Noon Year's Eve Balloon Countdown is a Kid-Friendly Way to Celebrate

December 23, 2020

New Year's Eve isn't always the most kid-friendly holiday since most of the action happens too late at night. This year, even with most of us at home, kids will likely be in bed long before the clock strikes midnight. (Truth be told, we likely will be too!)

So we're going with our own version of an (earlier) New Year’s ball drop to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021: a Noon Year's Eve balloon-popping countdown with activities that range from silly to serious. It's sure to keep the whole family busy and having fun all day long.

Here’s how to play the balloon countdown:

  • Write down 12 family activities on individual slips of paper and insert one each into 12 balloons before blowing up.
  • Number the balloons 1 through 12 with a permanent marker.
  • Beginning at noon 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, you can pop a balloon every half hour or just fill enough balloons to last you until bedtime.

What kind of activities to include? That's up to you! Need ideas? You could...

  • Color a picture (type "Happy New Year Coloring Page" into a search engine)
  • Have a dance party
  • Play a board game
  • Try a round of indoor hopscotch with masking or painter's tape
  • Eat a cupcake
  • Play Balloon Ping Pong
  • Go outside for a snowball toss
  • Make each other into snowmen using toilet paper, scarves, hats, and construction paper
  • Put on a puppet show
  • Make a confetti launcher and noisemaker for midnight
  • Have a jumping jacks contest
  • Play Simon Says
  • Build something with LEGO® bricks
  • Play a "Minute to Win It" game like:
    • Defying Gravity: Keep two balloons in the air for 60 seconds only using your mouth.
    • Tissue Toss: Using both hands, empty an entire tissue box.
    • Tweeze Me: Use tweezers relocate 5 tic tacs from one bowl to another
    • M&M Race: Use a straw transfer M&Ms from one plate to another
    • This Blows: Use a straw and a plastic cup; blow till your cup falls off the opposite side of the table.
    • Face the Cookie: Place cookie on forehead and only using facial muscles you must try to get the cookie in your mouth. No hands!
    • Unicorn: Stack 7 cookies on your forehead.

Other ideas for at-home "Noon" Year's Eve fun:

Create a wishing wall.
Have each family member write down a wish or two for the coming year on colored squares of paper. Then arrange the squares on a large poster board or corkboard and hang on the wall for decoration. At the beginning of each month, add on or make changes to your wishing wall throughout the year.

Make a family vision board. 
Similar to a wishing wall, it's a great choice for kids who are too young to write or use their words as effectively. Work together to 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 as your kids get older.

Work on 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. Kids can illustrate when complete.

Happy new year! Here's to a brighter 2021.