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Kid-Friendly New Year's Countdown

By Emily Cowan December 22, 2021
New Year's isn't always the most kid-friendly holiday since most of the action happens too late at night.

In our house, we keep things interesting with own version of a New Year’s ball drop: a balloon-popping countdown with hourly activities that range from silly to serious with a lot of loony in-between.

Here’s how to play:

Write down 12 family activities on individual slips of paper and insert one into 12 balloons before inflating.

Number the balloons 1 through 12 with a Sharpie and you’re all set.

Beginning at 1 PM 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 do enough balloons to last you until bedtime.)

The activities can be anything – making a favorite snack together, blowing bubbles in the kitchen, playing Twister, whatever floats your family’s boat. I always try to mix sure-fire hits (Jenga!) with a few quieter, more thoughtful projects.

A few suggestions:

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. 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. 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 along with you.

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. Illustrate if desired!

Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year 2022!