I'm so excited…this year we're having our first-ever family party for New Year's! I've got a bunch of ideas up my sleeve and wanted to share them with you before the big night, so you could have them in time with your kids or grandkids. Then, after the party's over, I'll add to this post with how it went and try to get some pictures!
This was the hardest part to come up with as toddlers and preschoolers don't need many activities to have fun. I find they are usually happy playing with other kids' toys and running around! I decided to still have activities because there will be some elementary aged kids at the party. I have stations set up around the house to keep people moving. I imagine some of the kids and parents will love having the activities, and some will just want to hang out with the adults and let the kids play by themselves. So, there's no pressure and I'll just go with the flow!
Make Your Own Clock Necklace Station
I have a card table set up in the playroom with cardstock, brads, markers and clock hands. The kids can make their own clocks, color and decorate them! I have holes punched in the top of the clocks and yarn strung on them to make them into necklaces that they can wear during our clubbing party and balloon drop. I got the free printable clock from here and shrunk it down in Microsoft Word so two fit on a page.
I printed out some cute New Year's coloring pages from this website and will put them on the kid's sized tables we have with crayons for those who'd like to color.
Hat Decorating Station
I bought plain party hats, stickers, and little jewels. I'm going to let them decorate their own hats that they can wear during the party.
I've set up an area in our dining room with a bed sheet taped to the wall and funny glasses, scarves, hats, and mustaches and will either take pictures for my friends or let them take with their camera phones.
I have goodie bags filled with things from the dollar store that they can use at the party – a glow in the dark bracelet, a glitter glue stick, a noise maker, and a fun straw to drink with. I also included this free printable of a 2013 year in review that the parents can fill out with their kids when they get home. They are paper bags and they can also decorate and color on them if they wish.
Parade or Club Dancing
Since most of us parents used to be cool at one time and may or may not have had some all-nighters in the club phases, I'd love to have a mini club atmosphere so we can feel cool and young again (smile). I plan to turn on techno music, and pass out all our toy instruments. I'll get the kids to wear their hats and we can dance around the living room with only the lights from the Christmas tree on!
If we feel up to it, I thought of turning it into a parade where we'll march around the house singing and playing our instruments!
We may not be in Times Square, but we can make it feel like we are! I plan to blow up a ton of balloons and drop them from a trash bag from the top of the stair landing onto the kids below, after we do a countdown. Then, they can play with the balloons!
Take Home Goodies
Along with their goodie bags, the kids can take home a balloon from the balloon drop and I have mylar balloons for decorations that I want to give one to each of them to take home! Remember, young kids are simpler and I find that most stuff they are given at parties gets thrown to the side or ends up in the trash can. I'm trying not to buy stuff that's just junk. I know little ones LOVE balloons and those won't be a waste!
Other Ideas (that I might add next year)
- Fireworks Painting: Using glitter glue (you can get 10 tubes to a pack at the Dollar Store), have the kids do a fireworks painting. I have so many other things going on that I probably won't include this idea, but wanted to share it.
Here are my other tips for a party that have worked well for me so far.
Pick a Time When Children Are Well-Rested
Pick a time when most of the kids will be awake and well-rested. We chose from 4 to 7 p.m., with the idea that the families come over after the afternoon naps.
The Food – Healthier But Still Yummy
I know it's probably common sense, but I'm gonna state it just in case. I feel it's very important to offer healthy options (like a raw veggies, cheese, fruit, or a meal) and not just chips, crackers, pizza and sweets. Small children like preschoolers and toddlers already have a difficult time at parties as there is usually a lot of of stimulation and excitement, so adding a sugar high and junk food overload to it can send them into a tail spin. We eat differently than most people as we have cut out ALL processed food. That includes crackers, chips, dips and all those things that make having a party easier. So, I admit, it has been a challenge for me to come up with healthy, yummy food and appetizers to feed everyone. I chose to have:
- Chicken Tortilla Soup (that is GAPS friendly for us) with sour cream, avocadoes and cheddar cheese to add as toppings
- Yellow Coconut Cake (GAPS friendly that is sweetened with honey, so the sugar high will be less, plus the coconut flour adds a lot of protein)
- Brie and camembert cheeses (not sure if it's GAPS friendly, but it's not processed)
- Apple juice for the kids (not as healthy as homemade juice, but I'd have to juice a ton of apples which would be very costly and time consuming. Still healthier than store-bought sweet tea and lemonade).
- Organic sparkling pear cider for the kids, champagne for the adults
- Fruit, veggies, homemade guacamole and salsa and organic tortilla chips (not GAPS friendly at all, but for the pleasure of my friends who'd like some chips)