7 Kid-Friendly Activities for a Quarantine Countdown to the New Year
How you ring in the New Year may look a little different this year, but it doesn’t have to be ho-hum. Although you may not be able to safely gather with friends and family members beyond your inner circle, there are ways to still bring a little merry to your New Year’s Eve celebration.
Here are some kid-approved activities that the whole family can enjoy to get the countdown to 2021 started — and send this special year packing.
Fill 10 to 12 balloons each with a piece of paper containing a fun activity and then blow all balloons up. Make a big balloon clock on the wall for a more visual countdown. As midnight approaches (or a little earlier for very young kiddos), pop a balloon every 15 to 30 minutes to reveal and complete one of the activities. Things to do might include:
- Decorating premade cupcakes or cookies
- Playing BINGO or a favorite board game (find printable New Year’s Eve BINGO sheets here)
- Making New Year’s Eve hats
- Creating New Year’s streamers using glitzy cardstock and string
- Having a dance party
- Making a special dinner together (homemade pizza, etc.)
- Playing Simon Says
- Watching a NYE countdown
Guess the Resolution
It’s that time of year when we all vow to make a fresh start as we change out our calendars. What better way to get everyone looking ahead than to set a few goals. Have each person write down their New Year’s resolution on a small piece of paper and place in a bowl. Take out one piece of paper at a time and ask everyone to guess who they think made that resolution. Whoever gets the most correct answers wins.
Minute to Win It Game Night
Take a cue from the popular game show which tasked contestants with one-minute challenges using everyday household items. A quick Google search for “Minute to Win It” can bring up a ton of easy game ideas. See who can build the fastest pyramid out of Dixie Cups or keep a balloon in the air without using their hands. Set up a competition to earn points, with the winner receiving a special prize.
Family Photo Booth
Tack a sheet or fun backdrop on the wall and pull out different accessories, party hats and signs. Make the messages about the coming year. Maybe they’re experiences you want to have as a family, favorite inspirational quotes or just silly sayings family members often use. Store the photos on a smartphone or print them to frame and cherish.
Saran Wrap Ball Game
This is an inexpensive way to pass the time, and get a little rowdy. Start by collecting small items such as candy, toys, gift cards or anything else that might make good prizes. Wrap them one at a time and then collectively as a big ball of saran wrap. Grab a set of dice and you’re ready to play.
Have everyone form a circle on the floor and allow plenty of space (away from furniture) to move around. When it’s your turn, the person to the right of you will roll the two dice until they roll doubles. While they are rolling, it’s up to you to quickly unwrap as much of the ball as you can — anything you unwrap you get to keep. As soon as doubles are rolled, the dice and ball are passed to the next person (to the right) until all items are exposed.
Much like the balloon countdown, this is a great way to keep the kids busy for a time while everyone awaits the stroke of midnight. Round up 10 small boxes (about the size of matchboxes) that easily open. Have each person decorate one or more of the boxes and fill each one with colorful confetti. As you count down backwards from 10 to midnight (or the hour you set as your “midnight”), toss one of the boxes at a time in the air. The box should open on its own and fill the room with magic.
Virtual Movie Night
Pop some popcorn and settle in with the gang to watch a family movie. If part of your gang won’t be with you for the holiday, you can still share the experience. Disney+ and other streaming services now allow you to watch movies with people in other locations. You can pause the movie, rewind it and even react together.
Great movies to watch at any age include Sesame Street Celebrates Around the World, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year and About a Boy.
Happy New Year!