Encourage your little one to decorate his bike for a parade.

Things to Do New Year's Day for Small Children

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Once Christmas is over and the fireworks displays on New Year's Eve are done, New Year's Day could seem rather ho-hum for you and your small child. Seize the day, and make this holiday as distinctive and engaging as possible by preparing to take advantage of local options and sprinkle liberally with options appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers.


The Rose Bowl Parade isn’t the only New Year’s Day parade. If your little one hasn’t had her fill of parades after watching the Rose Bowl Parade, check out what’s available in your community or create your own parade. Let your child help you decorate her stroller, wagon or bicycle with Christmas tinsel and give her a New Year’s hat and noisemaker. Encourage other families with small children in your neighborhood to join you. You could even appoint a judge to give a prize for the more creative or attractive “float.” Your mp3 player could provide music for the parade if you feel the parade needs a marching band.

Snow Play

If your home has snow on New Year’s Day, bundle up and enjoy it if you can. Build a snowman family in your yard or make snow angels. Challenge your family members to a snow fight or bank the snow with a shovel and sled in your yard. If you can’t go outside or don’t have snow, you can still create snowmen. Make edible popcorn-ball or marshmallow snowmen. Alternatively, use salt clay to make a snowman your little one can paint or decorate with markers.

Time Capsule

You and your little one can create a time capsule you can open at some predetermined date. Gather a current newspaper, magazine, family pictures and other items your child thinks represent him now. He could insert a favorite toy, artwork and a DVD with recordings of your child, family and friends. Pack the items up in a cardboard box and allow your child to decorate the box any way he likes. Store the box in the top of a closet, basement or attic with a note explaining when to open it.


You can explain the concept of New Year’s resolutions to your child. Ask her if there is anything she would like to change about her life or behavior in the coming year. She could list things such as obeying you more consistently or learning to tie her shoes. Write down the resolutions for her. If you can think of a way to put the resolutions in pictorial form, do so. For example, a shoe with a bow for learning to tie her shoes or a hand cupped around an ear for listening better. Post the resolutions where your child can see them. Commit to helping her achieve her goals if you can.


  • Fun with Mommy and Me; Dr. Cindy Bunin Nurik

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

Photo Credits

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