Family Friendly New Year's Games & Activities

Cheers to the New Year Princes!
Cheers to the New Year Princes! | Source

What is a Noon Day Party?

This is actually soemthing I learned just before New Year's in 2015. Noon Day Parties are parties for kids to enjoy the fun of New Year's without staying up all night. On New Year's Eve or New Year's Day the kids meet before noon and celebrate in their own kid appropriate way. Then at 11:59AM they count down to 12PM.

If celebrated on New Year's Day, a replay of the ball dropping the night before could be played for them.

Normally my husband and I go to visit friends and either get a babysitter or put the kids to sleep at our friend's house, but for 2015 we really wanted to let them be a part of the celebration.

Here are some activities I did with the boys on New Year's Eve. Julian is 4 and Blaze is 2, so these activities would be good for preschoolers--though I'm sure older kids would have fun doing them too. The time capsules, letters, and videos would probably be more fun for and easier to accomplish with older kids anyway.

We let the boys stay up until midnight (Juju made it, Blaze did not), but all of these activities could be done at a Noon Day Party as well.

Juju and Blaze playing with their confetti play dough.
Juju and Blaze playing with their confetti play dough. | Source

Confetti Play Dough

I used PBS' No-Bake Play Dough Recipe to make the play dough for the boys. I only changed a few things. Instead of food colouring, I used Kool-Aid and instead of glitter I used confetti.

The boys loved it! But I have two regrets. First, I let the boys choose the colour of the play dough and they decided on red. Combined with the confetti, the pinky red colour of the play dough made it look with they were playing with dirty chop meat. Yuck. I would highly recommend using a different colour or no colour at all. My second regret is that I started out using one recipe and then switched midway through so the clay was a bit messier than it was supposed to be. Don't be foolish like me. Just use this recipe.

Bake

I love backing with my boys. It's one of our go-to activities when I'm home on the weekends. It's a fun way to teach them about math, particularly fractions and measurement. Sometime I divide up the measurement to teach them more. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon, I might give them 1/2 Tablespoon to use or even 1/8 and we will discuss how many we need to get the correct measurement.

Baking is also good for sparking an interest in science and experimentation. We talk about the colour and texture of things, how our mixtures change when different things our added, how things change when they are put in the oven, etc. I always leave the oven light on so they can watch their creations transform.

We just made Pillsbury Funfetti cupcakes with frosting and sprinkles, but here are a couple of ideas that may be more fun.

I can never get these boys to stand still for a photo anymore....
I can never get these boys to stand still for a photo anymore.... | Source

Pipe Cleaner Crowns

These are really fun and easy to make, no matter what your artistic skill level is. All you have to do is make a ring with two pipe cleaners that fits around the head, then work the piper cleaners all around into a crown shape. I helped my boys make theirs while they made pipe cleaner figurines.

Neon colours were all I could find at the dollar store, but I really wanted sparkly ones so we could make crowns that looked like fireworks. I'll plan better next time!

DIY Photo Booth

This was an activity we actually didn't get to do for lack of time and poor preparation (boo Mommy). However, it is something I still really want to do and intend to do in the future either for New Year's or some other party.

I had planned to use my MacBook, since it comes with the PhotoBooth app installed, but pictures could easily be taken with a smartphone or a camera on a tripod.

Messages to the Future

As a kid I loved to write letters to myself, seal them up, and write dates far in the future for them to be opened. Then I would hide them away so I wouldn't think about them. It was always fun (and often time embarrassing) to open them up and read them in the future. I would talk about my likes, my dislikes, and my plans for the future. This has often been motivation for me to get back into the things I wanted to do in past OR has been a source of laughter over the ridiculousness of my ambitions. Either way, it is a tradition I would like to pass on to my boys.

Since the boys don't know how to write yet, I wanted to do videos of them talking about themselves. I thought it would be cute to show them in another 5 to 10 years. However, they weren't being particularly cooperative at the time, so this project is currently on hold.

Yes, I blew all of these up by myself.  Yes, it was as exhausting as it sounds.  Next year, I'm investing in an air pump!
Yes, I blew all of these up by myself. Yes, it was as exhausting as it sounds. Next year, I'm investing in an air pump!
Our balloon net hovering over our living room couch.
Our balloon net hovering over our living room couch.

DIY Balloon Drop

This was the activity they were most excited about, especially Julian.

To create a DIY balloon drop you will need:

  • two sheets of fabric (we used some window curtains that we no longer use)
  • cheap duct tape or masking tape
  • balloons
  • confetti (if you don't mine cleaning up the mess after)

I would also highly recommend an air pump of some sort. I blew up at least 50 balloons by myself. It was not fun.

First, you should decide on where your balloon drop will be, if you have low ceilings it could be right in the living room or by the TV while you watch the countdown. We live in a lofted apartment so it would be impossible for us to reach the ceiling. I situated our balloon drop in the corner of our upstairs wall.

Now to set up the net. Line the two pieces of fabric together and place duct tape down the seam. When you've finished taping them together create a long duct tape tail that someone standing on the floor will be able to reach and pull. Then pin up your balloon net. When the time to release the balloons comes someone will tug on the tail, bursting the seam, and allowing the baloons to fall through. I suggest using cheap duct tape or masking tape, something strong enough to hold the pieces together but not so sticky that it will resist being pulled.

Blow up your balloons and add them to the net. Add your confetti too, if you wish.

Have fun!

Juju stayed up to midnight just so he could release the balloons. While everyone was counting down, he was perched on the couch near the tape tail and was thrilled to release the balloons when everyone shouted "Happy New Year!"

Time Capsule

To make our timecapsule we got a sturdy box and filled it with things that reminded us of things that happened or we enjoyed from 2015. I wrote a letter about the events that occurred and what we were like. In our box I put the wedding invitation from my cousin's wedding, the wedding favor from my friend's wedding, some toys the boys won't miss too much, some articles of clothing from the boys to remember how small they were, and more somber things like funeral cards from family who had recently passed. On the box I wrote the date the box could be opened (I set it for 10 years with the intention of making a time capsule box at least every 5 years).

Cotton Candy Champagne

This was definitely one of the boys' favorite treats, Cotton Candy Champagne. It was so simple too! We used Sprite instead of Pierrer, just because we couldn't find it in time. Really, any carbonatede drink should have the same effect, though I recommend it be clear. If possible, use a glass or clear cup so the kiddies can watch the cotton candy fizzle and melt away. We tried it with pink and blue cotton candy separately, though now I wish we had combined them to see if it would turn purple.


Rememberlution Jar

2015 was a pretty rough year for us. It was full of changes both good and bad. We decided instead of making resolutions, we would start our own Harris Family Rememberlutions Jar. I first learned about this project when I stumbled upon a Buzzfeed article about it. Rather than resolving to do this or that, whenever something memorable happens throughout the year we will write it on a sheet of paper and put it in the jar. At the end of the year, we will open up the jar and spend some time New Year's Eve remembering all the great things about 2016.

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