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New Year's Eve: Kid's Activities

Updated on December 30, 2012
New Year's Eve Fireworks
New Year's Eve Fireworks | Source

How to Celebrate New Year's Eve With Kids

Everybody enjoys celebrating the New Year. It's a great time for parties, for fireworks, for the exciting countdown to midnight. However, a lot of the activities often associated with New Year's Eve really are not appropriate for children or young people under the age of 21. It can be a real challenge to find kid-friendly ways to bring in the New Year. Here are a couple of ideas for families who want to make the annual countdown a family celebration.

Black eyed peas is a popular New Year's Eve food.
Black eyed peas is a popular New Year's Eve food. | Source

Cook Up Some Great Party Food

Cooking is a great family activity. Not only do children who cook with their parents learn a valuable life skill, but it aids in academic skills, too. Children work on their reading skills while deciphering the recipe, and they work on mathematical skills as they measure out teaspoons, tablespoons, cups and ounces. Several different foods are said to bring good luck on New Year's Eve. Try out this sample New Year menu made up of some of these lucky dishes and have fun preparing a feast with your children.

  • Prosperity Caviar- Try black eyed peas with a twist: It's a New Year's tradition! This is particularly popular in the American Southwest.
  • Grapes - In Spain, it is customary to eat 12 grapes on New Year's Eve. If you can finish all twelve grapes before the clock finishes striking midnight, you will have good luck all year. Follow this tip from Martha Stewart and put together a skewer for each member of the family.
  • Pork - In some cultures, including Spain, Portugal, and Austria, eating pork is considered good luck on New Year's Eve. Try out some ham recipes, or go whole hog with a pork tenderloin.
  • Top it all off with a Greek New Year's cake - Vaselopita.


Create a Scrapbook Celebrating the Year Gone By

You know all those photos you've been taking all year long that are still sitting in your digital camera? For New Year's Eve, print some of them off and help your child create a scrapbook that helps capture all the memories of the past year. Throw in other keepsakes, such as play programs, ribbons or other honors won at school or camp, postcards from places you may have visited, or even homework assignments that were particularly successful.

Track the New Year all over the world.
Track the New Year all over the world. | Source

Track the coming of the New Year in Different Time Zones

Is your child too young to stay up until midnight? No matter - On December 31, different countries around the world begin to celebrate the New Year hours before the big countdown arrives in the United States. Use a world map to track the time in different countries. Countdown to midnight for London, England or Beiing, China! The following map shows the time in New York City when midnight comes to countries around the world.Tracking the New Year in this way is a great way to discuss geography and the concept of time zones.

You can calculate the time for other cities and countries by using the World Clock.

Use this map to celebrate New Year's in many different time zones.

show route and directions
A markerJerusalem, Israel -
Jerusalem, Israel
get directions

Midnight strikes in Jerusalem at 6 PM New York time.

B markerBeijing, China -
Beijing, China
get directions

Midnight strikes in Beijing, China at 1 PM New York time.

C markerSydney, Australia -
Sydney NSW, Australia
get directions

Midnight strikes in Sydney, Australia at 10 AM New York time

D markerNew York City -
New York, NY, USA
get directions

If you are in New York City, when does the New Year start all over the world?

E markerBuenos Aires -
Buenos Aires, Argentina
get directions

Midnight strikes In Buenos Aires at 10 PM New York time.

F markerLondon -
London, UK
get directions

Midnight strikes in London at 7 PM New York time.

Practice Saying "Happy New Year" in Many Different Languages

While you are tracking the coming of the New Year in all these places throughout the world, learn also how to say "Happy New Year!" in each of these countries.

  • France - Bonne année
  • Italy - Felice anno nuovo
  • Israel - Shana tova
  • China (Cantonese) - Sun nien fai lok
  • Norway - Godt nytt ar
  • Greece - Eutychismenos o kainourgios chronos
  • Germany - Frohes neues jahr
  • Spain - Feliz año nuevo
  • Ireland - Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhuit

New Year's Craft: Homemade noisemaker
New Year's Craft: Homemade noisemaker | Source

Create a New Year's Eve Craft

To make a fun children's noisemaker, you will need the following objects:

  • A clean, dry, empty plastic soda bottle or water bottle.
  • Beans - different kinds, or different colors, if possible.
  • Curling ribbon
  • Small jingle bells that can be attached with curling ribbon.
  1. Fill the bottle a little more than half-full with the beans.
  2. Cut a length of curling ribbon several inches long, and string three jingle bells onto the ribbon. Tie the ribbon to the mouth of the bottle and run the ribbon along the edge of a pair of scissors to make it curl.

Your noisemaker with rattle with the beans and jingle with the bells. When it comes time to welcome the New Year, make a wonderful noise!

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