Christmas is officially done and my bank account is officially empty. Yet I find myself with one more week of winter break from school and two children bored to death. Does this sound familiar? If it does, don’t worry. I have an idea or two left up my sleeve for ringing in the New Year without wringing out your wallet.
Free Holiday Reads: I know I harp on the Library A LOT, but it’s such a great FREE community resource. I was surprised to find out that there are actually quite a few New Year’s books out there. We own Natasha Wing’s The Night Before New Year’s because I am obsessed with all her books, but I also found Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution, Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas, and Ruby’s Chinese New Year. If your library doesn’t stock these titles and can’t borrow them for you on an inter-library loan, then check out the links below for the free read aloud videos of them.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7KYTfTDIyk (Night Before New Year’s)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAMDa-udC_I (Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfD7Go7do9Q (Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfoOGzSciL8 (Ruby’s Chinese New Year)
Free coloring pages: Got crayons? Got a printer? Got paper? If you answered ‘yes’ to all three, then you’ve bought yourself a free afternoon of coloring fun. The link below will take you to Crayola’s no-muss, no-fuss website where you can print some really cute New Year’s Eve inspired coloring pages without the annoying subscriptions and pop ups.
Wild New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day hike: This one isn’t free, but for a very low cost our park district offers a kid friendly way to ring in the New Year at the nature center. Children break into groups and learn about how animals celebrate the new year by hibernating. They get to pet a snake, bunny, and turtle as well as make a New Year’s inspired craft like a party hat or toilet paper tube rice shaker. At 11:50 a.m. there’s music and a countdown culminating in a grape juice and cookie toast and utter chaos as the kids get to throw recycled paper shreds everywhere.
This will be the first year they are offering the New Year’s day hike, so stay tuned for how that went. Also, keep in mind that you can take your own New Year’s Day hike for free! Check out both events at the link below and don’t forget to check your local park district for similar activities.
https://www.stcnature.org/ (Hickory Knolls Wild New Year’s Eve/New Year’s day hike)
Free Kid’s Workouts: I found a kid’s 2021 New Year’s workout video. It’s cheesy and fun- basically doing jumping jacks in front of a fireworks background. Check out the link for it below and get your sweat on!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwp0KrJHfH4 (Kid’s New Year’s work out)
Visit Time’s Square virtually: Through the mighty power of YouTube you can take your kids to Time’s Square in New York sans the expensive plane ticket, overpriced hotel, risk of contracting the Omicron variant, the crowds, and freezing your butt off. This way you don’t have to wait till midnight to ring in the New Year. Add balloons, party horns, and a sparkling grape juice toast for the full effect!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6D2Jo3WQ4k (weirdest New Year’s Eve Time’s square ball drop ever, thanks Covid!)
Themed bath: You all know we can’t have a thrifty mom holiday post without a themed bath to bribe your kids into getting clean. These are so much fun for really little kids and they can be as elaborate or simple as you want them to be. For the most part, bath products are pretty inexpensive as long as you are sticking to Target, Dollar Tree, Meijer, and Five Below. Don’t try to order any of this stuff online or you will get screwed with shipping costs because the items themselves are so inexpensive. For example, Target will ship a lot of this stuff, but only with orders of $35 or more…which works out great if you have other things you need but annoys the heck out of you if you don’t! Let’s see what goodies I found for our New Year’s Eve bath this year!
Starting left to right: Dollar Tree had Trolls rainbow bath dust- we’ve never tried this before so I’m super excited to see what it does! I found the neon bath paints in the Target dollar bin. The Champagne bottle bubble bath and bath confetti (pictured below) were random finds at Walgreens. The bath bomb was from Walmart and has a glowing LED light in the middle. It reminded me of the Time’s Square ball. Be aware that it did warn of a choking hazard for kiddos under three! The bath crackles on the far-right were from The Dollar Tree. I found some sparkly rubber ducks on Amazon.com. They look really neat online, so I hope they look as awesome when they get here. Check them out at this link: https://www.amazon.com/Metallic-Assorted-Stocking-Stuffers-Supplies/dp/B093TGM5YR/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=glitter%2Brubber%2Bducks&qid=1639830300&sr=8-5&th=1
New Year’s blinged out breakfast: My kid’s had a blast making crazy colored New Year’s pancakes! Simply mix up your favorite pancake recipe and add several drops of different colors of food coloring to the batter. Drag a knife through the mix in a swirl pattern. Be careful not to mix it in too much or your pancakes will come out grey. For some extra bling add sprinkles, fruit, or whip cream on top!
Throw a family friendly party: In the wake of Covid last year everything was cancelled for New Year’s so we threw our own party in the basement. We made a pinata with an inflated balloon and paper mache. For instructions on making your own pinata checkout one of my previous blog posts: Birthday Bargains.
Next, we used toilet paper rolls, balloons, paint, glitter, and construction paper to make our own confetti poppers. Check out this AMAZING link below for step-by-step instructions.
You can’t have a party without hats and decoration now, can you? If you have paper, construction paper, scissors, glue, paint, and glitter then you can make your own party signs like we did below. I also scrounged around and found some party hats that were left over from a birthday. We painted them and blinged them out with pipe cleaners and pom-poms but you can also make your own hats out of construction paper too. See the link below for the free printable templates.
What’s a New Year’s party without balloons? I had a bunch left over so we filled the stairwell and basement with them. Did you know that in the winter it’s really easy to use static electricity to stick the balloons to the ceiling? This fascinated our kids for hours and led to an unexpected science lesson.
https://www.google.com/search?q=explaining+static+electricity+to+kids&oq=explaining+static+electricity+to+kids&aqs=edge..69i57.9278j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#kpvalbx=_iRa-Yf60MpKqtQawzaZg19 (You Tube video explaining static electricity to kids)
Now for some munchies! The kids helped me make some marvelous rice crispy treats using some left-over Christmas cereal. We discovered that PopRocks (available at The Dollar Tree, Walmart, or Party City) make an edible party popper in our mouths. Puppy chow with Rice Chex cereal is another great recipe that’s fun and easy for the kid’s to help with.
Last, but not least, we capped off our evening with some glow stick fun! This year I am excited to announce that I found these glowing New Year’s ball drop balls at The Dollar Tree. Can’t wait to see how they work!
As always, I hope you find these tips helpful in creating your own free/low-cost family fun! Have a safe and happy time creating your New Year’s Eve memories!