The summer is a great time for planning a fun slumber party for your children. When they don't have school or sports activities the next day, they can stay up later and get their fill of hanging out with their friends and staying up all night. From my experience the term "slumber party" is a misnomer. They should be called "awake-all-night parties" because kids generally get less sleep than if they were at home.
No matter what you call it, kids love to invite a few friends over and have the feeling of an endless night of fun. To ensure your guests have something to do besides watching TV, here are a few slumber party ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
Reverse Surprise Slumber Party
When I was little the mother of a friend of mine must have come up with this idea to avoid cranky kids the next day. What they did was surprise the invitees rather than the guest of honor. My parents were contacted by the host who gave my parents instructions with the date and time I would be picked up. My mom secretly prepared my bag with a change of clothes, a gift for the guest of honor and my favorite stuffed toy. Early in the morning I was awakened by my friend who came knocking on my door while I was still in my pajamas. I was so surprised. I was still wearing my pajamas along with my bag and stuffed toy when we hopped in her car. We proceeded to pick up the next surprised guest and ultimately found our way to my friend's home where we had a fun-filled morning complete with breakfast pancakes. We returned home just before lunch. This is a great idea if you think your guests are not quite ready for a sleepover but want to have the fun of being in their pajamas and enjoy a breakfast filled menu. I have repeated this party for two of my daughters and it was unique, fun and surprising for our guests.
Backyard Camping Slumber Party
The fun of camping outdoors can be brought to your backyard. If you have a 6-person tent and an outdoor fire pit, you can create a fun backyard camping slumber party. Ask each guest to bring their own sleeping bag, pillow and stuffed toy. For dinner plan on cooking up some hotdogs on a stick in the fire pit and get the makings for s'mores for dessert (Graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars). Get some not-too-spooky ghost stories ready for after dessert and if it is a clear night do some star gazing with constellations ready to view. Check out some free apps on your smart phone that will help you find the Big Dipper and Perseus. Get out the flashlights and create shadow puppets on the side of the tent. This is one of the most memorable summer nights to create for your children.
Outdoor Movie NightWhile the expense may be prohibitive, if you can rent a projector or if you have an inexpensive portable projector for your iPod you can have an outdoor movie night. Get a clean white sheet and display a movie while everyone cuddles in their sleeping bags. Pop up a bunch of popcorn and pass bags out with buttered popcorn and have a variety of powdered cheese toppings. Purchase some movie theater candy like licorice and chocolate bars for the kids to pick out. If the weather permits they can sleep under the stars or head back in the house once the movie is done.
Minute to Win itIf you have not seen the TV game show "Minute to Win It" click on the link to get some examples and put a few games together for your slumber party. Several of our favorites include the following which must be done in a minute: keeping 3 air-filled balloons up in the air for a full minute by using only one hand to continually tap them in the air; with only your face muscles, move a cookie from your forehead to your mouth; stack five cups up in a tower with an index card between each cup, then remove each index card top-down quickly to have each cup fall into the one below until you have a stack of cups. You can divide your guests into two teams and have an assortment of prizes for the winners. Pair opposite team members to compete one pair at a time. When the whole team goes through each contest figure out who has the most winning team members.
Mystery Slumber Party
With your child plan a mystery party using the board game "Clue." There are several online sites to purchase a mystery game, but the board game is less expensive and can help guide your party using the cards, board and clues to solve the mystery. One example using the game is to limit the number of guests to no more than 6 and send invitations with a character card in each envelope along with their dealt cards. Be sure to ask them to bring their envelope with the cards to your party. Set the mood and tone by asking each guest to dress up as their character. When they arrive at your house, have it pre-decorated with crime scene tape (or yellow crepe paper), and designate areas in your house to correspond to the rooms in the game (library, kitchen, hall, dining room and so on). You can print out room names and tape them above those designated areas. Then proceed to act out the mystery until a player is able to solve the mystery. Don't forget to save the envelope that contains the solution. Stay in the mood and have a dinner party in the midst of solving the mystery. You can get as creative as you want to create a mysterious atmosphere. Goodie bags can include ink stamps (to make finger prints), magnifying glass and other tools to solve a mystery.
Cooking or Baking Slumber Party
For the cooking aficionado, create a cooking slumber party. You can purchase aprons at the craft store that everyone can decorate with fabric markers before the cooking starts. An easy cooking project is to purchase premade pizza dough at the grocery store and pizza supplies such as tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni and sausage. Each child rolls out their dough and puts whatever toppings they choose. Help them bake them up and after they have cooled down each child gets to eat their pizza creation. For dessert have some already baked cupcakes ready to decorate with frosting and an assortment of sprinkles, M and Ms and gummy worms. Their take-home goodie includes their hand designed apron and a canning jar layered with the premeasured ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies. Tie a ribbon to the recipe and attach it to the jar.
Great Race Slumber Party
We love to create homemade parties using ideas from TV game shows. We've created a variety of obstacle courses in our yard that two teams must complete to win. But one of our favorite is our version of the Amazing Race. We have 4 or 5 of our neighborhood friends ready to help us out with this one. We split our guests into two or three teams. We prepared an identical set of index cards per team with a variety of puzzles to solve such as geography, math and word puzzles. When a team gets a correct answer they get the next card that leads to a designated neighbor's home. They have to knock on the neighbor's door where they are handed the next clue and return to our home to solve. The first team to solve the entire stack of clues wins. We have prizes fitting for each level of winners. Then once every team is complete they get into their sleeping bags and watch a movie such as "Around the World in 80 Days" or "The Great Race." This requires adult supervision to ensure the kids safely find the neighbor's house if crossing the street is necessary. We live in a cul-de-sac which makes this easier. If this isn't possible where you live you can hide clues in designated areas in your house.
The summer is a great time to plan one of these parties. We've had a much fun as our children planning and implementing these ideas. Be sure you have plenty of adult supervision especially for the outdoor camping party and put all flames out thoroughly before bedtime.
Do you have some great sleepover ideas of your own to share?
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