Start off with a Scavenger Hunt using photographs taken throughout the year. Once all the photos are gathered, put them in a pile, and then together, put them chronological order, talking about each one as you do, reminding them of all the fun you had throughout the year. You can also talk about goals for the upcoming year, or things they might want to do differently.
Photo Memory Game is another way to use photos to talk about the past year, is to print off 2 copies of a 6 photos and glue them to the back of cardstock, putting the past year on the other side of the card. Just like in memory, put the cards face down on a table and take turns matching them, talking about each match as you do.
Balloon Stomp has been a favorite with kids since I was little! Write actions (such as jump up and down on one leg for 30 seconds, or recite the alphabet backwards, etc) and slip them inside balloons before blowing the balloons up. Then let the kids stomp on the balloons to break them. The kids then have to do the action they received in the balloon they stomped on; keep in mind the ages of the kids.
Balloons can play another role, in the Do-It-Yourself Balloon Drop. Take string or cord and attached it from one side of the room to the other with tape (do this a few times across the room), attaching one string that you will use as a pulley to release the balloons. Gently situate the balloons on top of the strings and use the release string when ready to let go!
Musical Chairs is a fun game to play anytime! Make it interesting by having to do an action while sitting down, such as putting your hand on top of your head or cross your legs.
Under the Broom is a lot like Limbo, where two people hold the broomstick for the other kids and go lower and lower until the last person can't go under anymore.
A Minute to Win It, is another game that is fun all the time, but on New Year's Eve, it's even more fun! A few examples could be to use straws to push plastic cups off the table, or see how many mini marshmallows you can get into a cup in a minute. Another game is to separate colored candies into a pile using one hand, one candy at a time. (You will need a timer of some kind with this game.)
Donut on a String is one that I got from our last Halloween Party, but never got around to doing. Tie one end of a string to a donut and the other to the ceiling, and have the kids try to take a bite out of it. (No hands!)
Make Noise Makers to bring in the New Year! Take two paper disposable bowls and fill one of the bowls with buttons, popcorn, or dried beans, anything that will make noise. Use metallic streamers or curling ribbon to create "tails" that will stick out between the bowls when you glue the 2 bowls together (the adults can use a glue gun to do this, or kids can use Elmer's, though it won't dry as fast). You can also use a Popsicle stick to glue between the two bowls like a handle. Have the kids decorate the bowls however they like, using stick-ons or markers.
Create other Noise Makers using your imagination and jingle bells left over from Christmas. Use the Popsicle sticks to glue the bells on, as well as ribbons, glitter and other fun things!
If staying up until midnight is too much for the kids, keep in mind that it's probably midnight somewhere in the world. Look up the time zones on the computer and pick the celebration time that is right for you. (This could be a teachable moment, too!)
Have a safe and Happy New Year!