How to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the kids

Oh, the revelry of New Year’s Eve: the drinking, the debauchery, the first kiss of the new year. Perfect for kids, right? Not so much.

If you’re looking for something family-friendly to do with the kids, we have two local events designed for that:

Austin’s New Year. A family-friendly New Year’s Eve party with events throughout the day beginning at 3 p.m. Fireworks are at 10 p.m. Step into the Kids Magic Forest for the Bike Zoo, Dark Stack Media’s liquid light show, a giant Austin piñata, a stop-motion animation station, a crafting station, a magical fairy world and a train. Auditorium Shores, 900 W. Riverside Drive.

New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop & Bubble Wrap Stomp! Ring in 2018 with crafts, snowball fights and balloon drops at noon and 2 p.m. Tickets required: $12. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Jonathan Davis dances with his 8-year-old daughter, Gigi, at Austin’s New Year at Auditorium Shores in 2013.  JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

You also can create your own memories at home.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Look through all of your photos from the year with the kids and create a collage together. You can go to photo printing sites or even drug stores with photo printing capabilities (like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart), and create the collage and then have it printed for framing or for a scrapbook. You can even turn them into New Year’s cards if you didn’t get around to the holiday cards this year. The important thing is to remember all the good (and bad) times you had.
  2. Create a ritual of letting go of the past. If your kids are young you can write down or draw  the bad memories of the past year and tear up those papers into pieces. If they are older, light a fire and throw the pieces of paper into the fire. Roasting marshmallows afterwards could be an added bonus.
  3. Create a family resolution. Do you want to spend more time together? Eat dinner together? Have screen-free times? Do the laundry better? Or maybe you want to finally do something fun you’ve been putting off.
  4. Take a New Year’s Eve walk around the neighborhood. This is your last chance to see the Christmas lights around the neighborhood.
  5. Party at home. Make hors d’oeuvres, watch a movie and toast the new year with sparkling grape juice. Get noise makers and hats to really make it a party. Dance around at whatever you decide your midnight is (could be 8 p.m., maybe even 9 or 10) and count down with gusto.

Happy New Year!

Author: Nicole Villalpando

Nicole Villalpando writes about families in the Raising Austin blog and the Raising Austin column on Saturdays. She also offers a weekly and monthly family calendar at She tweets at @raisingaustin.

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