You are allowed to be human with your kids.
New Year's Eve is quickly approaching, and if you are like me, this holiday normally takes you by surprise. While New Year's is often associated with parties, loud music, and staying up until midnight, there are many fun, safe activities for kids, allowing them to celebrate too. Whether you are a parent, an aunt or uncle, or just want to have some fun yourself, these activities are perfect for the New Year:
1. Create a Time Capsule
One fun and safe New Year activity for the kiddos is creating a time capsule. Within your family, there are boundless untold stories that you can share in your time capsule. Children can take a photograph of each member of the family and then you can take a photograph of the children. After each photograph has been taken, write a bio about each person on the back of the photograph. Include information such as their name, age, and favorite things. You can list their favorite activities, such as if they enjoy drawing, writing, or playing a sport. In addition to this information, add in any awards, accomplishments, or achievements your child has received this year. Even if your child has not received any recognitions this year, you can create an award for your child. “Kindness award” or “Being a good friend” can be awards you can present to your child to place in the time capsule.
It is also important to include key items from your child’s year in the time capsule. A homemade bracelet, a pencil they used where they got a 100 on a test, or a baseball cap are all good ideas. Older kids, younger kids, and adults can all easily become interested and involved in this activity. My family and I made a time capsule when I was 14 years old and we buried it in the backyard. We made a note to ourselves not to open the capsule until we were 100 years old. Whether we will be alive at 100 years old or in the physical health to unearth the capsule, only time can tell. However, creating the time capsule, burying the time capsule, and drawing a map of how to discover the capsule was a thrilling experience. I remember in my family’s time capsule, I put in a “Kooky pen,” which was my favorite thing when I was 14. We included photographs of each of my siblings and me, as well as our parents and our Scottish Terrier/Beagle mix dog, Beauty. If I’m being honest, the majority of the photographs were of Beauty, but we could not help ourselves—Beauty was just that cute. We each wrote a letter to our future selves; however, I don’t quite remember what I wrote to myself all those years ago. (I doubt my sisters recall their letter to themselves either.) Having your child write a letter to their future self could also be a great addition to your time capsule.
Do not forget to include a map to the final destination of your buried time capsule. Choose a place that is not too rocky (like my sister and I did) as the rocks can make it quite difficult to dig. It is better to choose a soft patch of land right after a good rain as the rain will soften up the soil nicely. As a parent or other trusted adult, you will need to help the kiddos with the digging unless they are old enough to dig the hole by themselves. Younger kids can help scoop dirt out of the way while at the same time being safe.
Creating a time capsule is the perfect activity for the New Year. It is safe, fun, and will provide memories to reflect on for the future.
2. Grab Some Countdown Bags
Countdown bags are another option for children of all ages. Purchase 5 brown bags (lunch paper bags will be perfect) and write each hour beginning at 8 p.m. on the front of the bag. As an example, write 8 p.m. on the first bag, 9 p.m. on the second bag, 10 p.m. on the third bag, 11 p.m. on the fourth bag, and 12 a.m. on the fifth bag. Inside each bag, put a notecard with a game to play, a treat, or a surprise. The options are endless. As a starter, you could place a card inside the 8 p.m. bag that says “Play charades” and therefore, you and your kids could play charades from 8-9 p.m. At 9 p.m., it will be time to open the next bag.
Inside the next bag could be a card that says “Karaoke Hour.” From 9-10 p.m., you and your kids could play karaoke. Let your kids pick some songs and you can pick some too—just make sure all songs are family-friendly. Christian music and Disney songs are great options, although I don’t think your kids would mind if you wanted to sing a Taylor Swift song to get the party started such as “New Year’s Day.” At 10 p.m. will be the genesis of a new hour, in which you could include a tasty treat. Prepping cookies in a bag or homemade cookies in Ziploc baggies could be the perfect addition to your New Year celebration. Once 11 p.m. hits it will be time to open the second-to-last bag. Inside this bag, you can include a “Reflection Hour.” Within this hour, you and your kids could reflect on the highlights and low points of the year. Ask your kids what you can do to help the ensuing year go better or ask them how you can be more supportive of them during the upcoming year. Be vulnerable with your kids and be honest with your own worries and struggles. You are allowed to be human with your kids. The reflection hour can help parents and children relate to one another on deeper levels and offer ways of support, encouragement, and help.
The final bag will be opened at 12 a.m., which will mark the new start to the New Year! In this bag, include party hats and kazoos for your kids to wear and blow when the clock strikes midnight. Shortly after midnight, it will be time for bedtime, as I’m sure all the little munchkins will be ready to board the night train to dreamland. I’m an adult and I’ll be lucky if I make it to 12 midnight! If you fall asleep during any of the countdown hours, don’t sweat it. Your kids or spouse will wake you up in time to wear a hat and blow a kazoo!
3. Host a Movie Night
A final safe and fun activity for you to do with your kids this year is to host a movie night. This is a low-key activity that does not take much energy or preparation. For your movie night, you could let your kids pick out the movies, you could pick out the movies, or a mix of the two. Several good options include, “Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year” or “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year.” Include popcorn, snacks, and cookies at your movie night. Offer a good variety of options. Be prepared ahead of time to include these items at your New Year’s movie night. (This option is also perfect in case there is stormy weather or cold weather.)
No matter which activity you choose to do this year with your kids, it is sure to be a blast! Maybe one of the three ideas I listed above sounds good, or maybe you have a few of your own. Be creative in your ideas and even ask your kids for their ideas. Children have millions of ideas streaming through their heads each day and they might have the perfect idea for a New Year activity.
Happy New Year’s everyone!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages-IrisImages
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.