The Children’s Museum of Atlanta

New Year’s Eve has all the fixings for a true children’s celebration – the chance to stay up past bedtime, toss confetti, sport silly hats and raise a toast. Whether you want to ring in 2020 with your child at a family party or throw a sleepover bash for all his friends, use our ideas for a fun-filled evening.

Table of Contents

Crafts

Noisemaker with a purpose: What makes this craft more fun is to add a time capsule element. Use strong paper bowls or small cardboard plates. Decorate the plates with art materials and write “Happy New Year 2020” on one side. Have your child draw a picture of the family and answer questions about themselves. Tuck this inside before you add a handful of dried beans and staple the plates shut. On New Year’s Eve, let the children shake some noise at midnight. Then, store this away to enjoy past memories at a later date.

Noise rattles: Use two clear plastic cocktail glasses. Have the kids make “rattles” by placing a handful of shiny pennies or colorful beads inside one glass. Place the other glass on top and matching rim-to-rim, tape the two together with colorful plastic tape. You can also use this tape to make stripes around the “rattle” for decoration and add a few festive stickers.

A new use for the Christmas tree: Why not make a “New Year’s Tree” – recycle the old and bring in the new! Take off the holiday ornaments but leave on the lights. With odds and ends, invite the kids to make some New Year’s ornaments for the tree. Think of paper horns, party hats, ribbons, bows and wrapped candy.

Make a resolution box: Decorate a shoebox with colorful paper and let the children decorate as desired. Explain what a “resolution” is and have them or help them write theirs down. Have the kids sign the paper and date it. Add a photo of your child, and include some party items like a hat, horn or confetti. You might want to add the front page of a New Year’s Eve or Day newspaper. Other things you could include are baseball cards, list of goals and a lock of hair. Store these boxes and make this a tradition each year.

Write a 10-year letter: Here’s a fun way for kids to record their thoughts and get the opportunity to eventually revisit their past. Give your child some fancy paper and pen to write a letter that answers a variety of questions about the future: What will you be doing 10 years from now? Where will you be living? Don’t forget to add facts about the present like: favorite subjects, favorite music and so on. Seal these letters and place them in a special hiding place. If your child is 9 today, you might even want to mail this letter to her at college when she’s 19.

Games

Celebrate with bubble wrap: Tape sheets of bubble wrap to a hard floor or driveway. When the New Year’s countdown concludes, have the kids stomp on the bubble wrap to make loud popping sounds.

New Year freeze dancing: Give each child a noisemaker horn. Play some peppy music and while the music is playing the kids can blow their horns. When the music stops, the children freeze and yell “Happy New Year.” This is a fun game, however, it can get very loud!

Hide the clock: An adult hides a ticking clock and has the kids find it. Another fun way is to set the alarm for 5-7 minutes; if the kids don’t find the clock — the alarm will give a loud clue.

The mouse ran up the clock: This game is based on the “Red Light, Green Light” activity. One child is the “Grandfather Clock” and stands with his back to the players (mice). He calls out hours at random, and the mice race to take that number of steps before “Grandfather” turns around. Those who fail return to start. First mouse to “run up the clock” wins.

Décor

Decorate your house with streamers, balloons, Happy New Year banners, and sprinkle the floor with confetti. Hats and noisemakers are a must too. To make the official countdown fun, pull out all ticking and electric clocks and set them for midnight (shift midnight to an earlier hour if you’d like the younger children to have an earlier bedtime).

Food

Lucky New Year food: On New Year’s Day, it’s a tradition in the South to fill up on greens and Hoppin’ John – black-eyed peas and rice, often with onions and bacon mixed in. Some say each pea eaten represents a dollar to be gained in the coming year; for others, the peas symbolize pennies and the greens dollars.

Bake Saint Basil’s cake: In Greece, New Year’s Eve celebrations are not complete without Saint Basil’s cake, or Vassilopitta, into which a gold or silver coin is baked. Another option, available at craft stores, is a small charm in the shape of a baby (representing the New Year). The cake gets cut ceremoniously – one piece for Saint Basil, one for the house, one for the poor and one for each member of the family. The person who finds the coin or charm in their piece carries good luck into the next year.

Edible New Year hats: Have your child spread cream cheese on the outside of a sugar ice cream cone. Next, provide your child with healthy things to decorate the edible hat, such as carrot shavings, raisins and dried cranberries.

Fondue fun: Choose your family’s favorite fruits and sweets and design a colorful platter to serve with your pot of chocolate fondue. Here is the recipe for the fondue and some classic dippers:

  • Ingredients: 12 ounces sweet German chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips or Toblerone chocolate, 1 cup light cream or half and half, 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • Directions: Break the chocolate into pieces and drop them into a saucepan. Add the cream and melt over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is smooth. Add the vanilla extract and stir. Transfer the chocolate sauce to a fondue pot. Using the fondue forks, spear the fruit and sweets, and then dip in the chocolate sauce. Serves 8-10 people.
  • Classic dippers: banana slices, pineapple chunks, whole strawberries, apple slices, kwifruit, star fruit, pear slices, orange sections, pound cake pieces and marshmallows

Events

Ring in the new year at these fun celebrations with balloons, live music, face painting, bubble wrap and more.

Noon Year’s Eve at Fernbank Museum of Natural History. This special celebration will include a countdown to a balloon drop at noon. Dec. 31.

Noon Year’s Eve at The Hotel at Avalon. Partygoers will ring in the new year with live music, face painting, crafts and a balloon drop. Dec. 31.

Noon Year’s Eve Celebration at Renaissance Concourse Airport Hotel. Presented by JJs Playhouse Children’s Museum & Gym, enjoy New Year’s early with kid-friendly activities and a noon countdown. Dec. 31.

Noon Year’s Eve on The Roof, Ponce City Market. Count down to noon with a biodegradable balloon release, entertainers, complimentary snacks for kids, arts and crafts, balloon artists, face painters and more. Dec. 31.

Noon Year’s Eve at Monkey Joe’s. Celebrate the start of a new year with games, prizes, giveaways, jumping fun and a bubble wrap stomp celebration at the noon countdown. Dec. 31.

New Year’s Bubble Bash at Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Ring in the new year with dance, a DJ, games, prizes and bubbles. Dec. 31.

Noon Year’s Eve at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta. Celebrate 2020 with a balloon drop, pictures with LEGO characters and New Year’s Eve trinkets while supplies last. Dec. 31.

New Year’s Eve Bash at The Battery Atlanta. Ring in the new year early with the Early Innings celebration featuring an inflatable ball drop, Atlanta Braves in-game host, Mark Owens, a performance by The Atlanta Spirit Squad and more. Dec. 31.

Kids’ Early New Year’s Eve Celebration at Stone Mountain Park. Fireworks, snowfall and early New Year’s celebration with costumed characters, music and dance-a-longs prior to the 9 p.m. countdown. Dec. 31.

Glow the Night Away Kids Party at Lanier Islands. Kids can ring in 2020 with glowing activities, dinner, activities, games, an apple cider toast and a midnight balloon drop. Dec. 31.

– Tania Cowling

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