I’ve been thinking about a Noon Year’s Eve party for the last year or so. I’ve heard librarians talk about them, and I’ve thought, “That would be fun!” (I got some great ideas for mine from this Facebook post on Storytime Underground.) And let me tell you, IT IS! We did one this year at my library and it was fabulous. We had a great time, a GREAT turnout (125 people!), and if you are like me and have been thinking of throwing one, I think you should mark your calendar for next year and do it.
What We Did:
1. Explained New Year’s Eve. Our party was aimed at ages 2-5, and for a lot of those kiddos, this might be the first time they are really aware of the new year. So I talked about how we were in 2015, but soon it would be 2016, and that lots of people like to celebrate that. Mostly, I tried to set the tone that this was a party!
2. Read a Book. To span the age group for our party, I read Hooray for Hat by Brian Won, and it was the perfect book! All of the kids loved yelling “HOORAY FOR HAT!” with me, and it was a fun book to set the tone.
3. Make a Craft. To go along with our book, we made party hats. A coworker and a volunteer manned this station. Our hats were really easy: we put out paper bowls (the hats), a bunch of craft supplies (tiny cut out hearts and stars, sticky jewels, pompoms, and feathers), glue, a hole punch (to punch holes in the hats), and yarn (to tie the hats onto heads, if people wanted to). The amazing creativity we saw from the kids was wonderful. There were lots of beautiful hats. Since we had such a big group, this took a lot longer than I anticipated, and meant I had to shuffle around the rest of the party plan, but it worked out just fine.
4. BALLOON DROP AT NOON! To me, this is the essential part of the party. It was so magical! I made the balloon drop using the instructions on this site. I actually had to make two of them to accommodate all of the balloons. It was amazing to see the looks on the kiddos faces when the balloons dropped. The countdown, the balloons, the joy–it was amazing to watch! One thing to be aware of: it’s super cheap to make the balloon drop using the site I did, but it is time consuming to make and to set up. Next year, I’m going to look into buying a balloon drop kit. If you want to see pictures of the event, my library has some on its Facebook page.
5. Make a Resolution. This was the one station I wouldn’t do again. We had a volunteer cut out stars and called them “resolution stars.” The plan was to have kids write or draw their resolutions on them. The reality was that they were used either to decorate hats, or just colored on. No one really got this station, so next year we’ll try something different instead!
6. Dance With Instruments. In the original plan, we were going to do this before the balloon drop, but the craft portion was taking longer than I expected, so we ended up doing it after. We danced to Pharrell’s “Happy” and everyone had a great time. I also had made a playlist of fun party music (Motown hits and things like that), and put them on in the background for the rest of the party. The kiddos had a great time dancing around.
7. Coloring Sheet. I had a table with 2016/New Year’s themed coloring sheets set up on them. Originally, I mostly thought these would be something to take home, but because there were so many people, it was great to have another station for kids to go to while waiting to work on their hats. It meant there was always something for them to do.
8. SNACKS. I asked one girl what her favorite part of the party was, and she said “the snacks” so it’s hard to go wrong here. We just put out some trays of cookies, and it was a hit. Originally, I had wanted to do an apple juice toast in fancy plastic champagne flutes. While I still think that would be a fabulous thing to do, I’m glad it didn’t work out. There’s no way with the amount of people we had that we would have been able to coordinate that many glasses of apple juice!
That was it! It was really one of the most fun programs, not very expensive or time-intensive to plan, and incredibly popular. We got so many compliments from patrons, and everyone had a great time. Next year (because we will obviously be doing it again next year), I will be borrowing some ideas from Fat Girl, Reading–love the scavenger hunt idea! If you have done a Noon Year’s Eve party, please share your top tips in the comments!