Family Friendly Entertainment

Treat the kids to a family friendly New Year’s Eve this year. You don’t have to spend large amounts of money or time away from your kids to have a great New Year’s Eve. Many people would argue that New Year’s is a great excuse to get out of the house and away from the kids, but you could have just as much fun with them! Whether you want to stay in or go out, try these family friendly activities.

~ Lock-In
~ Scavenger Hunt
~ Movie Night
~ Let the kids be the Cooks!

Have a Lock-In

Planning a lock-in for New Year’s Eve is a fun and safe way to ring in the New Year. You can have a lock-in at someone’s home or you can set it up at your church or local community center. Kids really enjoy lock-ins because it's not something they get to do very often. Invite as many people as you want. Staying in all night is a safe alternative to getting out on the road late at night.

First, choose a theme for the lock-in. The decision should include the kids as well as the adults. You don’t want a theme to 'old' for the kids; you also don’t one to 'young' for the adults. After you have decided on a theme, make themed invitations and send them to your guests. Make sure everyone knows to dress up, if needed.

Next, plan the decorations. Let the kids get as creative and outrageous as possible with balloons, streamers, confetti, and other decorations. Be sure to purchase decorations with the New Year printed on it, or make signs that will remind guests that the New Year is quickly approaching. Make sure that the theme of the lock-in is displayed in your food as well.

Sit and brainstorm with the rest of the family about creative ways to use the number '2012'. For example, arrange cupcakes into the numbers '2012' on a platter as a center piece. Next, you should have a list of games for the lock-in. What would a New Year’s Eve party with kids be without games?

Here are some games for you to enjoy during your lock-in:

~ Play ball toss. Have the children throw balls into a container. Hand prizes out to the children that throw the most balls into the container.
~ Make a Piñata. Make a piñata filled with candy, let the children take turns trying to break it. The piñata can be filled with loose candy so everyone can scramble to pick it up.
~ Play a resolution game. Have everyone, including adults, write down a resolution for the upcoming year. Put all of the resolutions in a hat and draw one at a time. When a resolution is drawn, everyone can try and guess who wrote the resolution. All correct guesses receive a prize.
~ Play board games. Some popular board games that you could play would be: Monopoly, Apples to Apples, Pictionary, or Trivial Pursuit.
~ Have a video game contest. Have someone bring their video game system and have tournaments. Whether it is Guitar Hero or Madden, kids will enjoy playing a tournament to see who the 'best' is. (Then, after the kids go to sleep, the adults can have a tournament of their own!).

When it is time to start the countdown, have everyone grab a blown up balloon. When the countdown gets down to 3,2,1, have everyone sit on their balloon and try to pop them all right as the ball lights up. A lock-in can be a great time for both adults and kids on New Year’s Eve. It will definitely be safer than going out as a family for the night.

Scavenger Hunt

You don’t have to stay inside on New Year’s Eve to have fun. Take it outside and have a scavenger hunt in the backyard. When the kids are not watching, place different objects in the yard. Try to hide them as best as possible.

Don’t forget to make a list of the items and where you left them, just in case.

Print up a list for the kids and hand them out. Give them a flashlight and a time limit. Whoever can find the most items within a certain time, wins a prize! When the kids have found all of the objects and the prizes have been handed out, switch roles. Let the kids hide the items and have the adults search.

Movie Night

Get your favorite brand of popcorn and soda, and plop yourselves on the couch for a good ol’ fashioned movie night.

Earlier in the day, rent some movies. Let each person in the family pick a movie.

Later in the evening, pop the popcorn and press 'Play'. Be sure to keep an eye on the clock so that you can pause the movie in time for the countdown!

Let the Kids be the Cooks!

If your children are old enough, let them cook dinner on New Year’s Eve.

A few days in advance, let the kids brainstorm a menu that everyone would like. They will need to create a shopping list of items, so remind them to check the recipe book!

And don’t forget the dessert!

Whatever you choose to do with New Year’s Eve, remember to have fun and be safe!
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