Are you going to be ringing in the new year with kiddos in tow? There’s more to do than just keep them up past their bedtimes for the countdown to 2011.
We asked Linda Reimond, director of the Lawrence Arts Center’s arts-based preschool program, and her staff to cook up some fun ideas for keeping the kids busy in the waning hours of 2010. And no, her suggestions don’t involve pumping the tots with sugar just so they can have their cranky eyes open when the ball drops.
• Get into the festive spirit. What better way to change things up and mark the day as special than by creating party hats for the kids? They can be made from paper, colored on with crayons or papered with a collage. Be creative.
• Create a holiday soundtrack. Yes, there are several concerts on TV New Year’s Eve leading up to midnight, but why not have music in your own living room? The kids (in their party hats, of course) can form their own New Year’s band. • Reimond recommends creating instruments out of pots played with wood spoons (drums!), empty water bottles filled with beans (shakers!) and toilet paper tubes with a rubber band and wax paper over one end (kazoos!).
• Plan an indoor picnic. Reimond recommends turning the fireplace into a campfire and roasting marshmallows for s’mores and even hot dogs on the open flame (while wearing party hats, natch).
• Camp out. What goes great with hot dogs and s’mores? A campout, of course. Put a tent in the living room and roll out the sleeping bags for a whole night’s worth of fun.
• Snuggle up. Have the kids take advantage of the late night by getting in a few extra stories. Says Reimond, “Turn out the lights and use flashlights to read stories together. Cuddle up in blankets or sleeping bags.” Other options? Board games on the tent floor or in the space in between sleeping bags if tentless.
• Got older kids? Get them thinking. Have older children sit down at the table with a pen and paper and have them figure out their goals or resolutions for 2011. Have them jot it all down, then put it in an envelope and mail it to themselves and have them open it later in the year. Or, mail it at the end of the year — if you can remember where you put it, jokes Reimond. When the kids get it in the post, or at the end of the year, have them open it and see what they’ve achieved on the list.
• Let them do it. We’ve got a few days until New Year’s Eve and, therefore, enough time to talk to the kids and see what they want to do to make the night special. Anything you do will seem more fun to them because they helped to put it together.