Whether or not you’re heading out or staying in, there are lots of fun ways to ring in the new year with your mini-mes in tow. Many kid-friendly events happen way before midnight so you can celebrate earlier with the kids and grab a sitter for a later-evening adult soiree. Heading out on Friday to round up some fun NYE Kit materials… just LOVE that idea from The 36th Avenue. You?

13th Annual Noontime New Year Celebration at Port Discovery: Can’t stay up til midnight? Countdown to the New Year at 12 noon at Port Discovery! Come dressed in your favorite costume and make “sound sandwiches” for the big noon countdown hosted by Eric Energy; Toast the New Year with juice and cookies and enjoy special musical performances; science demonstrations with Eric Energy; art projects such as masquerade mask decorating and Mardi Gras beads; Paint Your Own Face, LITE FM Prize Wheel and so much more! Saturday from 10 AM – 5 PM.

Midnight Noon at the Maryland Science Center: Does the Ball Drop before your bedtime? Not this year! Join the Maryland Science Center in its 4th annual New Year’s Eve celebration at Noon for Midnight Noon. Make your own party hat and noisemaker, then get ready to dance the day away to the sounds of popular kids band Milkshake as they take the stage at 11:30am. Crafts will be available for you to create from 10:00am-2:00pm while supplies last. Stop in to see Now This! Improv at 10:30am and 1:00pm for an interactive musical performance. Saturday. All events free with paid admission to the Science Center.

Midnight at 7: Back by popular demand! Midnight at 7 is a fun filled, family friendly New Year’s Eve event and you won’t find anything quite like it in Howard County. Celebrate the closing of the Symphony of Lights and ring in the New Year with an exciting fireworks display at 7pm. Walk through the Symphony of Lights, enjoy the toasty bonfire, food vendors, music, party favors, face painting and more!

First Night Annapolis: Enjoy lots of family-friendly entertainment at the City Dock in Annapolis. This event will boast 2 firework displays for families with young children and those who don’t want to wait until midnight. Annapolis gears their New Years Eve 2012 celebration toward families with a theme based from “First Night”. The event is FREE and the entertainment starts at 5:30pm with family-friendly events and continues until 7:30pm. At 7:30pm, the early bird fireworks display begins. Following the Annapolis early bird fireworks display, there will be live music in the City Dock from 8pm until 12am midnight. At midnight, the fireworks spectacular begins to celebrate NYE 2011 and ring in the New Year 2012.

Staying in? Try one of these fun ideas:

New Years Countdown Box: Have your own mini-celebration with this fun idea. Create an activity bag for each hour of your countdown. The Dating Divas have lots of fun ideas, like creating an “all about me” time capsule, making noisemakers, handing out lucky pennies and more. 

Whip Up Kid Friendly Cocktails: Our blog buddies at Classic Play have concocted some non-alcoholic and high fructose corn syrup free drinks for New Years.  

Skip the Pots and Pans– Bubble Jump!: Ring in your new year with bubble jumping. Great way to use up all of that packing wrap that descended on your house over the past few weeks. Have the kids decorate as part of the festive fun! Idea from Martha Stewart.com. 

Make a New Years Eve Kit: I just love love love this idea from The 36th Avenue. Pick a theme for 2012 as a family {personally, I’m pretty fond of the theme “Dream Big,” which is featured in this blog post} and create a kit that will help your family make predictions, journal and celebrate. Complete with whoopee cushion, of course. 

Balloon Shower: Nothing more fun that being showered with balloons, and it’s super easy with this easy tutorial. Don’t want the kiddos up until midnight? Release the balloons at 7 or 8 PM. You’ll find this and other ideas on Disney Family Fun. 

Make a Flavored Popcorn Bar: Skip the late night sweets and set-up a popcorn station. Make a large batch of unbuttered popcorn and place in large serving bowl with serving utensils. Individuals can portion out a serving into a bowl (or use small brown bags that kids can color) and add their favorite flavors. Try yummy options such as cinnamon & sugar, cumin, chopped rosemary or thyme, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic and onion salt, chocolate chips, caramel sauce and other favorites. Great idea from iVillage!

How are you celebrating ringing in 2012?