New Year’s Eve should be exciting for both adults and kids. Ring in the New Year by playing various games with children using the holiday as their theme. Play a different game each hour to help the kids count down to midnight, or hold an early “mock” New Year’s countdown just for the kids after the games are through.
Dress up Games
Fill a large box with boys’ and girls’ dress up games, such as feather boas, hats, glasses, belts, cowboy vests, pirate gear and footwear. Arrange the kids in a circle with a board-game spinner in the middle. Spin the spinner. The child it points to puts on one item of clothing and sits out for the rest of the spins until each child picks one item. Then, start over and keep playing until each child visits the box four or five times. Show the kids off in a parade with noisemakers.
Buy various party noisemakers, hats, glasses and favors and one slightly more expensive child’s gift, like a basket of activities or board game. Record each item’s name on a separate strip of paper, and crumple the strips into small balls. Write “Happy New Year!” on the strip for the “bigger” prize. Stuff the paper balls into separate balloons, blow them up and tie them. Have each child pop one balloon on each hour until midnight. Give each child the prize written on his strip of paper.
Fill a jar with candy, noisemakers, pencils, bubbles, plastic rings and party favors. Note how many items are in the jar. Add plenty of New Year’s confetti to obscure the items. Write down one number-guess per child of how many items are inside, disregarding the confetti pieces. Toward the end of the night, award the jar and its contents to the child with the closest guess.
Form trivia questions about television shows and songs popular with children throughout the past year. Make simple questions like “Name this pictured movie character.” Break the kids into two teams. Take turns asking questions to two kids at a time (one from each team). The first child to answer correctly earns his team a point. You can also play charades. Record the names of movies, songs and television shows popular with children in the past year on separate strips of paper. Break the kids into two teams. Take turns having children blindly select paper strips and act out their words to their teammates within an allotted time. The winning team guesses the most answers correctly.
Pull each child aside and have her write down her New Year’s resolution on a strip of paper. Keep a separate list for reference. Resolutions can be anything children want to do in the coming year, like go skiing or learn multiplication tables. There may be duplicates. Fold the strips and place them into a bowl. Take turns having each child select a resolution and guess its owner. If incorrect, place the resolution back into the bowl. If correct, the child keeps the paper. Keep playing until the bowl is empty. The winner holds the most strips.