4 Autism-Friendly Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Home
December 29, 2021
December 29, 2021
The end of the year is exciting. For parents of young children, especially those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), New Year’s Eve may not look like it used to, but that doesn’t make it any less special. While you may forego the fireworks, sequined attire and midnight partying, if those New Year’s kisses now involve your little ones’ sweet faces, then that sounds like a pretty great trade-off.
As we round out the year at Hopebridge, we’re celebrating the end of 2021 by reflecting on all the achievements of our incredible kiddos, plus looking toward a bright new year filled with fresh goals for our families in 2022. Our Hopebridge Heroes want to help you do the same, so we put together four ideas on how to have a fun New Year’s Eve celebration at home with your kids.
1. Noon Year’s Eve Party
Instead of heading out of the house for a party ‘til midnight, create your own “Noon Year’s Eve” party fit for the kiddos. If your child is comfortable with a change in their surroundings, add some balloons to your décor and grab a few 2022-themed party hats. If your child is sensory-seeking, they might also like flashing necklaces and glow sticks, but we recommend skipping these if they have sensory sensitivities. Kick off the party with themed stories, like Happy New Year, Spot! and The Night Before New Year’s. Then, thanks to Netflix and YouTube, there are tons of family-friendly countdowns and virtual fireworks shows you can play in the middle of the day … some of which even include a little help from Super Monsters, Skylanders Academy, Daniel Tiger and more. These on-screen versions are great alternatives to the real deal, as the loud booming sound is too much for many kiddos, whether or not they are on the spectrum. Finally, add in some of your child’s favorite snacks and songs to party all through the day, rather than staying up all night.
2. DIY Ball Drop
Watching the New York City ball drop is a little underwhelming, if you ask us. Instead, set up a fun sensory and motor skills activity by creating your own “ball drop.” Cut holes out of a box or use an old wipe container, then have your child drop balls one by one into each of the slots. Here’s an easy tutorial from Busy Toddler. If you want to add a little sparkly New Year’s flair, use glitter glue to decorate the container.
3. New Year’s Eve Bubble Wands
Skip the traditional “bubbly” found at adult New Year’s Eve parties (and the sparkling cider, too) and create your own bubbles! Most kids love blowing bubbles any time of year, but you can spice it up by crafting themed bubble wands. The Red Ted Art blog provides an easy step-by-step guide to making shimmering star-shaped bubble wands out of pipe cleaners and beads, plus a DIY bubble recipe. If your kids are developmentally able, they might enjoy lacing the beads and mixing the bubble solution for a find motor activity, otherwise you can create everything in advance and wait to share the joy with them once it’s time to put the wands into action.
4. 2021 Memory Book
Not all end-of-the-year celebrations need to center around fireworks and disco balls. For many, a quiet day at home reflecting on the past year might be the perfect way to lead into 2022. To do this with your kiddos, print out photos of some of the family’s favorite memories and achievements from the past year to create a 2021 memory book together. Have your child select which photos to place into a photo album, or make your own scrapbook with construction paper, a hole punch and some ribbon to tie the pages together. Make sure to talk about what they did on each of these occasions as you tape or glue the photos into the book. Not only is it a great way to wrap up the year, but you’ll have a nice keepsake to look back on all your child’s accomplishments.
What do your New Year’s celebrations include? Will you use some of these ideas, or do you have traditions of your own? No matter which route you go, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
Learning through play is a big part of our interdisciplinary autism therapy programs, which include applied behavior analysis (ABA), occupational therapy and speech therapy. If you’re looking for more ways to entertain your child through play and learn about the holidays, we offer easy sensory activities on the blog and encourage you to talk to your child’s therapists for more skill-building activities suited to their interests.
If you are looking for extra support for your child in the new year, we are year for your family. Let us help you with this New Year’s resolution by setting up your child for new opportunities to achieve their own goals and thrive in 2022 and beyond.
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