LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — New Year’s Eve isn’t a holiday for kids. Or is it?

Speaking from experience, it can be. Give them interesting things to do – including participating in the countdown — separate play areas, their favorite foods, and New Year’s Eve can be a special time for youngsters.

Years ago, when my oldest was in single digits, our family spent three or four New Year’s Eves with the Malesky family in Dearborn, Michigan.

My oldest was youth hockey player at the time, and Dennis Malesky was his teammate. His mom and dad — Maryann and Dennis — graciously opened their home to the hockey players – their siblings, most of whom were even younger – and parents.

It was safe. It was fun. And, most of all, it was memorable. Because the kids had a blast. In fact, my children — into their late 30s now — still recall their overnight visits with the Malesky family on New Year’s Eve and then getting home in the wee hours of the morning.

Let’s face it, when you have a young family, it can be difficult to get out and have a bit of adult fun. Getting everyone together was a blast for the moms and dads, too.

So, here are a few New Years Eve tips for parents with youngsters:

Wi-fi. Gotta have it with so many youngsters toting their own tablets and mobile devices.

Video games. Back then, the little hockey players liked the Nintendo NHL video games, so make sure the collection is age and interest appropriate. A stopwatch or timer can help rotate players. Consider making teams of three or four, so everyone gets chances to play.

Separate play areas for boys and girls. Seemed to work nicely in our New Year’s Eve endeavors. Make sure there are enough toys and games to go around. Since our group was mostly hockey players, we had moms and dads take turns visiting the play areas to act as referees. But, to be fair, these boys and their siblings were so well-behaved it was almost unnecessary.

Finger foods. When excited, kids rarely want to eat, right? But a special table for the youngsters can be a lifesaver. Make sure to fit in some fruits and veggies. Maybe ask each kid to bring their favorite finger food to share? Another tip: Label their drink cups so they can be refilled.

Finally, give them a path to ring in the New Year. One expert – I can’t remember who, but this isn’t exclusively my idea – suggests popping balloons every hour till midnight. You can get a bag of noisemakers, too, and do the same thing – welcome each hour with a racket.