I know there is no Mama in Florida who wants their pre-schooler up past bedtime. In fact, most of us Mamas fight against this every night of the year. December 31st is no different. Instead of hosting a raging party that starts at 8, 9 or 10 pm, I’ve started hosting NOON Year’s Eve parties. The best part? They end at 1:00pm, which is usually when under 5 year olds go down for their afternoon nap.
1. The party time.
In the past we have set the party time from 10am to 1pm. This works really well because usually moms are late and the party will really start at 11am! Hand out party hats and clappers as kids enter the house, and teach each of them how to use it. Tell the kids that when there is 10 seconds left to go you’ll ring in the new year. Then have fun counting down with the kids as the clock strikes noon! For added festive fun, have the channel switched to a news channel covering somewhere in the world where they are celebrating the new year at 12 noon. I think it might be China. Bonus points if you can say Happy New Year in multiple languages.
2. The food.
Some cultures eat special things at new years. My family eats grapes, and my husband’s family enjoys sauerkraut. You can try it with your kids, however, I’m not sure if either of these things are popular with the preschool set but know what is? Goldfish. Give the kids 12 goldfish at the strike of noon and have them gobble up some good luck for the new year! Or make a cake that looks like a clock face and serve up twelve slices. If cake seems to heavy, make sugar cookies and ice numbers on them. As a special treat, give them sparkling apple cider, or simple apple juice. My children only get juice on Sundays (no cavities here!) And when kids don’t get something every day, some thing as little as a special juice can make their day more special.
3. The guest list.
For this year end party be sure to invite your child’s dearest friends. Each night before bed my daughter prays, “Thank you God for my family and each of my friends…” then goes on to list them by name. Because of this, I’ve got inside knowledge into who she wants at her party. And if your child goes to a school that has the policy that every child ought to be invited to every party, then this is a great event to teach your child how to be a good hostess. Because the child that always gets left out, or invited out of obligation has feelings too. And sometimes letting them play with your child’s favorite toy is just how they need to end their year.
4. Decor: To balloon or not to balloon.
I love the ides of dropping balloons on the children at 12 o’clock in the afternoon. It seems like a really memorable way to end the year with the kids. On the other hand, balloons are a choking hazard for children and, if they are taken outside, for animals too. I haven’t done balloons at parties in years, but I still really like the idea. If you do, Just take a plastic table cloth, stick it to the ceiling, and fill it with balloons. As the clock strikes 12:00pm, pull one end and let the cascade of balloons thrill the children. OR for a more eco-friendly approach, get a bubble machine, and turn this on at the strike of noon. Preschoolers love bubbles, and you can purchase a bubble machine for less than $25 at Wal-Mart.
5. Party favors.
Send the children on their way with dollar store calendars of 2019, and a box of 12 new crayons. Bonus points if you put in all of their friend’s birthdays in the calendars. Or, if that seems like too much work, send the tyke home with 12 stickers each. Children this age love stickers and reinforcing the idea that there are 12 months in a year is an educational bonus.
So there you have it, my 5 simple ideas of how to throw a NOON Year’s Eve party. How do you celebrate the New Year with preschoolers?