New Year’s Eve Countdown Bags for Kids & Tweens

“Countdown Bags” are one of my favorite ways to ring in a new year. I started doing this when my 3 kids were little, and over the years, I have adapted this tradition in a variety of ways. This year my husband had to work until 9pm and my teenage boys made plans to play Airsoft with friends, so it was just going to be my girl and I counting down for most of the evening. I wanted to make it really fun for her, so I let her invite a couple of friends over and got to work creating a memorable tween friendly event.

I am learning that 11 year old girls love to be silly and have fun with planned activities, but also like to have a good amount of unstructured time when they get together, so I planned the night to incorporate both. I purchased a pack of shimmery silver lunch sized bags and filled them with a variety of fun things that they could do on the hour, every hour, from 4:00 pm – midnight. I bought some glittery card stock in a couple of different colors and I created clocks to glue on the front of each bag. #CommissionsEarned

I filled the bags ahead of time, and since some of the items were too large to fit in the bags, I wrapped them and included times to correlate with the bags that they went with.

The girls arrived at 4:00 and we kicked off the night with “photo booth fun!” I already had a large piece of black material that I had used for a variety of party backdrops. I also kept some props and decorations from our 2020 New Year’s Eve celebration, so I reused them and added a string of white Christmas lights as a border. The girls took a few fun shots and then went off to giggle and chat about all the things. #CommissionsEarned

At 5:00 they opened the next bag. This one had them wondering, because there was a huge ball hanging over the countdown bags, wrapped in black plastic. They had guessed that it might be a disco ball and were shocked to find that it was really light. They opened it to find a beach ball with questions written all over it in sharpie. This game turned out to be so much fun and they came back to playing it several times throughout the night.

Somewhere between 5:00-6:00 the girls ate dinner, which was just a super easy Papa Murphy’s take and bake pizza and some fruit. Then at 6:00 they opened the next bag. I planned ahead for a game of “Whiteboard Pictionary” by printing off a list of fun and easy prompts. I folded each one and put them all in a mason jar and include a whiteboard marker in the bag. This is another game that didn’t take the entire hour, so it left a good amount of downtime for whatever the girls wanted to do.

7:00 was probably my favorite because I am such a crafty girl at heart. I purchased 3 plain canvas tote bags and I already had a variety of paintbrushes and acrylic paints from previous projects. I found some fun “create your own tote bag” inspiration on Pinterest and grabbed a roll of painters tape so the girls could try some of the geometric tote bag ideas. I would have to say, that they turned out pretty cute! #CommissionsEarned

The girls were so curious to find out what 8:00 was all about because they noticed at the beginning of the night that there was a large mass of “something” taped to the ceiling under a black plastic table cloth. They finally got to rip into the plastic and a bunch of balloons cascaded down on them. The object of the balloon game is to pop the balloons one at a time and do whatever activity is found on the piece of paper hidden inside. Some of the tasks I included were: leapfrog across the room, dance an Irish jig, make a 3 person pyramid, and run outside and yell Happy New Year 5 times as loud as you can.

At 9:00 the girls opened an extra little package in front of the countdown bag that was too large to fit inside. It was a small wooden movie clapboard and I included a couple of chalk pens as well. They had already been doing TikTok dances throughout the night, but this hour was dedicated time to do just that. #CommissionsEarned

By 10:00 these girls were showing no signs of slowing down, so I planned to tire them out with glow in the dark balloon games. I taped off three sections in the middle of my living room with some of the painters tape so each girl had her own zone. Then I brought out 15 balloons I had blown up earlier in the day with glow sticks inside. You can also purchase glow balloons on Amazon. We put all of the balloons in the middle and turned the lights out. I played music on my phone while the girls tried to keep all of the balloons out of their section. When the music stopped they had to freeze. I would also switch the light on and the winner was the one with the least amount of balloons in their zone. After each game, they rotated spots. I think they played about 7 rounds with lots of squeals and giggles before taking a snack break of rice crispy treats and s’mores dip. #CommissionsEarned

I wanted to do something exciting at the 11:00 hour, so I bought 3 cans of silly string and sent the girls outside for an EPIC SILLY STRING BATTLE!!! This may have only taken a few minutes, but it was hilarious to watch and was so much fun! #CommissionsEarned

Our 12:00 HAPPY NEW YEAR bag was filled with poppers and horns, so I let the girls open this one at 11:45. We also busted out the Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider and some “fancy glasses!” and got ready to ring in the New Year. We ran outside at 20 seconds to midnight with poppers and horns ready to go, counted down to 2022, yelled HAPPY NEW YEAR for all of neighborhood to hear, popped our poppers, and then came back inside to toast to a new year. #CommissionsEarned

For another fun New Year’s Eve idea check out my previous blogpost:

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is always a much anticipated night for our family.  It is, of course, the one night a year that my little night owls are given permission to stay up until midnight!  We started the tradition of celebrating a “family friendly” New Year’s Eve a couple of years ago.  Some years we have joined together with other families.  This year it was just the 5 of us at home for the evening.

fullsizeoutput_d589I kept things inexpensive by hitting up our local Dollar Tree for supplies, and then I went to work.  I already had paper bags, card stock, and glue sticks, so our “On the Hour Bags” didn’t cost a dime!  My plan was to start our evening festivities at 6:00, so I made a bag for each hour from 6:00 pm – Midnight.  I googled “free printable clock templates” and then added the clock hands to each one before printing them out onto white card stock.  I traced around a bowl to get perfect circles on the shiny blue and sparkly card stock behind the clocks.  A few finishing touches later, and the bags were done.

What was in each bag?  Each bag contained something that had to do with the activity for that hour.

6:00 pm: Time Capsule Printouts & A Mason Jar     We started a new tradition this year, and it was a huge hit!  I looked up some ideas for the time capsule template on Pinterest, and then created my own for our family.  We began our evening by sitting at the table together and filling in our favorites, reflections from 2016, & resolutions for 2017.  Then we read them to each other, rolled them up and placed them in a mason jar.  Our plan is to open them up on New Year’s Eve 2017, read them together, and then create a new time capsule.  I’m pretty sure this will continue to be a treasured tradition.

fullsizeoutput_d58dimg_53897:00 pm: Glow Sticks & Balloons     This was SO….MUCH….FUN!  We put glow sticks in balloons and then had an epic living room battle.  Boys vs. Girls with Dad as the DJ.  We turned off all the lights and made a line of glow sticks dividing the floor in half, girls on one side, boys on the other, with 6 glowing balloons on each side.  When Dad played the music, we would try to get all the balloons onto the opposing side.  When the music stopped the team with the least balloon on their side was the winner.  The girls started off strong, but after 5 rounds, the boys were the ultimate winners!  I’m telling you…I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!     

img_53948:00 pm: Popcorn & A Red Box Movie     Popcorn and movie nights are a family favorite for us, and my kids really wanted to see the movie Storks!  Perfect for one of our New Year’s Eve activities!

img_54039:00 pm: Gummy Worms with a “Dessert Break” note attached     We took an intermission from the movie to get dessert.  This year, I made a delicious ice cream pie with a clock face.  I used gluten free Joe Joe’s cookies from Trader Joes to make an “oreo” crust, filled it in with vanilla bean ice cream, and poured homemade chocolate fudge frosting over the top.  While it was setting in the freezer, I made a clock on wax paper out of melted white chocolate and placed it on top of the frozen pie.  We also included gummy worms for the “non ice cream eater” in our family.

fullsizeoutput_d5bc10:00 pm: M&M’s, Marshmallows, and Straws     Game Time: I found this idea under “minute to win it” games on Pinterest.  I set the table with two paper plates for each player.  One plate contained M&M’s and marshmallows.  The other was empty.  Each player was given a straw (cut to about 3/4 size).  At my “GO” the players had to suck up the candies and mallows to make them stick to their straw and transfer them from one plate to the next.  The first player to get all of theirs transferred had to call out “Happy New Year!”  Micah for the win!

img_541311:00 pm: A Big Bag of Skittles     Make a rainbow science experiment!  I had seen a couple of videos on youtube of this simple and fascinating science experiment, so I thought it would be a fun way to keep my tired children awake that last hour before the ball dropped.  Check out our “make a rainbow” video!

12:00 pm: Cups for Sparkling Cider and Party Horns     We opened our final bag about 10 minutes early.  Little Sister put on her party hat (she was the only one willing to wear one this year).  We filled our cups with cider and got ready to ring in the New Year!  We found a countdown on TV, and when the clock struck midnight, we ran outside yelling Happy New Year!!! Oh, and Micah finally got the chance to use that blow horn he got for Christmas! fullsizeoutput_d5ba