Things to Do with Kids on New Year’s Eve – DC Area and At Home

Whether you want to bundle up and head outside for New Year's Eve or spend a cozy evening with your family, below are 10 Things to Do with Kids on New Year's Eve below! (Updated for 2021)


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Things to Do with Kids on New Year’s Eve in the DC Area:

#1 Noon Yards Eve is in Person This Year!

After a virtual event last year, the popular Noon Yards Eve is back in person for 2021. From 10 AM to 1 PM on December 31st. From their website: "Families in the area will be treated to a New Years themed event with activations including balloon artistry, giant slide, musical and magical performances, carnival games, glitter tattoos, and the ever-popular trackless train ride throughout Yards Park. When the clock strikes noon, guests will enjoy a signature moment to ring in 2022!"

#2 First Night Alexandria Drive-In Concert Experience

First Night Alexandria is celebrating 27 years with tons of activities during the day and night. This year, they will have 2 Kids Celebrate shows on Friday, December 31st, one from 12 PM-2 PM and another from 3-5 PM. Located at the Masonic Temple and $5 per person. From their website: "live performances from Culture Queen, Mike Rose Magic, Groovy Nate, and a few surprises!"

More info here:

#3 Family New Years Party at Metrobar

Metrobar DC is hosting a Family New Years Party on Friday, December 31st from 4 - 7:30 PM at 640 Rhode Island Ave. NE. Free and register here.

From their website: "From 4 pm-7 pm, we're hosting a family-friendly celebration with kids' activities and games. At 7 pm, the ball drops and we'll ring in the New Year with a toast (bubbly for the adults, cider for the kids). Just enough time for you to get the kids to bed!

Don't worry about the cold: we have firepits, patio heaters, a 3-walled heated tent, and deck heat lamps. That, along with our festive cocktails, will keep you warm until we stop in 2022."

dc kids-on-new-years-eve

#4 Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore Noontime New Year!

Tons of family fun on Friday, December 31, and a Countdown to Noontime Show from 11:30-12:15. All the details and ticket info here.


  • All day: Spin Drums Studio Project
  • Welkcome Aboard Photo Area
  • Lighthouse Reading Coner
  • Bubbly Bubbles with Seashell the Mermaid at 10:30 AM
  • Tot Tales at 11AM
  • Greg May Circus Perfomance at 11 AM and 2PM
  • Music and Dance Floor with DJ Wavey Jones at 2PM
  • Cardboard Pirate Ship Rides at 2:30PM
  • Fishing Boat Carnival Game at 3PM.

New Year’s Eve Kids Activities At Home

#1 Balloon “Ball Drop” from Chandelier

This is a great idea from @500parks that’s so simple. We tried it last year and it was really fun! We did a countdown to the London New Year (7 PM EST) which makes it easier for young kiddos. I found a detailed tutorial to make one here or I will probably just use a bedsheet! And if you want to add a little pizazz to your party, here are a couple of items specifically for New Year's Eve (all in stock as of mid-December and under $15:

#2 Play a Board Game Together

Below are our family's favorites that have stood the test of time (and I don't hate playing...looking at you Chutes and Ladders!)

Ages 3-5

  1. Sneaky Snacky Squirrel
  2. Zingo (4+)
  3. Let's Go Fishin' (have seen a lot at thrift stores, although this a good price I think)

Ages 6-9

  1. Outfoxed (current fav in the house)
  2. Connect 4
  3. Slamwich (or cheaper version without the lunchbox here)
  4. Mouse Trap (got at a thirft store and still fun/my childhood!)

#3 Take a “Last Day of the Year” or “First Day of the Year” Hike as a family!

Lots of ideas in previous posts including Fall and Winter Social Distancing Spots and 20 Northern Virginia Kid-Friendly Hikes.

#4 Family Time Capsule Video

This is inspired by one of my favorite YouTubers, Amon and Christina from Our Rich Journey’s most recent video here. I’m not going to be fancy and fill in with videos throughout the year. We did this last year and will do it again this year. I am sure we will treasure it in the years to come!

  1. What is an amazing thing you expect to do by 2031?
  2. Favorite recent memory?
  3. What made you laugh the hardest recently?
  4. Favorite Movie?
  5. Favorite Song?
  6. Favorite Book?
  7. What are you best at?
  8. What made you really proud this year?
  9. What is something new that you think will be invented by 2031?
  10. 2021 in one word?
  11. What advice would you give your future self?

#5 Simple Thing to Do with Kids on New Years Day...“What We are Proud of in 2021” Poster

Put a sheet of paper on your fridge or wall and ask family members to record what they are proud of in 2021. It can be simple or profound. It’s so fun to read everyone’s contributions on New Year’s Eve. We did this last year and it was wonderful to have all our moments on one sheet of paper. Last year, my 4-year-old son said “I’m proud I had a dream about doing an experiment with Dino Dana” his favorite tv show! One that my 7-year-old wrote was, “I’m proud of learning more math.”

#6 Sesame Street Countdown on YouTube (pre-recorded)

Great suggestion from @Chelsey_dc to watch the pre-recorded ball drop (from a seal?) and drink some bubbly juice with your little one!

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a wonderful new year with the people you love!

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