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25 Perfect New Year’s Eve Ideas For Families in 2024

These New Year’s Eve ideas will be perfect for your family members’ celebration. Pick one (or more) from this list of activities to entertain your kids. Your entire family will have a great time waiting for the ball drop at midnight.

I would beg my husband to let me to go bed by 9 pm on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, I’m not a late-night owl.

Now that our older kids want to stay up till midnight on New Year’s Eve, it’s been a struggle to find activities that will keep them entertained (and grownups awake) until the countdown. Well, until coming up with these great ideas!

My family’s first year staying up late was so much fun. The kids were so excited to stay up until midnight and you’ll find lots of fun ideas that will help you ring in the new year with a bang for your family below.

A family sitting around the dinner table with Christmas hats and lights. There's food on the table and everyone is smiling and laughing.

25 Perfect New Year’s Eve Ideas For Families in 2024

You can choose the most suitable ideas for your whole family depending on everyone’s age and let the countdown begin to New Year’s Day!

A bundle of pink and yellow balloons with the hourly time written on them.

Hourly Balloon Countdown

Between you and me there’s no way you’re going to keep your living room clean until midnight with the kids constantly moving around. So why not indulge in some fun balloon-popping every hour? You can fill up as many balloons as you want and let your kids take turns to pop them open at every hour leading up to midnight. You can even write the time on the balloons. This activity will keep them occupied, and who doesn’t love a good surprise?

Brown paper bags with a clock drawn on the outside and the words 'unlock the fun inside' for New Year's Eve activity.

Late-night Owl Activity Bags

These countdown bags are a better way to keep younger kids awake during those later hours. You’ll want to fill up a brown paper bag with fun games, activities, or some kind of surprise your family can enjoy together. You can include things like coloring books, puzzles, card games, and other quiet activities to keep them entertained while the clock continues to creep up to midnight.

Three bottles that have glow sticks inside for glow in the dark bowling at home.

Glow-in-the-dark Hallway Bowling

There are so many fun things you can do with glow sticks and bowling is definitely one of them. Simply put some glow sticks inside empty water bottles or 2-liter bottles and set them up at the end of a hallway. Use a small ball to knock down the “pins” and take turns playing. It’s the perfect way for kids to work on their hand-eye coordination and have some fun at the same time.

A little boy holding a small homemade clock.

DIY Countdown Clocks

If you want to sneak a little learning into your New Year’s Eve celebrations, this activity is perfect for you. Have your kids grab some paper plates, markers, construction paper (if you want to make the “hands” of a clock), and a Brad to hold everything together. Your children can practice writing numbers and telling time as they move the hands of their clock toward midnight.

A man and woman holding photo booth props and wearing Christmas sweaters.

Family Photo Booth Session

A New Year’s celebration always needs some photos to remember. Set up a simple photo booth in your living room with some props like funny hats, glasses, and other festive items. Your family can take turns taking pictures and creating memories that will last long after the night is over. Plus, it’s a great way to keep everyone engaged and entertained while waiting for the clock to strike midnight.

Red party cups with a yellow ping pong ball going inside.

Minute-to-win-it Games Tournament

Who doesn’t love a Minute-to-Win-it game? This competitive and silly game is perfect for a New Year’s Eve celebration. You can find countless creative ideas on Pinterest and other websites, but some classics include New Year’s Eve charades, drawing on a piece of paper blindfolded, and balloon pop. Divide your family into teams and have a tournament to see who will be the ultimate Minute-to-Win-it champion. It’s sure to bring lots of laughter and excitement to your evening.

A young family dressed in matching pajamas are watching a Christmas movie on their projector.

Movie Night with Themed Snacks

The perfect time to introduce your children to one of your favorite movies is on New Year’s Eve. Choose a movie that’s appropriate for the whole family, and then get creative with new recipes and themed snacks to go along with it.

For example, if you’re watching “The Princess Bride,” make some “ROUS” (rodents of unusual size) snacks using pretzel sticks and cheese balls. Or for “The Lord of The Rings,” serve up some delicious food like “Hobbit Holes” using crackers, hummus, and veggies. Your family will love the movie and the tasty treats that go along with it.

A father and his two boys are inside their family's tent camping indoors. There's a pretend fire and a teddy bear outside the tent.

Indoor Camping Experience

Put up your tent and grab your sleeping bags for a night of indoor camping. This pajama party idea is perfect if you live in an area where it’s too cold to camp outside on New Year’s Eve. You can tell campfire stories, sing the Auld Lang Syne New Year’s song, roast marshmallows over the stove, and celebrate the new year with a campfire-style dinner. Bonus points if you have a projector to watch stars on the ceiling or play nature sounds to add to the camping experience.

A mom and son working on a learning activity book together.

Scavenger Hunt Around the House

Thankfully grocery stores carry basic party favors to help you create a scavenger hunt full of surprises. Hide items around the house or use clues to lead your family on an adventure to find the hidden treasures. Don’t forget to add some festive New Year’s Eve items like party hats, pom poms, noisemakers, and confetti along with other treats for your family to enjoy throughout the night.

A white sheet of paper with words like "dream big", "set goals" and "take action" written on them.

New Year’s Resolution Reflection Activity

A friend asked, “What was your proudest moment of this year” and my mind was a blank slate. I found myself becoming so busy with the day-to-day adventures with my children and life that I never wrote down my wins from last year.

If you’re looking for a good way to encourage your children to remember how awesome they are, make a “Proud Moments” board where everyone can write down their achievements from the past year. This will not only help your children set goals for the coming year but also remind them of all the things they have accomplished in the past.

A young girl is drinking a mocktail prepared for her by her parents.

Mocktail Making Competition for Kids

I cannot think of a time when my younger children didn’t want to be in the kitchen making something. And when you can add a little science experiment, they are all in! The mocktail-making competition is perfect for this! Set out ingredients like grape juice, club soda, fruits, and other kid-friendly ingredients and then challenge your kids to create a delicious and festive New Year’s Eve drink. Bonus points if you have some fun glasses to serve them in!

Good luck if you find yourself drinking some “creative” mocktails. Otherwise having a simple or new recipe on hand is always a good idea.

A mom and dad putting their tween daughter in a brown box and all three are smiling.

Create a Time Capsule

Gather up every family member on December 31st and create a time capsule to open next year on New Year’s Eve. Have everyone bring something that represents them from the previous year, such as photos, letters, or small mementos. Put them all in a sealed box or container and hide your box somewhere safe in a closet.

You’ll want to set a reminder on your phone to get the box out next year (along with the location of which closet it’s hiding out in) and open it up to reminisce on the past year. Who knows, you may even make this a new family tradition!

Two children singing karaoke together.

Karaoke Night with a Twist – “Name that Tune”

From Black-Eyed Peas to Bing Crosby, nothing brings people together like a good sing-along. Take turns singing the first few lines of your favorite songs and see who can guess the artist and title first. You may be surprised by your kids’ song knowledge (or have some great throwback moments)! And to add an extra challenge, try humming or whistling the tune instead of singing it outright.

A group of children dressed up in different careers including chef, judge, and more.

Fancy Dinner with Dress-up Theme

Some New Year’s Eve parties call for fancy attire, and kids love to dress up too! Set the festive mood with some classy music playing in the background. Have your kids help prepare delicious finger foods (maybe even their own mocktails from earlier) and encourage them to dress up in their best clothes or costumes. You can even have a theme, like “royalty” or “future career” for some added fun.

Parents and two children are enjoying a family dance party in their home together.

Family Dance Party

A New Year’s Eve Party in our house is not complete without cranking up the music and dancing! Create your family’s playlist with everyone’s favorite songs and have your dance party. You can even turn it into a friendly competition with dance-offs or lip-sync battles. And who knows, maybe your kids will teach you some new moves!

A young woman is playing Monopoly with her family for game night.

Board Game Tournament with Prizes

I feel family board games are a great way for kids to learn how to gracefully lose and practice good sportsmanship. So why not turn your family’s favorite game into a fun tournament with prizes? Have your kids choose their favorite board games or mix them up with some new ones. You can even make your own prize wheel, assigning different treats or activities to each section (like “stay up 30 minutes later” or “choose the next movie night pick”).

A young lady is virtually calling and spending time with family and loved ones thousands of miles away.

Virtual Hangout with Extended Family and Friends

Last year my children called their second cousin in England (whom they have adopted as an Aunt) and we were able to video chat, play virtual games together and watch the different fireworks celebrations from around the world with them. And when our 1 and 4 year old fell asleep by 8 pm, they weren’t upset the next morning because they saw the New Year in London. It was a great way to spend New Year’s Eve!

A young girl is wearing winter hat and gloves. She's standing by an outdoor bonfire with her family.

Outdoor Bonfire and S’mores Night

If the weather is warmer and everyone wants a family slumber party, gather around a bonfire and roast marshmallows for s’mores. You can even bring out some cozy blankets and pillows to make it extra comfortable. This is a great way to relax and spend quality time with your family. Just make sure adults are keeping an eye on the fire and children are supervised at all times.

A child is popping their DIY confetti popper.

DIY Confetti Poppers and Sparkler Show

Kids of all ages are going to love these special treats. For the younger ones, have them participate in making their own confetti poppers out of recycled toilet paper rolls and tissue paper. They can decorate the outside with stickers or markers to make it unique.

Then at midnight, everyone can use their poppers to make a festive confetti shower! And for the older kids (or adults), sparklers are always a fun way to ring in the New Year. Just make sure to have a designated adult handling and lighting them for safety.

Two boys laughing and playing bingo with their family.

New Year’s Eve Bingo

Every kids New Year’s Eve party needs a fun party game, and bingo is always a hit. You can create your own bingo cards with New Year’s themed images and words or print them out from online. You can have small prizes for the winners or just play for fun. It’s a great way to keep the kids entertained and engaged during the evening.

A parent helping a child complete a puzzle on the floor.

Family Puzzle Race

Pull out your long fold-up tables, or meet at the kitchen table, for a family puzzle race. Divide into teams and see who can finish their puzzle first. You can even make it more challenging by mixing up the puzzle pieces and having the teams (or young children) switch halfway through. It’s a fun way to work together as a family and compete in a friendly manner.

Small children decorating frosting and candies on gingerbread cookies.

My children’s little hands can’t resist getting creative in the kitchen, especially when it comes to decorating cookies. Have a cookie decorating contest where everyone gets their own set of plain sugar cookies and various toppings. Give out different categories for awards such as “most festive”, “most colorful” or “most unique”. And don’t forget to have plenty of frosting for those little ones who may not be too skilled in decorating.

Two little girls dressed up in different generational clothes for New Years Eve party.

Generational Costume Party

This would be one of those special activities if you are blessed to have grandparents or even great-grandparents.

A fun way to involve all generations in your New Year’s Eve party is to have a generational costume party. Each person can dress up as their favorite decade, from the roaring 20s to the funky 70s or even futuristic outfits for the 2050s! This will not only be entertaining, but it also gives you a chance to learn more about your family’s history. Don’t forget to use the family photo booth idea to take some keepsake pictures.

A mother and daughter are wearing matching shirts and clothes.

DIY 2024 Family Shirt Designing

Most families find themselves writing out New Year’s resolutions or quietly watching the ball drop on TV. But why not take this opportunity to create some festive family shirts for the upcoming year? Purchase plain white t-shirts or sweatshirts, along with fabric markers and paint, and let each family member design their own shirt for 2024. This will be a fun project to do together and everyone will have a unique keepsake to remember the special night.

Children are sitting in front of a puppet show.

Family Talent Show

The best part of any New Year’s Eve party is spending quality time with your loved ones. So why not showcase each other’s talents in a family talent show? It can be anything from singing, dancing, comedy skits, or even a magic show! This will not only bring lots of laughter and entertainment but will also create unforgettable memories for years to come.

Mother reading a book to her daughter in bed.

While I may have once been that mom begging for an early bedtime on New Year’s Eve so I could wake up early to take down the Christmas decorations, I now find myself eagerly staying up until midnight with my children. Thanks to these amazing ideas, our festivities are anything but boring.

From having a mocktail-making competition to creating a family time capsule filled with memories from the past year, there is something for everyone in this list of 25 perfect New Year’s Eve activities for families.

So don’t let the pressure of keeping your kids entertained and staying awake until midnight overwhelm you – instead, pick a few of these fun ideas and watch as your whole family enjoys ringing in the new year with a bang.

Trust me, you’ll be glad you did when your kids keep talking about how much fun they had on New Year’s Eve for days to come.

Cheers to another year full of love and laughter with your loved ones! Happy New Year!

Now go get planning and make some fantastic memories together.

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