Noon Year's Eve Balloon Countdown a Kid-Friendly Way to Celebrate

Celebrate early to avoid meltdowns later

December 24, 2020

New Year's isn't always the most kid-friendly holiday since most of the action happens too late at night. This year, even with most of us at home, kids will likely be in bed long before the clock strikes 12. (Truth be told, we likely will be too!)

So we're going with our own version of an (earlier) New Year’s ball drop to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021: A Noon Year's Eve balloon-popping countdown with activities that range from silly to serious — and sure to keep the whole family busy and having fun all day long.

Here’s how to play the balloon countdown:

  • Write down 12 family activities on individual slips of paper and insert one each into 12 balloons before blowing up.
  • Number the balloons 1 through 12 with a Sharpie.
  • Beginning at noon on New Year’s Eve, pop one balloon an hour and do the activity you find on the sheet of paper inside. (If your kids aren’t "going the distance" that night, just fill enough balloons to last you until bedtime.)

What kind of activities to include? That's up to you! It can be anything — making a favorite snack together, blowing bubbles in the kitchen, going for a walk, playing Twister, creating a craft... the list is only limited by your imagination! I try to mix sure-fire hits (Jenga!) with a few quieter, more thoughtful projects.

Other ideas for at-home "Noon" Year's Eve fun:

  • Create a wishing wall. On colored squares of paper, have each family member write down a wish or two for the coming year. Then arrange the squares on a large poster board or corkboard and hang on the wall for decoration. At the beginning of each month add on or make changes to your wishing wall throughout the year.
  • Make a family vision board. Similar to a wishing wall, but a great choice for kids who are too young to write or use their words as effectively. Work together to make a collage from magazine clippings that inspire you and your family — and don’t forget to date it. The look and feel of your family vision boards will grow and change as your kids get older.
  • Work on finish-the-sentence books. Fold a few pieces of blank paper in half and staple at the crease. Orienting the “book” vertically, open to the middle page and staple again at the top. Write an incomplete sentence on the top flap (“I am thankful for…” and “I am happy that…” are good options). Then have each family member complete the sentence on their own page at the bottom. Kids can illustrate when complete.

Happy new year! Here's to a brighter 2021.

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