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How to celebrate New Year’s in Austin with the kids

Nicole Villalpando
Fireworks light up the sky above Austin during the New Year's Eve celebration. The fireworks fly at 10 p.m. instead of midnight during Austin’s New Year party. [American-Statesman Staff]

Let’s face it. Sometimes New Year’s Eve feels like a very adult holiday. It doesn’t have to be.

Austin is rich with kid-friendly celebrations, some of them really made just for kids.

Here are a few:

New Year’s Eve Balloon Stomp. Celebrate New Year’s with this party. 9 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday. $20 per member/child. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Austin’s New Year. This free family-friendly event begins at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and ends with fireworks at 10 p.m. You’ll be home well before midnight. Vic Mathias Shores.

New Year’s Eve: Family Barrel Bash. Crafting, dancing, karaoke and more. 1 p.m. Tuesday, Mueller Alamo Drafthouse.

Pinballz Noon Year’s Kids. A party and a balloon drop. $10. 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesday.

Noon Year’s Party. 11 a.m. Tuesday, St. John Branch, Hampton Branch.

PlayMazing Austin and Round Rock. New Year’s Eve complete with a New Year’s Eve balloon drop at noon. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday with dance party and bubble machine, photo booth, games, crafts and more. 1401 S. Interstate 35, No. 130, Round Rock, and 13450 N. U.S. 183, Suite 107.

Toybrary Austin. New Year’s Eve. Dress up. Decorate hats, glitter and confetti. Balloon drop at noon. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. $12. 2001 Justin Lane.

Don’t want to go out on New Year’s Eve? Think about what traditions you can create.

Here are a few suggestions:

Celebrate New Year’s Australian style. At 7 a.m. in Austin, it’s midnight in Sydney. Have a New Year’s day breakfast and practice saying “G’day, Mate.” You could even binge watch the late Steve Irwin “Crocodile Hunter” episodes on

Create your family dream board. As a family draw pictures or print out pictures of what you want to do this year. Is there a trip you want to take? A skill the kids want to learn? Paste them all on a poster board.

Come up with your family word for 2020. What word are you all going to work on together? It could be serious or it could be silly.

Have a no-rules dinner. If you have sensible rules such as everyone sits at the table and eats a lean protein and vegetables for dinner, maybe it’s a dinner-in-bed kind of day and maybe there isn’t a nutritionally sound item on the plate. Maybe everyone sees how much they can make their siblings laugh by telling really silly jokes.

Play a game or have a talent show. Your kids provide the talent, whether you’re playing Pictionary or charades or they’re playing their latest song on guitar or doing a skit for their parents.

Have a fancy dance party. Dress up in your finest (Elsa and Anna costumes work great here) and enjoy passed appetizers and mini desserts for dinner while you rock out to music. You could even turn it into a karaoke party.

Have a gratitude party. This is a great day to recount all your blessings. Maybe you make a list. Maybe you draw it. Maybe you just say it. It’s a great way to head into 2020 as a family.