NEW Year's Eve is just around the corner and what better way to bring in 2022 than a fun night at home with the kids.
Unlike restaurants and a night out in town which will cost you an arm and a leg,there are some super affordable ways to keep the kids entertained in the comfort of your home.
In many cases, little ones struggle to stay up late enough to see the clock strike 12.
But to make sure they don't miss out on the fun, Anita Cleare, parenting expert and author of The Work/Parent Switch, has a nifty trick up her sleeve.
"Put the clocks forward and celebrate New Year’s Eve a little early," she tells Fabulous.
"If you are feeling especially devious, you could even watch an old new year countdown on-demand to convince the children it really is midnight already."
Then, once the kids are in bed, you can settle back with some bubbly for a bit of quiet adult time.
But, she warns, this will only work with young children who have no access to phones or digital devices.
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Here, Anita shares with Fabulous some fun ways to keep the kids entertained…
Keep it simple and have a movie night, but you can still make it special with a few minor changes.
"You can arrange the living room seating cinema style, pop some homemade popcorn and serve drinks with straws. Then snuggle up for a family movie night," Anita says.
"If you’re really lucky, the little ones will fall asleep!"
Play some party games
If you want the party atmosphere without the fuss or expense, party games are ideal, according to Anita.
"Musical statues is great for little ones or ‘Who Am I?’ for older kids," she suggests.
"For teens, you could even put on your own family-friendly version of Taskmaster – get the teens to come up with the tasks using household objects."
Physical party games (like musical chairs or balloon Keepy Uppy) could potentially tire the kids out too meaning they'll fall asleep before you know it.
Ringing in the new year with a boozy drink or two is a huge part of the celebrations for us adults.
But you can still toast at midnight with a creative mocktail and even get the kids involved and whip up some bangers.
It's particularly useful if you have fizzy drinks leftover from Christmas – and you can even pretend that bubbly lemonade is a glass of fancy champagne (not for the kids, of course).
Go for a walk in the dark
If your little ones struggle to stay up late for the fireworks,why not wrap up warm and head out for a walk in the dark.
Anita says: "Take some torches or glow sticks and let the children draw pictures on the ground with their lights.
"Or use the torches to make shadow puppets and dramatic faces. Sparklers optional."
Is there anything more fun than a bit of friendly competition among family members? Probably not, we her you say.
So consider a quiz night on New Year's Eve where by each family member prepares one round of questions – this shouldn’t take too much preparation.
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Anita explains: "Little ones can prepare a mystery photo round where they take 10 photos somewhere in your home and everyone else has to guess where they took the photo.
"Don’t forget to include a mystery tasting round to cover off the refreshments!"
A celebration isn't complete without some musical bangers, so if you're a musical bunch, why not have a karaoke night?
"Put on your party frocks and make believe you’re on Top Of The Pops, " Anita suggests.
Adding: "You might want to bar the teens from recording it all on their phones, though, or you might unwittingly find yourself on Tik Tok."
Admit it, no family unit is complete without having had a challenging game of Twister every once in a while.
But even if you don't have the boardgame on hand, you can still get teh family involved in a fun game or two.
Anita reckons you can easily make one up using a sheet and a dice with colours on it.
And If you are missing family far away, you can play a joint game of twister over zoom – so no one misses out.
"Be prepared for some unflattering shots of Grandma’s backside though," Anita warns.
Set up camp
Kids love getting creative so why not build a makeshift tent out of blankets and camp out in the living room for the night?
Simply grab pillows and blankets and sip on hot chocolate for extra authenticity.
Then you can snuggle up for a story by torchlight – and once little ones are lying down there is a good chance they might even fall asleep.
A deck of cards is one if the cheapest and most versatile methods of family entertainment – and. leyt's face it, it never gets old.
Even really young tots can get involved with a game of Snap! or Go Fish! Or Beggar My Neighbour!
While old favourites like Whist and Rummy are great for all ages.
We also shared how your kids’ old toys could be worth THOUSANDS…From Lego to Barbie & Hot Wheels cars.
Plus, 'I’m a child expert and this is what happens if you buy too many Christmas presents for your kids.
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