Kid Friendly New Years Eve Traditions and Activities

Kid Friendly New Years Eve Traditions and Activities

New Years Eve is a fun holiday celebrating the passing of a year and the start of a new one. It is fun to look back at the past with your family. Looking to see how far you have come and how much you have grown. A time to plan some new goals for the future and the new year to come. Here in this post I am going to make a list of fun, kid friendly New Years Eve traditions and activities. 

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Some of the photos and links in this blog are from my fellow bloggers! Please enjoy checking out their creations!

Kid Friendly New Years Eve Traditions and Activities. They are all encompassed in a fun way to pass the time the day you wait for the ball to drop!

Balloon Count Down

Kid friendly New Years Eve Traditions and Activities

This is done with 12 balloons. Each has a piece of paper inside with an activity written on it. You can pop a balloon every hour of the day if you are super ambitious with older kids who are patient.

If you have younger kids like I do, know they have a hard time waiting and you like them going to bed at a normal hour there is a shorter way! Popping a balloon every 15 minutes for 3 hours seems a lot more appealing.

Feel free to change up the time increments any way you like.  The main point is to number the balloons 1-12 to “count down” the time. You could try to hang them from the ceiling or on the wall in the shape of a clock face. I went for on the floor for my kids to search for the number. 

Keep reading for an awesome list of activities to put inside of those balloons!!! Lots of links to help you find, make, recycle or buy what you need to create these fun activities with your family.

1. Take a group photo.

This is a great way to document your family as they change, especially if this becomes part of the yearly tradition. I even want to make sure I take some individual shots as well. We are going to pose with some fun new year props! You can buy some here or find some sweet DIY versions here. Links are included below with the pictures as well. 

2. Measure the Family Height. 

This is more for the kids benefit since we adults don’t grow much after a certain point. In my house we measure right onto the wall. Below is a link for several DIY Height Measuring Wall Hangers! So Cute! Here is a link to one on Amazon. My kids like to try to measure themselves once a month almost but really all they need is once a year. How fun to make that time be on New Years Eve. 

3. Play a Family Board Game or Puzzle.

This is almost always a fun time! Remember its only 15 minutes till the next balloon gets popped so no time for marathon Risk or Monopoly games. Here are some of our family favorites that are quick and FUN! I also included a link to a fellow bloggers fantastic Minute to win it post. Enjoy!

Minute to Win it Games
Minute to Win It DIY Fun

4. Draw pictures of your favorite memory from the past year.

This is a great way to pick out some of the good memories from the year that has passed. It is a way to savor your children and see what they really remember, with some prompting I’m sure. I’ll definitely be saving the pictures they draw to look back at the following year. Its a great moment in the celebration to pause and be thankful. Here is some cool ways to savor, store and show off the pictures they draw. 

Easy Change Artwork Frame 

Or this 4 pack of 8 by 10 magnetic Picture Frames

5. Kids New Years Eve Interview

This is another great way to record your kids! Ask them some great questions, write down the answers, and save the papers to look back on for next year and beyond. If you ask the same questions each year you will be able to see the tangible change and growth. My Grandma always says, “time is fleeting.” The days are long but the years are short. 

New Years Eve Interview with the Kids
Free Printable!

6. Writing a New Years Resolution (On a wishing wand!)

Its great to think about the past and the good memories you have made as a family this year. You also want to think about the future. The new year to come. Have a family discussion about some fun events, school and work goals etc for the new year. Here is a great book called Squirrel’s New Years Resolutions.  You can read it to the younger kids and help them understand goals or resolutions.

Have each person think of one that is the most important one and write it down. If you really want to get fancy for can make these DIY wishing wands with the kids and write the resolution or wish on the star!

7. Create a birthday calendar for the next year. 

I love to get a new family calendar each year. It hangs in the kitchen and I write all the important events for work, school, etc. This year we are going to work together to write down all the family birthdays. I have most of them on the old calendar we can use to copy them. If the kids have any new ones they may want to add its nice to have the phone and Facebook to look them up! Here is a link to some of my favorite calendars if you still need a nice one for the new year.  

8. Dance Party!!!

I love having dance parties with my kids. It wouldn’t be right to have a New Years celebration and not have a dance party! I love using Amazon Music! We pay for Prime and there is so much free music to stream with just that subscription! There is a lot of new music that is only available with their Unlimited subscription. It is extra money on top of the prime subscription but currently they are running a deal for the first 3 months. Check it out!!

9. New Years Eve Party Crackers. 

My mom usually gets Christmas crackers. They are fun to open on Christmas and a big deal over in England I have heard. They usually come with a paper crown, some kind of little tool(cork screw, comb, tiny scissors etc), a happy wish for the new year and sometimes a candy. A fun tradition if I do say so myself and we had some left from Christmas so we used them again on New Years. You can buy them or make some homemade DIY versions.

10. Gather the hats and noise makers for the count down. Make them if you want. 

Being a kid I always remember counting down with a fun noise maker in my hand and a fun hat or accessory! When this balloon is popped its time to get those out and practice for the big ball drop. Below is a photo link to buy and under that is a link to DIY. 

11. Cheers to the toast for the new year. 

Time to break out the kid friendly glasses and cups. Grab that chilled sparkling apple cider and prep for when the ball drops. Talk to the kids about what a toast it and what they can say when it is time for the cheers. I am a big wine drinker. My kiddos see me have a glass probably more often than they should. We have a few tiny liquor glasses that look just like my big ones. They love to have them for special occasions. Filled with Sparkling Cider of course. 

12. Ready the Countdown!

Of course there is always some kind of count down, especially for the last 10 seconds of the old year. My sister and brother-in-law had a stroke of genius. They love hosting the New Years Eve parties but know its hard for us with the little kids. SO they decided to stream the New Years Ball drop from England! When the stroke of midnight strikes there, it’s only 7 pm here! Awesome!

It gives me time to do all this fun stuff with the kiddos with a little celebration time after the ball drop. Best part is I can have them in bed by 8 pm! This mama likes bed time. Its the best time of the day. 

There is another option for those of you who don’t need or want a traditional live ball drop. There are at least 10 different options of pre-recorded countdowns on Netflix. You can pick your kiddos current favorite cartoon or character and if they are featured on Netflix it is a high possibility they will have a countdown. 

We are not against the classic, letting the kids stay up to midnight but if I have the choice and my kids don’t know any better why not! I’ll probably be asleep before the actual stroke of midnight as well. Those days of late night parties are behind me. 

I hope you like all these fun ideas! I am very excited for the new year. My kids are going to be kept busy with all the fun.We are going to record and savor some great new memories using these kid friendly New Years Eve traditions and activities. 

Also, if you Moms haven’t already read it, please go check out my just for Mom post !

Below I have made you an easy printable. You don’t even need to write these ideas down! Just print, cut and put them in the balloons. Happy New Year!

New Years Eve Countdown activity printable.
Click to Download and Print!



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25 Storybooks of Christmas

25 Storybooks of Christmas

This post contains affiliate links! Please click the book photo if you are interested in buying any. See my Affiliate Disclaimer for more details. 

25 Storybooks of Christmas

As I mentioned in the previous post Ditch the Elf on the Shelf, Alternative Christmas Countdowns and “Santa is Watching” Traditions we love the Christmas storybook tradition in my house. It fits right in with our daily routine of reading before bedtime. I have one big wrapping session a few days before the first of December and then the kids love having a book to unwrap each night leading up to Christmas. I even add numbers so I am the one in control of which book is opened when!

I compiled this list with all the Christmas stories in our house. I pack them away with the decorations each year. When its time for December first I make sure they are wrapped and under the tree for the kiddos to open one each night. As you may notice I have more that 25 here. That is because some are little baby board books, we are not ready to part with, so some wrap jobs have more than one book inside. I am going to do my best to include Amazon links for all the books if you click on their photo, as well as a little review of each. Some of these are OLD and/or I found in a thrift shop, so we shall see if they can even still be purchased. If there is not a photo link for the book that means Amazon didn’t have it.

1. Advent Storybook 24 Stories to Share Before Christmas

– by Antonie Schneider, illustrated by Maja Duskova
This book was given to us by my Aunt. Her kiddos received it from an Aunt and it has been a part of their tradition ever since. I am excited to start reading it each night with my kids this year! The book has a one page story for each night. It is our first book to open this year and we will be reading from this each night along with the new book. You could just use this for the story tradition if you don’t want to pack away 25 or more books each year.

 

2. The Christmas Story

– by Jane Werner, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin (Little Golden Book)
A retelling of Jesus’ birth but this time in Little Golden Book form.

3. Christmas in the Barn

– by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Diane Goode
Here we have a very cute and simple version of Jesus’ birth. Great illustrations!!!

4. What Star is This?

– by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Alison Jay
This book takes a more scientific approach to that same retelling but focuses more on the star in the story.

5. The Little Drummer Boy

– illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
My second favorite Christmas song. I always sing-read it with the kids.

6. This is the Star

– by Joyce Dunbar and Gary Blythe
This book is a retelling of Jesus’ birth but in a poem-like format with words repeating. It can be compared to the 12 days of Christmas almost.

7. Silent Night

– verse by Joseph Mohr, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
My all-time favorite Christmas song. I always sing read this one too. This book has the most beautiful illustrations.

8. Polar Express

– by Chris Van Allsburg

A classic and a must have in any Christmas library! A little simpler than the Tom Hanks movie recreation. 

9. The Night Before Christmas

– by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Douglas Gorsline

Another classic here. There are so many beautiful versions of this little story/poem. I remember reading this most as a kid. 

10. The 12 Days of Christmas

– by Laurel Long and Dial Books (Search and Find)

Everyone knows this poem or song. We have 2 different versions of this book. One is a beautifully illustrated search and find. Each of the previous lines are hidden in the next illustration.

11. The 12 Days of Christmas

– illustrated by Dori Santos (Puzzle Book)
A more condensed version with 4 puzzles included in the pages. I could not find this one on Amazon.

12. The Littlest Elf

– by Brandi Douchtery, illustrated by Kirsten Richards
Cute little scholastic book club book.

13. The Bear Santa Claus Forgot

– by Diana Kimpton, illustrated by Anna Kiernan
This book is long so don’t double up on this night. It reminds me of the Corduroy stories but with Santa.

14. Christmas Cats

– by Jean Mazollo, illustrated by Hans Wilhelm
Just super cute cat fun. We all know a cat lover who would enjoy this story of cats preparing for Christmas.

15. When Santa Was a Kid

– by Janice Leotti Bachem, illustrated by Anthony Lewis
This story talks about Santa as a Kid and I used it when I taught first grade. The kids can practice sequencing the story, main idea, main characters, setting, and really any comprehension skill you can think of. I like that they see him as a kid who makes mistakes just like they do.

16. Five Busy Elves

– by Patricia Hegarty, illustrated by Julia Woolf
A good counting story and it’s from the scholastic book club.

17. Merry Christmas Splat

– by Rob Scolton
This is another cute cat Christmas story. He writes his Christmas list to Santa and has a hard time doing it honestly. He also tries to stay awake to see Santa but we know that never works for tired kids or cats. 

18. The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa

– by Stan and Jan Berenstain
This story is another classic. It also showcases writing Santa a wish list and shopping for mom and dad.

19. Christmas Lift the Flap Shadow Book

– by Bethany Perkins and Hermoni Edwards with Priddy Books
Found this book at the thrift shop. It is a fun surprise to look through and guess the festive Christmas clues under the flaps.

20. A Christmas Carol

– retold by Gaby Goldslack, illustrated by Caroline Pedler
Totally a Christmas classic. This story can be very long, and my younger kiddo doesn’t have the patience to sit and listen to it yet. It gets put with one of the board books.

21. It’s Christmas David!

– by David Shannon (My son’s favorite)

This was my son’s favorite author for a little while. I think it was because of the illustrations of him running down the street with no pants. We have all the David books and this one is cute.

22. The Polar Bear Who Saved Christmas

– by Fiona Boon and Clare Fennell
Cute little story about a polar bear standing in for a reindeer on Christmas Eve.

23. Mooseltoe

– by Marge Palatine, illustrated by Henry Cole
Silly story about a papa moose who is way into the season and all decorating traditions, but he forgets the tree! In the end they use his giant mustache and he stands in for the tree.

24. Christmastime is Here

– Fisher- Price Little People Book with over 50 liftable flaps
My kids LOVE this one. I always put it near the end because they want to reread it every night and it’s a lot. You could also use it as and advent calendar- it has one on the last page.

25. Merry Christmas Santa

– by Joanne Barkan, illustrated by Barbara Lanza
This one again is a little long but features Santa getting a Christmas gift from the elves. The gift gets switched with a little girl’s gift and one of the elves saves the day and switches it before she notices.

26. Jingle Bells

– by Lathleen N. Daly, illustrated by JP Miller (Little Golden Book)
This is a creative take on the song Jingle Bells.

27. The Pokey Little Puppy’s First Christmas

– by Justine Korman, illustrated by Jean Chandler (Little Golden Book)
This story is a holiday version of one of my favorite childhood stories. There is counting and cute puppies.

28+29. That’s not my snowman and That’s not my reindeer

– Usborne Books (Linked you to my favorite Usborne Dealer!)
These are two of our board books. They have pages to touch and feel different textures. I almost handed them down to my nephew this year, but I know my 3-year-old will still love them!That's Not My ReindeerThat's Not My Snowman

30. Merry Sparkling Christmas

– by Elizabeth Spurr, illustrated by Colleen Madden
This is another board book. Very short with cute illustrations. I am quite sure this was my sons very first Christmas story of his own. Probably will keep this one forever even after it goes out of rotation.

31. The M+M’s Christmas Gift Book

– by Barbie McGrath and Peggy Tagel
Finally, this one is another board book and fun to read with a bag of M+M’s. The pages have little spaces to arrange the candy as you are reading.Please enjoy this big book list I have created for you. The library is a great place to check out books as well! With an extension you should be able to keep them for the month. I also recommend searching for Christmas books in thrift shops. And of course you can always follow my links here!

25 Storybooks of Christmas 25 Storybooks of Christmas (1)

Please remember to subscribe and I can send you the wonderful printable list of these storybooks. You will also be receiving a monthly email with all the blogs and free downloads each month.



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Ditch the Elf on the Shelf! Alternative Ideas for Christmas Countdown and ”Santa’s Watching” Traditions

Christmas Countdown Traditions Besides the Elf on the Shelf

Ditch the Elf on the Shelf

This post does contain some affiliate links. I may or may not receive an incentive if you use my links but there is no added charge to you!

Happy Holiday Season Everyone! Time to break out all the Christmas decorations and that Elf on the Shelf. NOT! I refuse to let that dude in my house. Don’t get me wrong, the concept is fun, but it creeps me out having some THING in my house watching. We already have enough of that going on with today’s technology. I do like watching some of y’all get creative with it, but the tradition is just not for my house. I’m more into the set and forget type tradition. I put the work in once and then have minimal to do the rest of the month. I especially like when they are traditions that already fit into our daily routine like reading before bedtime.

Here I will bring together some ideas if you are like me. You don’t want that elf responsibility.

1. Christmas Countdowns

Everyone loves a good Christmas countdown. It’s hard for kiddos to wait for the big exciting day. Doing a countdown can help with patience or at the very least they don’t have to come to you to ask “Is it Christmas yet?” There are plenty of crafts to make featuring countdowns. I’m am going to link one of my fellow bloggers and add one I made just for you to print!!

Snipping Santa's Beard
Snipping Santa’s Beard

Christmas Tree Countdown

Christmas Tree Countdown- FREE Download

2. Advent Calendars

They sell awesome pre-filled ones. I vividly remember having one like this a few times as a kid. Loved opening the little cardboard doors for a chocolate or sticker treat! Some even just had a cute little hidden picture inside.

If you follow one of these links to Amazon you can find an almost endless supply of all kinds of Advent calendars from magnetic, to paper, and more!!

I much prefer one that I can reuse and change each year. There are several options/ideas you could get or make to fill yourself. Each usually features numbers for each day. Hanging stockings, shelves, envelopes, pockets are all good options. You can fill them with candy, stickers, and pencils for treats. Another idea I can’t wait to try when my kiddos get older is notes featuring an act of kindness to achieve each day. My final idea here is using pictures or felt figures to create a Christmas scene or more specifically a Nativity scene.
I will be creating another blog post with a FREE template of all my nativity pieces! There are enough to pull one out of the advent calendar each night to add to the scene. Please subscribe to get access to this awesomeness coming soon!!

Felt Nativity Scene Stocking Advent Calendar

3. Special Routines

Another idea is saving 25 special ornaments to add one to the tree each day of the month. We also love having a new Christmas book to read each night. I wrap and number them for my kiddos and they take turns unwrapping one each night before bedtime stories. One of our books even has all 24 stories in one (I included the Amazon link to the exact book below). It makes things super simple with less wrapping and books to keep track of.

Books before wrapping

 

Now for those of you who really like the idea of the Elf watching behavior and reporting back to Santa. Here are some ideas.

1. I just tell my kids I call or text Santa after they are in bed to tell him how they are behaving. There is even a phone number with a Santa hotline set up if you need proof!

2. Writing letters is a very old school or traditional way of keeping in touch with Santa. It is also a great way to see how honest your children prove to be about their own actions.

3. A Santa cam is a good set and forget method. Use a Christmas bulb from the tree and craft it to make it look like a camera lens (when the kids aren’t around). Then just hang back on the tree and tell the kids that’s how Santa keeps a watch on them. (Here photo with an Esty link! So cute!!!)

Santa Cam

I hope you like all these ideas, if you have one you love to do with your family please share it with us in the comments! Or if your family loves that Elf, please share some of the silly things he does when visiting!

Also, PLEASE subscribe to my blog if you have any interest in some follow up Christmas traditions. I will only be emailing once a month to link you up with my newest posts and freebie downloads.

Coming Soon:
Christmas Story Book List
-DIY Felt Nativity Scene for Your Advent Calendar
-25 Acts of Christmas Kindness Challenge



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7 Thanksgiving Day Traditions to Share with Your Kids

7 Thanksgiving Day Traditions to Share with Kids

We love Thanksgiving at our house. It is a day about being at home, being thankful and eating. Here are some traditions I love to do with my family. Maybe you would like to share some with yours! 

Read on for 7 Thanksgiving Day Traditions to Share with Kids!

1. Watch the big New York parade on TV

Parade Excitement

I always enjoyed this tradition with my mom. The excitement was big for the giant balloons, marching bands and of course at the end, SANTA! There is usually singing and dancing happening in the living room as the musical guests and musical numbers are performed. I like hearing the history of certain balloons and floats. My children like to look for familiar cartoon characters as they watch.

2. Make a big fancy breakfast

Turkey Pancakes 7 Thanksgiving Day Traditions to Share with Kids

This is mostly because dinner cooking is in full swing during lunch, so that meal is tiny and/or forgotten. This year for breakfast, we are making turkey pancakes with apple slice feathers and scrambled eggs on the side. I will update with a photo once we have made our creations.

3. Create placeholders and a centerpiece to decorate the table

Turkey Place Holders

My family eats dinner at the table every night, but this is special. Usually, there are extra guests and we get to eat in the dining room instead of the kitchen. It is fun to decorate! We made our turkey placeholders already. Using TP rolls cut in half, some markers, feathers, and tape. We drew on the turkey faces (you could use googly eyes instead if you have them). I gave my almost 6-year-old the guest list and he wrote each name on the other side. Finally, we taped the bottom of the feathers to the inside-back of the tube. As far as the place-mats go, I am going to print my tree ring template from my previous post (go read it here). I am going to add a little thankful scavenger hunt to each one for my guests to write down and be fully mindful of the reason we are feasting!

4. Make a Meal Menu

I make one of these for myself when shopping, but Thanksgiving Day we need the list so nothing is forgotten as we are cooking! No fun if you miss someone’s favorite dish or forget to take the cranberry sauce out of the oven. A fun way to keep the kids entertained is to talk to them about the list and have them illustrate and write one themselves. They will even like to check things off as they are completed just as much as the cook! I will update with photos of what my kiddos create this year.

5. Helping Cook

Pie Crust Making with a Kid 7 Thanksgiving Day Traditions to Share with Kids

This can be a scary idea for many people, but this is one of the joys of the day. Especially for people who really love to cook and entertain like my hubby. How else can you share and impart this onto your children unless you involve them! Some ideas for involving the kids easily are 1. Picking only one dish to be theirs to help with like, “Harry, you are sous chef of mashed potatoes!”, or; 2. Picking only one job they will help with, like stirring, mashing, or adding in measured out ingredients.

Here is an awesome recipe for cooking pumpkin pie!

6. Admire and add to the Thankful Tree

Thankful tree looking good

Hopefully, you have already read about my November Family Thankful Project. On Thanksgiving, we add another leaf and sometimes go back to read some of the ones we have written throughout the month. I usually make my guests add a leaf to our tree as well.

7. Writing to each guest about why we are thankful for them

Writing or drawing to express our gratitude for our guests is like a step-up from the thankful tree. Taking the time to share those grateful thoughts is amazingly powerful for both parties. Who doesn’t like hearing nice things about themselves? I love the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from thanking another. Speaking of which, THANK YOU for reading this and following my journey on here. I hope to bring you much more in the future and I hope you enjoyed reading 7 Thanksgiving Day Traditions to Share with Kids.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Mini Crock Pot Ad 7 Thanksgiving Day Traditions to Share with Kids

Click photo to follow the link. Full disclosure, I got mine from the thrift shop for 5 bucks!!! Check there if you want to be thrifty!!!

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