Ahhh… New Year’s Day. A chance to savor the holiday feeling just a teeny bit longer. But, since many family hot-spots—like museums, botanic gardens, and even libraries—are also off celebrating, it can leave parents wondering what to do (especially if the weather has taken a turn!). Lucky for you, we’ve come up with plenty of opportunities for you and your wiggly bundles of joy. From sledding hill adventures to timely calendar crafts, scroll down to discover oh-so-many ways to play on New Year’s Day.


photo: Erin Feher

Creative Household Adventures
With just seven supplies you’re sure to have on hand, little animal lovers can craft a rhino mask before heading out on a family room safari. Then, build a craft-stick bridge to help all the animals you encounter cross to safety. Or use up those cardboard boxes leftover from the holidays to construct a working periscope for your little captain and hit the household high seas in search of your white whale. Land ho!national-calendar-photos-jan

photo: Katie Kavulla

Artful Activities
Break out the craft cart and settle in for little artsy time with your petite Picasso. A pile of loose buttons is all it takes to craft one of these amazing projects perfect for tiny hands. Or, put your artistic mettle to the test using brown paper bags to make kites, fish, and even an indoor fireplace. Finally, we can’t think of a better way to ring in the New Year than with a hand crafted calendar, featuring your sidekick’s perfect prints. Get the know how to make this 2017 family calendar that will melt your heart every month.

CRDT-kidsseason-1, winter, sleddingphoto: Bill Dickinson via Flickr creative commons 

Fresh Air and Sunshine
Luckily, Mother Nature doesn’t take holidays like the rest of us do— the Great Outdoors is always open. If a fresh blanket of snow covers your neck of the woods, grab the sleds to hit the biggest hill in town, or tow your tot around the ‘hood in her bundled-up best. But if snow hasn’t made it to a neighborhood near you, lace up your hiking boots and hit a nearby trail. You don’t have to go far to find a walk-able family adventure! Click here for tips on how to hike your own ‘hood.lego building

Build, Play, Pretend
If your tot got new toys for the winter holidays, New Year’s Day is the prefect time to break ’em in. Hours to build that thousand-piece LEGO set? You got it! Time to put together the giant dollhouse? It’s yours. This is simple playtime at its best.

Richard BH Flickr CC lions in snowphoto: Richard BH via flickr creative commons

Zip Out to the Zoo
Add a wild romp through the city zoo to your list of Jan. 1 activities. For many city zoos, the first few days of January mark the last few days of their dazzling holiday light displays. If you didn’t have time to delight in the twinklies during the season’s rush, wander through the night-time display one last time before it gets packed up until next year.Colleen Murray mom and kid at movies

photo: Colleen Murray

Hit Up the Big Screen
Catch a flick with your mini-me on the big screen. All those holiday blockbusters you wanted to see, but haven’t had time to, are still playing. Plus a weekday matinee for busy families feels oddly indulgent, like you’re playing hooky. Consider it an unexpected treat for the whole fam!

Schmovie: The Family Editionphoto: courtesy Schmovie

Bust Out the Board Games
Your kiddo doesn’t have to be able to tackle an all-day Monopoly marathon to have serious game. Break out your family’s favorite board game, served with a side of munchies by the fireplace, and play a few rounds. If you’re looking for a new 2017 favorite, check out our picks for players of all ages.

max-with-time-capsulephoto: Melissa Heckscher

Capture Those Sweet Seconds
With a new year comes new traditions. Set aside time to make a family time capsule that captures those most-important moments from 2017. Whether you capture them in pictures, with words or by collecting trinkets and mementos from the past year, keep them safe and together in a kid-decorated (parent-sealed) container. Want to know how to make your own? Click here for the how-to.

Under the Tablephoto: Jen Kossowan via  Mama Papa Bubba

Build Forts
There’s a reason why fort building always ranks so high on the best-of indoor playlist. Simply put, it’s awesome. Whether your budding builder likes to stick to standard cardboard castles or prefers pillow and blanket palaces, they’ll find serious inspiration in these eleven forts to build on New Year’s Day.

Kid interviewer Flick CC--US Department of Ag

photo: US Dept. of Agriculture via flickr 

Conduct an Interview
Take a snapshot of your cutie pie in his own words on the first day of the year. We love this easy interview from Hands On As We Grow. Have sibs interview each other and help them record answers if they need it. Then tuck the interview away to be brought out at a later date (if you’re thinking high school graduation, we’re right there with you!).

Christmas Tree Bluesphoto: Angela Hartwig via flickr

Make Christmas Clean Up Fun
If returning your decked-out halls to season-neutral tops your New Year’s Day to-do list, consider recycling or upcycling some of those festive decorations with the kiddos while you’re at it. We’ve rounded up some ways to reuse Christmas cast-offs during the take-down stage.

Kid's New Years Party1

Party Like it’s 2017
So you (err… your kids) slept through the New Year celebration. Not to worry! Throw a New Year’s Day party at noon instead. Include all the festive fixings, like silly string, a spirited countdown to a living room balloon drop that would make Dick Clark proud, and all the noise, noise, noise makers that keep your cuties entertained.

What’s your favorite way to play with your kids on New Year’s Day? Add your idea or tradition in a comment.

 — Allison Sutcliffe