoers. Don’t forget some 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 left over 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 name. 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.
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.
How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve with your kids?