8 Ways to Celebrate New Year's Eve with a Toddler

Ring in the New Year early with these kid-friendly ideas.

No one wants to deal with the aftermath of keeping a toddler up until midnight to watch the ball drop -- let's be honest, you probably don't have any intention of staying up until midnight either -- but it’s still fun to treat a toddler to a celebration or special day to ring in the new year regardless. Here eight ways to celebrate New Year's Eve with your toddler.

Get festive.

Credit: Roberto Muñoz

Even if you’re not going to hit the town for a night out, there’s no reason you can’t dress up, break out the noisemakers, and don fancy party hats. Toddlers love trinkets and will get a kick out of anything that makes noise. 

Prepare party food.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, but New Year's Eve day is the perfect time to do a cooking project with your toddler. Try making finger sandwiches, dips with veggie sticks, or colorful platters of fruit. You can also bake cookies or bread -- a toddler will be happy to be your kitchen assistant regardless of the project. 

Have a dance party.

Toddlers love to bust a move, and nothing says ‘party’ like an upbeat playlist. A few kid-friendly and fun songs to get you and your little one in the spirit include: Happy by Pharrell Williams; I Gotta Feeling by The Black-eyed Peas; and (of course) Let It Go from Disney’s Frozen.

Treat the family to a slideshow.

New Year's Eve is the perfect time to remember the year gone by. Prepare a slideshow of photos from the previous year and talk about the highlights. This is also a great time to talk about what your toddler wants to do in the new year. 

Get out of the house.

If your family is able to spend the day together, New Year's Eve Day is a great time to plan a fun family outing. Hit a local children's museum or an indoor waterpark. Or, catch the last day of a holiday light display at your local zoo -- it's a fun and festive way to cap off the season. 

Tackle a craft or art project.

Tackle a craft project with your toddler on New Year's Eve Day. Try making a book of memories or a collage using photos from the past year. You can also make your own noisemakers or party hats. If crafting isn't your thing, print off some New Year's coloring pages. 

Countdown early.

Toddlers don’t yet understand the concept of time, so you can celebrate ‘midnight’ at any time you want. ‘Noon Years,’ i.e., celebrating the turn of the year at noon on December 31, has become a popular way to ring in the new year, but you can pick any time you want. What is important is that you make a big deal out of the countdown.

Drop some balloons.

A balloon drop will bring your toddler New Year’s celebration to the next level – and it’s as easy to do as stuffing a garbage bag full of balloons and dumping them out at the end of your big countdown. Or, if you're ambitious, you could rig a sheet to the ceiling that holds all of the balloons. Be careful though: Balloons can be a choking hazard for kids and pets. Just make sure you are keeping a close eye on the fun. 

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