Ring in the New Year: 9 Kid-Approved New Year’s Eve Celebrations

As parents, New Year’s Eve takes on a whole new meaning. Instead of fancy clothes, too much champagne and partying well into the wee hours of the New Year, it’s all about having fun with the fam and maybe eating chips and dips while watching Ryan Seacrest countdown the minutes in Time Square. However you choose to celebrate this year, we’ve put together a list of fun celebrations that will let your little ones ring in the New Year a few hours early. Cheers!

happy new year decorations

 photo: Kenna Konoske

Ring in the New Year at Celebration Lane USA
If the Littles can’t stay up ‘til midnight or you just want to get it over early (like days early), head over to The Bellevue Collection’s Celebration Lane USA where you can celebrate the New Year starting the day after Christmas. The nightly 7 p.m. performances will feature all new Americana-inspired costumes and songs, new festive routines, music worth celebrating, dazzling lights and characters, and dramatic drumming with a New Year’s twist. Psst! Be sure to catch the festive bubbles as they fall from the sky. Dec. 26–31, 2014. 7 p.m. Bellevue. Free. Event details.  

celebration lane

 photo: The Bellevue Collection 

A Very Kindie New Year’s Eve with Recess Monkey
Ring in the New Year (a few days early) kindie-style! Join one of the hottest bands, Recess Monkey, for a special New Year’s Eve edition on Dec. 27, 2014. Formal attire is encouraged for the “Countdown to Noon,” and the party wouldn’t be complete without a ball drop and juice toast. Dec. 27, 2014 from 10:30 a.m.-noon. Seattle. $5/person or $15/family. Tickets requiredEvent details.

Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Daytime Party at Imagine Children’s Museum
Just because you’re partying before it even gets dark out, doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun! The Imagine Children’s Museum goes all out for their annual Daytime Party—music, tons of little kid dancing and traditional NYE crafts such as crazy hats and noisemakers. The celebration lasts from 12 p.m.–4 p.m. and you can enjoy the Museum exhibits before or after the special activities. Dec. 31, 2014 from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. (museum open 10 a.m.-5 p.m.). Everett. Free with admission or membership. Event details.

Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Nighttime Party at Imagine Children’s Museum
If you really want to make this a New Years’s Eve to remember, get your tickets to the Imagine Children’s Museum’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Party! At this blow out celebration, watch comedian and juggler Eric Haines as he entertains you with his stilt walking and juggling shenanigans, enjoy a high-energy, interactive musical and comedy show with Cowboy Buck and Elizabeth and participate in plenty of fun activities including balloon twisting, face painting, hat making and more. Food and beverages will be available for purchase if all these fun activities work up an appetite. And remember to dress for the weather. Rain or shine, the lighted ball will drop outside the Museum at 9 p.m. Dec. 31, 2014 from 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Everett. Purchase tickets in advance. Event details

New Year’s Eve Around the World at Seattle Children’s Museum
Want to celebrate the New Year with India, Russia, France and Morocco? Head to the Seattle Children’s Museum on New Year’s Eve Day. From 11 a.m.–4 p.m., families will be able to celebrate with different countries around the world, just as those countries are ringing in the New Year themselves. Each hourly celebration includes a fruit juice toast and a craft from that country. Dec. 31, 2014 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (museum open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.). Seattle. Free with admission or membership. Event details.

photo: Seattle Children’s Museum

New Year’s at Noon at KidsQuest Children’s Museum
Who needs fireworks when you can make some really cool popping sounds during a bubble wrap stomp, the highlight of this annual made-for-kids, daytime New Year’s Eve celebration! Dec. 31, 2014 at noon. Bellevue. Free with admission or membership. Event details.

Noon Year’s Eve Party at Hands On Children’s Museum
Celebrate 2015 with lots of shimmer, sparkle, and shine at the Hands On Children’s Museum as you watch the disco ball drop. Kids will enjoy arts and crafts and face painting as well as learning about the science behind our calendar as they count down the minutes to the New Year at noon. Plus, everyone will love playing with light and shadows in the shadow play room and learning about nocturnal and hibernating animals in the Naturalist Cabin. Dec. 31, 2014 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Olympia. $8 to $10/child; $4/adult. Pre-registration is strongly recommended. Event details.

new year's eve kids

 photo: Kenna Konoske

First Night in Downtown Tacoma’s Theater District
Families south of Seattle and in Tacoma have made First Night a New Year’s Eve tradition for over 20 years! It doesn’t begin until 6 p.m., but if you’re willing to keep the kiddos up a little bit late, or if you have older kids, everyone in your brood will enjoy strolling around this (alcohol-free) arts-centered New Year’s Eve festival. The main event kicks off with a participatory parade that includes marching bands, costumes, masks and giant puppets. As the parade ends music, dance, laughter fire and magic light up 20 different stages and spaces until midnight. Note: The outdoor events are free to all festival goers. Dec. 31, 2014 from 6 p.m.-midnight. Tacoma. Outdoor activities free; access to indoor performances $10 to $15. Event details.

New Year’s Eve at the Needle
For those of you who are feeling brave this year, there’s nothing like heading down to the Seattle Center to watch the fireworks shoot off the top of the Space Needle when we turn the calendar from 2014 to 2015. The crowds are crazy and it’s freezing cold outside, but it will all be worth it when you see your kids’ eyes light up! Get down there early to enjoy a free rockin’ dance party with The Nines (starting at 8 p.m. in The Armory) and then grab a good spot under the Needle. Don’t forget to bundle up! Dec. 31, 2014 from 8 p.m.-midnight. Seattle. Free. Event details.

new year's eve space needle

photo: Wallslide via Flickr

If your crew would rather stay home on New Year’s Eve, you can still celebrate 2015 at Redmond Town Center on New Year’s Day. RTC is hosting their first-ever Glow in the Dark Skating Party complete with glow in the dark bracelets, glow sticks and necklaces. The DJ will liven up the rink with freeze skate games and top-forty music and there will be yummy New Year’s treats to enjoy as well as fluorescent face painting and nail polish.

We’d love to hear how you’re spending New Year’s Eve with your kids this year? Share with us in the comments below!

— Kristina Moy & Katie Kavulla