Staying up until midnight with kids is not that appealing to most parents. And let’s face it the kids have no interest in seeing which musical guests will be rocking with Ryan Seacrest during the countdown or seeing if Kathy Griffin is going to make Anderson Cooper wildly uncomfortable before the ball drops. The kids don’t need to stay up until midnight to get in the spirit because there are museums, aquariums and even tv shows which offer up options to ring in the new year without ruining bedtime.
Bounce it out – Check the schedule of local bounce houses. Many, such as the Bounce U Franchise, host a countdown to noon. Rather than a late-night bounce, the party begins at 11 a.m. and carries on until 1 p.m. Party hats and blowers are provided in the fee which varies between $10 and $15 per bouncer depending on location. Parents are free.
Faux countdown – Netflix offers a variety of fake countdowns with everything from the birds of Puffin Rock to the fighters of Trollhunters, or the insects of Beat Bugs. Netflix is offering up a variety of nine different shorts from their custom content collection all only a few minutes long, which can countdown anytime parents click the start button. If you want to feel like you are celebrating in a worldwide fashion start the countdown at 8:00 p.m., the unofficial but popular start time for the Netflix faux countdown.
Swim in the new year – Many aquariums have planned early countdown celebrations, which either end with countdowns to noon or at dusk. For families in the greater Philadelphia area they can partake in the countdown planned at Camden’s Adventure Aquarium The aquarium will hold a special extended hours event, which will end with a firework display over the Delaware River at 6 p.m. Admission will be charged for the museum, but the fireworks can be viewed for free. Click here for more information
Get an educated New Year – The Please Touch Museum will be one of many children’s museums participating in the New Year’s countdown to noon. Please Touch will have its own ball drop and offers crafts to get kids in the spirit, such as make your own party hat and snowflakes. The party starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. Admission ranges from $22 to $25, with discounted rates for members. Children under one are free. Click here for more information
Toast to the New Year – The kids can learn to toast on virgin drinks. We heavily invested last year in sparkling cider, which turned out to be a big dud. My little ones said the bubbles burned on the way down, and the taste was too tangy for their palates. I ended up choking down most of a bottle and should have stopped at the halfway point, it wasn’t great for the tummy either. We found another drink that went down easy and still felt special. We mixed about a cup of Seven Up with a few teaspoons of grenadine, this drink is known to bartenders as a Shirley Temple. Dress it up extra by placing it in a plastic Champaign flute with a few maraschino cherries.