Make Some Noise! 8 Kid-Friendly Celebrations to Ring in the New Year

Long gone are the days when New Year’s Eve meant fancy clothes, too much champagne, and partying long into the New Year. Now, New Year’s Eve is all about having fun with the fam, celebrating the awesome year you just spent together, and eating chips and dip while watching Ryan Seacrest countdown the minutes in Time Square. However you choose to celebrate this year, we’ve found some kid-approved celebrations that will let your little ones ring in the New Year a few hours early. That way once they’ve been put to bed, you’ve got a few hours to yourself to celebrate the end of 2013 and the start of 2014. Cheers!

new year's eve space needle

Ring in the New Year at Celebration Lane
If the Littles can’t stay up ‘til midnight or you just want to get it over early, head over to The Bellevue Collection’s Celebration Lane where you can celebrate the New Year at 7 p.m. The nightly performances will feature live toy soldiers with new festive routines, music worth celebrating, dazzling lights, and dramatic drumming with a New Year’s twist. December 26–31. 7 p.m. Bellevue. Free. Event details.  

New Year’s Eve with The Not-Its!
Ring in the New Year (a little early) kindie-style! Join one of the hottest bands, The Not-Its!, for a special New Year’s Eve edition on December 28. Formal attire is encouraged for the “Countdown to Noon,” and the party wouldn’t be complete without a ball drop and juice toast. December 28. Seattle. $5/person or $15/family. Event details.

New Year’s Eve Around the World at Seattle Children’s Museum
Want to celebrate the New Year with India, Russia, Madagascar and Morocco? Head to the Seattle Children’s Museum on New Year’s Eve Day. From 11 a.m.–5 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. December 31. Seattle. Free with admission. Event details.

new year's eve at seattle children's museum

New Year’s 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 2013 to 2014. 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 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! December 31. Seattle. Free. Event 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 Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Daytime Party – music, tons of little kid dancing and traditional NYE craft fun, such as party poppers, crazy hats and noisemakers. The celebration lasts from 12 p.m.–4 p.m. December 31. Everett. Free with admission. Event details.

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! December 31. Bellevue. Free with admission or membership. Event details.

Bubble stompers Dec 2010 124

Noon Year’s Eve Party at Hands On Children’s Museum
Bring the whole fam to the Hands On Children’s Museum to celebrate 2014 with lots of shimmer, sparkle, and shine as you watch the disco ball drop. Kiddos will enjoy arts and crafts, door prizes, treats and beverages plus a giant planetarium from the Pacific Science Center and Dr. Science experiment. December 31. Olympia. $12 to $15/child; $5/adult. Pre-registration is strongly recommended. Event details.

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 6:30 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 the Last Mile Fun Run at 6 p.m. and is followed by a participatory parade that includes marching bands, costumes, masks and giant puppets. As the parade ends music, dance, laughter fire and magic will light up 20 different stages and spaces until midnight. See the dozens of activities and performances that are just for kids online. Bonus: Kids 10 and older can purchase a $10 limited edition button and receive free admission on December 31 to three downtown Tacoma art museums including the Tacoma Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, and Children’s Museum of Tacoma as well as free admission to Tacoma’s Franciscan Polar Plaza ice skating rink. December 31. Tacoma. Free. Event details.

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

Photo credit: First Night Tacoma Pierce County Facebook page, Seattle Children’s Museum Facebook page, Wallslide via Flickr and KidsQuest Children’s Museum