Celebrate New Year's in San Diego with Kids 2021-2022

children celebrating 1723

Celebrating New Year's Eve was an adults-only event until I had kids. When I became a parent I had no desire to leave my kids at home with a babysitter, so we made New Year's Eve family-friendly and always have a great time!

Kid-Friendly New Year's Eve Events in San Diego

NOON Year Celebration at The Plunge (Belmont Park). Ring in the New Year with a balloon drop and bubble blast at Noon (12 pm) with games, crafts, dessert bites, music, dancing and more. Dec. 31, 10 am–1 pm. $100 for a family of 4. Plunge San Diego, Belmont Park. 

Kids’ New Year’s Eve Celebration at LEGOLANDLive music, entertainment, fireworks and a special New Year’s countdown at 6 pm. Included with park admission. One LEGOLAND Dr., Carlsbad. Purchase tickets on the website.

Holiday Movies on the Beach. “Big,” 6:30; the New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop, 9 pm. Starting at $25. Del Mar Beach, 1500 Orange Ave. www.hoteldel.com  SOLD OUT

Living Coast Discovery Center New Year's Eve Party. Ring in the new year in style at the Living Coast Family Party and watch the ball drop together under the stars. This event includes glow-in-the-dark silent disco, glow-in-the-dark face painting, trivia, night trail hike, cookie decorating, arts and crafts and animal encounters. Dec. 31, 6–9 pm. $25–$35. 1000 Gunpowder Point Dr. Chula Vista. 

Temecula Grape Drop. Ring in the new year Temecula style with the infamous Grape Drop! Celebrate 2022 twice with an East Coast (9 pm) and West Coast (midnight) countdown. The New Year’s Eve Grape Drop will include live music, food vendors and kid’s activities. Free Fun Zone will be open from 6-10 pm.

More ways to ring in the New Year with kids:

1. Get Gussied Up or Dress in Theme
Why only wear holiday clothes once? They don’t last with growing kids. Put the special clothing on, along with added bling for the evening. Our sons have worn suit coats and bowties; our daughters have been bedazzled with sequins, boas, and lace along with their dresses.

Tired of holiday clothes? Decide on a theme. Perhaps it will relate to your dinner cuisine, perhaps not. It doesn’t matter since it is your party. One year we ate Italian food and wore Halloween costumes. Be sure to take pictures!

2. Make a Special Meal Together
We’ve created our New Year's Eve dinner in two ways. We have chosen a cuisine (e.g. Indian, Mexican, Chinese) and cooked a multi-course meal in that style. We have appetizers, vegetables, meats, desserts, etc. We have also asked our children what they want for each course and then put it to a vote. There are six of us so we always have at least six options during the meal.

3. Have a Progressive Feast
We love a movable meal. Each course is served in a particular room of our house. Some years we get the china out; other years we mix it up. My kids love to picnic all over the house, so we have beach blankets set up in the rooms we will eat in. Candles are a must. They add ambiance and specialness to this last evening of the year. They are lit throughout the house.

My kids help shop, prepare and cook since they are older. Younger kids can assist by setting tables or getting out ingredients. Be sure to go over the recipes ahead of time. Some ingredients may prove challenging to find.

4. Bubbles and Glow for Everyone!
My husband and I celebrate the New Year with a glass or two of champagne. Our kids get glasses of sparkling apple or grape juice in champagne flutes.

Glow stick necklaces, along with whatever else you decide to dress up in, are fun. We buy glow stick necklaces in bulk, something we began doing when our kids were very young. They still love to wear them, even fashioning crowns and bracelets out of them. We also fill balloons and hang them in each room we are dining in.

5. Play Games
We are passionate about cards and board games. Any night home is an excuse to sit down and play games. Consider getting a new game or two to play or teaching the kids how to play Bridge or Euchre if they are old enough.

6. Dance and Sing
Create a playlist of party songs to listen to or go with music that resonates with the theme you have chosen. One year we listened to NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys; that music unearthed a lot of memories and reminiscing.

7. Cheat on the Time Zone
Do you have younger kids? Why not celebrate New Year's as it happens in another time zone? This is something I did when my kids were young. Staying up through midnight was difficult for them (and us!).

Ringing in the New Year with kids can be lots of fun! You also generate a new family tradition in the process of creating a memorable evening, one sure to be passed down by your kids to theirs.

----------

Judy M. Miller is a freelance writer living with her husband and four children. She looks forward to celebrating another New Year with her family.

San Diego Family Fun Fest

San Diego Family Fun Fest

A big thanks to all who joined us on Sunday, May 15, at the Salvation Army Kroc Center Corner Zone for our San Diego Family Fun Fest!  We hope parents found great educational, health and ca . . .

Read more

Ideas to Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month

Ideas to Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month

Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The term AAPI includes people with origins from dozens of countries from . . .

Read more

Fun Family Day Trips and Staycations

Fun Family Day Trips and Staycations

One of the ways families can keep their chins up amidst a pandemic is to plan their next trip. Leisure travel is currently suspended in California, so keep a close eye on travel advisories and healt . . .

Read more

Feeling down? Turn

Feeling down? Turn "the Blues" into Family Fun

Whether your family is transitioning from carefree holidays or navigating an unexpected worldwide pandemic,"winter blues" are a real thing -- and as we've learned, can come anytime of year. Don't let . . .

Read more

San Diego Family's Ultimate Summer Sand-Bucket List

San Diego Family's Ultimate Summer Sand-Bucket List

San Diegans have it really rough—living in a top travel destination that others dream of visiting. One thing is sure--there is no shortage of fun things to do, especially when the kids are out of . . .

Read more

25 Summer Boredom Busters

25 Summer Boredom Busters

Boredom is a precursor to creativity, so being bored is not all bad. But if you're ready for a change of pace, our boredom busters encourage families to get moving and start making memories! Go O . . .

Read more

Free Summer Concerts 2022

Free Summer Concerts 2022

San Diego’s Free Summer Concerts 2022 Start the summer on a high note! Here are outdoor gigs and free summer concerts happening throughout San Diego County in 2022. CARLSBADTGIF Concerts . . .

Read more

Star Wars Day Party Tips

Star Wars Day Party Tips

Whether you’re celebrating Star Wars Day (May 4) or having a Star Wars-themed birthday party, here are great ideas to transport family and friends to a galaxy far, far away. May the “fourth” b . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!