MARQUETTE - New Year's is normally thought of as a holiday for adults to enjoy, but it can also be fun and safe for younger children too.
There are many ideas on how to make New Year's fun for children who might be on the younger side. Traci Shipman, director of the YMCA Child Development Center in K.I. Sawyer, said parents having a small party with their children is a great way to do so.
"You could make healthy finger foods and play games with them," Shipman said. "It's great family time, which is important, and it shows that adults enjoy having fun too doing things that kids enjoy."
Above, the Children's Museum lowers their New Year's Eve ball. Below, parents and their children gather in the courtyard of the Children's Museum to watch their New Years Eve ball drop 2011. (Journal photos by Adelle Whitefoot)
Shipman said New Year's has this stigma of being for adults only and it can sometimes make the children feel left out of it, but by having activities, crafts or small parties it show that New Year's can be for them too.
Another party idea that is popular around here is having a sledding party, Shipman said.
"It's a great active outdoor activity for kids," Shipman said. "Then you can bring them in and show them how to make homemade hot chocolate."
Doing a countdown to midnight and watching the New York City ball drop on the TV is a tradition for many families, but for those really young it can be hard for them to stay up that late and is past their normal bedtimes, Shipman said.
"I believe that there are times that kids should be allowed to stay up for special occasions," Shipman said. "And if they can't make it to midnight a good idea is to record the ball drop and show it the next day, that way they don't feel like they missed it."
An alternative to having a get together at home is for parents to bring their children to the Upper Peninsula Children's Museum for their 15th annual New Year's Eve Elementary Ball Monday.
"It allows parents to have a great, fun time with their kids, then take them home and got out themselves with their friends," said U.P. Children's Museum Director Nheena Weyer Ittner.
The party starts at 5:30 p.m. and there will be a DJ, snacks, party hats and noisemakers. Everyone will then be asked to outside in the courtyard at 7:30 p.m. for the museums own small ball drop for the children.
"It's a great way to bring in the new year with the kids, who are usually the ones that get left out of the festivities of the holiday," Ittner said.
Ittner said the museum doesn't hold a lot of activities during the event because the children have so much fun running around, dancing and meeting new friends.
"I think everyone has a good time every year," Ittner said
The event costs $5 per child and adults get in for free. Tickets can be bought in advance at the museum.
"Including children (in New Year's) is always a great idea," Shipman said.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.