Adah Chung is a fact checker, writer, researcher, and occupational therapist.
Jupiterimages / Stone / Getty Images
Slumber parties are a fun tradition and a rite of passage of growing up. Whether the occasion is summer fun, birthday party, holiday break, or socializing through an enrichment activity, here are some slumber party ideas to make sure the sleepover is fun, hassle-free, and ends with a snooze.
Keep in mind that you will be the caregiver for your child's guests overnight. You will need to ensure their health and safety.
Tips for Inviting Guests to a Slumber Party
Your party's success starts with selecting the guests.
- Keep it small: Limit the guest number to half of the age of the child. At age 6, invite three guests. At age 10, invite five guests, etc. The best idea for ensuring a successful slumber party is to think small, and then plan big so that needs are met before they are even established.
- Invite an even number of attendees: It is always a practical slumber party idea to keep the number of guests to even-number so there is no “odd kid out.”
- Get essential medical and contact info: Contact the parents to ask about any medications, food allergies, pet allergies, and challenges (physical, intellectual, or sensory) of the guests. Ask for their contact numbers and preferred means to contact them while their child is in your care.
- Prepare for homesickness: Talk to the parents in advance or when they drop off their children as to whether homesickness or anxiety is likely. Note how to contact the parents and whether they would prefer to come get the child or have her brought home by you.
Planning the Slumber Party
Preparation and planning are essential for a successful sleepover.
- Sleeping Essentials: Stock extra sleeping bags, air mattresses, clean sheets, pillowcases, pillows, blankets, towels, and washcloths. Position them to be readily available.
- Bathroom Preparation: Have extra rolls of toilet paper, tissue, disposable water cups, extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, full soap dispensers, and even extra hair accessories. Have a plunger ready—just in case.
- Lighting and Temperature: Check these in advance where kids will be staying. Be aware that portable heaters can be a fire danger and should be avoided.
- Toys and Possessions: Discuss with your kids in advance as to which of their toys and possessions are to be shared and which ones need to be put away. Once decisions are reached, it's a good slumber party planning idea to enforce "no changes."
- Basket of Stuffed Animals: It's a fun slumber party idea to offer a basket with an assortment of stuffed animals for kids to cuddle with at night. Believe it or not, even some tweens to teens still like to snuggle with something at night.
- Childproofing for Overnight Guests: Use the party as a cue to go through a home safety checklist with fresh eyes. Ensure that tools, matches, fire starters, knives, sporting equipment, and firearms are secured and can't be accessed by playful children. Check electrical safety and ensure tripping hazards are eliminated. Secure any valuables or breakables that you'd be heartbroken to see smashed. Guests may want to explore, so make sure you have locks on rooms and storage areas you don't want them to access.
Food and Drink
Once you know food sensitivities and restrictions, you can plan what to serve.
- Drinks: Have lots of drinks at their disposal. Select small half-size cans of soda and bottles of water and bagged juice drinks. Consider keeping an ice chest packed with drinks and water and encourage kids to help themselves as they become thirsty. Only offer water as it gets close to bedtime.
- Snacks: Keeping in mind any food allergies and sensitivities, plan for rampant cases of the munchies. In addition to expected treats such as sweets or beloved junk food, offer an array of tempting fruits and vegetables with dip. Avoid serving messy foods.
- Breakfast: Plan a special breakfast the next morning. Donut holes and yogurt cups are fun for dipping. Homemade waffles and fresh fruit are favorites. Or, provide a "make it yourself" breakfast bar so you can sleep in while they enjoy what they prefer.
Structure helps set the pace for the evening. Discuss with your kid what he or she would like to do, and help to accomplish that. The activities need to be appropriate for the number of kids attending.
- Games and Activities: Early in the evening, provide active fun such as shooting hoops, soccer, swimming, or jumping on the trampoline. Organize a backyard scavenger hunt or flashlight walk around the neighborhood after dark. You can progress to more sit-down activities such as board games, or video games. Consider making a video starring the guests after their pajamas are on.
- Music: Have appropriate tunes lined up for listening, singing along, karaoke, dancing, or air guitar.
- Wind Down: Select an age-appropriate movie or video so they can watch in their pajamas and ease into quiet time.
Be sure to supervise these activities for safety and be ready with a first aid kit for any accidents.
Welcome the guests to your home and set the ground rules.
- Host: Encourage your kid to serve as the host. Practice some key roles in advance that can be accomplished without you hovering. If the guests will want popcorn, a practical slumber party idea is to teach your kids how to pop it in the microwave in advance and dish it up to friends. Have plastic bowls and potholders handy.
- Tour: Provide kids with a mini-tour at the outset so all guests know which bathrooms are to be used and where they are located, where extra linens are kept, any rooms that should not be entered, and any rules that need to be followed.
- Bedtime and quiet hours: Set expectations with your child in advance of the sleepover. Establish a bedtime, then ask the kids to help enforce it.
Relax, enjoy the kids, and just resign yourself that you’re not going to have your best night’s sleep. Sleepovers can help to build friendships and foster independence among kids, and all too soon, your nest will be empty. The best slumber party idea is to have fun with them and relish the smiles.
Slumber Parties. Pillow Fights. Giggling Girls. Karaoke. KidZ Bop. Friends, I have emerged from the other side of the “First Sleepover Party” experience, and I’d like to share my wisdom with you. You may think, “How hard can it be to have a sleepover birthday party for a bunch of 8-year-olds?” Please allow me to be the one to throw a bucket of cold water on your naïve fantasies. After the first few hours of the party, I was sweating like a pig going through menopause. It wasn’t pretty. One of my primary accomplishments that evening was that I waited until the children were in their pajamas before I busted out my box of wine. Yes, box. I was unprepared for the emotional drama that accompanies a gathering of five third grade girls, but if you follow these handy tips, perhaps your first experience playing hostess at a slumber party will be a wild success.
- Immediately cancel the sleepover. You’re welcome. You may stop reading here, go about your business, and have a relaxing non-sleepover party for your offspring. Good day to you.
I mean, at least have a vague idea. The girls had some free time to play outside, they made a craft (disclaimer: I bought a bunch of sand art kits. Crafts need not be for the crafty: if I can do it, so can you), they had a pillow fight, they sang, they danced, they watched a movie. It was the quintessential sleepover itinerary.
And invest in some novelty fun, while you’re at it. I bought several Karaoke CDs for my daughter’s part y– a true testament of my selfless love for her. So I may have busted out my own version of “Let It Go” before I let her have a turn — so what? It’s not like I grabbed the microphone away and refused to allow her to sing. (Well, fine, maybe I did, but as soon as I was done kicking a** I handed it over.) While cringing, I also purchased the latest KidZ Bop CD for the freeze-dance par-tay. You have no proof that I hummed along to “Timber” from several rooms away.
There’s still time to CANCEL THIS PARTY RIGHT NOW if your child is under the age of 10 years old. I’ll be quite honest — the first half of my 8-year-old’s sleepover party was delightful, harmonious and memorable. Sure, have the kids bring their jammies, sleeping bags, pillows and stuffed animals. Let them eat popcorn and watch movies on the floor. But get their a**es out of there before bedtime. It’s not worth it. Do not, under any circumstances, allow the children to “slumber” at your home.
You might think I’m awfully un-fun and anti-sleepover. Not at all! I think a one-on-one sleepover is great fun for third graders. But a party? Hell, no. Save that sh*t for middle school, when pretty much everything sucks anyway, and spare yourself the drama and hassle now.
So what do you think? Am I being too negative about sleepover parties for third graders? Am I a giant, whiny wuss? When do you think kids should have sleepovers with more than one friend?
This post originally appeared on Mommy, for Real. Connect with Stephanie on Facebook.
My eldest daughter recently had her first sleepover birthday party. I know, sounds scary, right? I can’t believe I am actually at the stage already—yikes! It seems like just yesterday I was busily planning her Butterfly Garden 1st Birthday Party! Even though I know that many of you out there reading this still have wee little ones, too young for a sleepover, I’ve got something that may be of interest for you. How about planning a birthday “sleep-under” party during the daytime or morning hours? Keep reading to find out my tips and tricks for a successful “sleep-under!”
I designed these invitations that could be used for a sleepover or a sleep-under! I loved how the sleep masks that I used on the invitation looked just like the sleep masks the girls got as party favors!
I rented these adorable tents and all the trimmings from Wondertent Parties. They were beyond great. They came in and set up the tents, decorated with fairy lights and added the pillows! Then, they came the next afternoon to take it all down! It was such an easy process, and I can’t recommend them enough. The best part is that they also offer tents for “slumber-unders” for little ones to use during the day!
The girls loved the party schedule I made for the event, and all of them followed closely along to make sure we were on schedule. I made a big one and framed it as shown below, and then printed out smaller ones and gave them to each girl to keep in her tent.
I was thrilled with how the fondant cake topper that Les Pop Sweets made for me turned out. I sent Liz a picture of what the slumber party tents would look like and she totally nailed it! I could die for that popcorn, it looks good enough to eat.
Along with their sleep masks, the girls received personalized tote bags with matching pajamas inside. I used my new Cricut Maker for the first time to cut out the girls’ names on glittery iron-on vinyl. I was so excited about how simple the process was, and I can’t wait to personalize even more things! I picked up the tote bags from the dollar bin section at Target.
One key to sleepover or sleep-under success is to have lots of activities. We played game after game, did crafts, and only sat down to watch a movie! One of the most fun games we played was “sleepover bingo.” We used Hershey Kisses as our bingo markers, and the girls had a blast! Bingo is also a great game for little kids because they just need to identify the pictures—no reading required!
Rise and shine! After a great night’s sleep in their cozy tents, the girls enjoyed a homemade breakfast. Our moon and star plates turned into cloud napkins and sunshine plates in the morning.
If you are not having a sleepover and having a sleep-under instead, why not plan it for the morning time and do a “pancakes in pajamas” themed food bar? The kids will go crazy for it and love wearing their pajamas to a party!
I hope I have inspired with some ideas for your next sleepover for sleep-under!
By Entertaining With Emily
Although my design background is in interior architecture, I am a creatively-obsessed, hands-on DIYer mostly because I have an insatiable need to alter everything, just a bit. I never met a can of spray paint I didn’t like!
View all articles by Entertaining With Emily
Another lovely party! i just LOVE all your ideas Emily!
Wondering if you have any pictures of the cake table to share and will the party printables will be available on your Etsy shop?
Hi there! Yes, I plan to list all my printables, including games, bingo, etc, during this summer in my etsy shop! I will share additional cake table photos then as well!
Happy Monday! It was a great weekend over here at Uptown Party Co.! We got to set up a Blue theme this weekend for a sweet girl who turned 13! Can you believe I threw this together in a week?! This mama reached out last weekend and told me the birthday girl loved blue. Luckily, I have a little girl who loves blue too and this party came together within a few hours.
I’ve been asked several times lately what themes we have for teen girls. We have several that would be fun but you can’t go wrong with solid colors and some gold accessories. I think gold just added that older girl touch. I subbed out the regular lanterns you normally see for these cute gold, geocentric candle holder with battery powered candles. I also added in these super cute gold heart pillows.
My favorite package is our Go-To Package. You can never go wrong with a cute customized cup, sleepover games and party favors! I love how this setup turned out! These customized cups with the cute bows were such a hit and looked great next to this party favor sack. I didn’t get a picture of our party favors but I can sure tell you what’s in there. Inside there’s a beauty mask, sleep mask, scrunchy, nail file and nail polish. Just perfect for every 13 year old girl.
Can you imagine being 13 and having this kind of sleepover? Where were these sleepover parties 20 years ago? Back in the day it was just sleeping bags. You can only imagine the fun these girls had and the memories they made.
Slumber parties are a timeless childhood tradition, but hosting a successful sleepover is no easy feat. Between homesick guests, picky eaters, and overtired kids, throwing an all-night bash for your child’s dream birthday party can quickly turn into any parent’s greatest nightmare.
Thankfully, hosting the ultimate slumber party isn’t actually as intimidating as it may seem. POPSUGAR recently chatted with Trish Healy, the creator and founder of WonderTent Parties – a luxury sleepover company in Los Angeles – about her favorite ways for DIY-loving parents to re-create her five-star fetes at home. Here, Healy shares her top five tips for sweet dreams on a budget.
1. Top Chef Kids
“We love the idea of making your own meals, whether it’s individual pizzas, tacos, burgers, or sundaes,” says Healy. “Making it a communal activity with each child making their own meal not only makes it fun, but it also guarantees they’ll eat it. You can add in prizes for the yummiest, most creative, or prettiest meal, too. We always do a pizza-making contest at our house.”
2. Popcorn and a Movie
“A movie is always a hit,” she says. “Have two or three pre-selected ones to watch. Your child might have a favorite in mind, but it’s great to have back-ups just in case. With streaming, the options can be limitless, so it’s good to have a narrowed-down list so that the kids can make the final decision. Having a party theme might make the movie to watch a no-brainer. We’ve done The Polar Express, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Legally Blonde, among others. Add in some popcorn, and let them settle in for a few hours of fun.”
3. Throw Out the Rulebook
“Plan some activities, but let the evening flow as it does,” says Healy. “There’s nothing worse than having the kids on a schedule when it’s meant to be a night of fun. Not everything will go as planned, so just go with the flow of the evening. Make sure to set a lights-out time, but know that it’s likely to be one to two hours later!”
4. Game Night
“Have some games on hand,” she says. “Create a scavenger hunt with little candy treats hidden around the house. The thing to remember is to make the clues just hard enough that they have to think and feel good about solving the puzzle. Board games are also an easy and fun way to keep the kids entertained. Classics like Jenga and Uno are always a hit. Faster-paced versions of Monopoly work, too. More current games like Guesstures, Sequence, or the app Heads Up are also big crowd-pleasers.”
5. Go Glam
“To elevate your child’s sleepover to a five-star experience, use a bespoke approach like that of a fancy hotel,” says Healy. “You can use generous amounts of coordinated fabrics, luxurious fluffy pillows, and even small throw rugs. Reusable hand-crafted bunting adds whimsy, and lots of sparkling lights will help to make it an unforgettable experience. Can you sew, cook, or craft? Head to your local craft store and find things with initials for your guests. Small details go a long way. The main objective is to have fun!”
I recently found myself planning the biggest event my lifetime.
To clarify, my daughter was crushed when her March 2020 birthday party had to be quickly cancelled (stupid pandemic); therefore, she had high hopes for her next party.
The pressure was on. This just had to be an epic birthday bash.
I couldn’t just have her friends sit around playing board games or staring at their phones.
Though I may stumble through Pinterest from time to time, I am not what you would call a “Pinterest Mom”. I am a lousy baker, terrible at fashion, and my idea of a craft is coloring with whatever crayons we find in the couch cushions.
With my daughter’s birthday around the corner and my son’s only a few months after, I felt they deserved the greatest child’s birthday party I could plan.
I stalked the internet and hounded friends, until I was able to put together this list of kid and teen party games – for girls and boys.
Slumber Party Ideas
When I was a kid, sleeping at a friend’s house was undeniably what I looked forward to most of all. It felt like a rite of passage into teen years. The best sleepover games we ever played was to torment the first person who fell asleep. Our goal was simply to be the last person to fall asleep.
These 11 affordable and great sleepover ideas are easy, require little to no preparation, and are so much fun.
Note: before starting any fun party games, a good idea is to ask each kid to put away their cell phone. This is especially important for teen girls.
1) Blanket Fort
This fun activity only requires the kid’s blankets or sleeping bags.
Ask the kids to pull out their blankets and make a huge blanket fort in the living room. They can work on it together, or get into a small group and have a competition. Either way, it’s a fun sleep over game for kids of all ages.
2) Scavenger Hunt
My favorite sleepover party game is a scavenger hunt. Even if the kids don’t know each other well, they will be best friends after this fun game.
Download and instantly print your Epic Party Scavenger Hunt Game here:
3) Photo Booth
What kid doesn’t love silly photos? Grab some props, your phone or a digital camera, and some twinkle lights.
Set up an in-home photo booth for the kids with these easy steps. It is super easy and results in adorable, personalized party favors. Some options include:
- Photo backdrop
- Funny hats
- Silly signs
4) Flashlight tag
Flashlight tag puts a fun twist on the classic game of tag.
It is similar to regular freeze tag, but whoever is it has to “freeze” the other kids using the light from the flashlight. When all the kids are frozen, the next person gets to be ‘it’.
5) Salon Party
For little girls, set up an at-home spa.
Go to a local dollar store and grab a bunch of make-up, lip gloss, and nail polish. Everyone has to paint the finger nails of the person to their left, and then do the make up for the person on their right.
Another fun idea for girls of all ages is the “spin the nail polish bottle” game. Whoever it lands on you have to paint one finger nail that color. At the end the girls will have rainbow nails.
6) Tie Dye
Another great idea is to tie dye.
Order a few t-shirts, pillow cases, or bags and a tie dye kit. It is easy and a great way to pass the time for slumber parties.
7) Pillow Fight
As a kid, a pillow fight was part of every birthday party. Maybe we were just trying to imitate what we saw in the movies; regardless, this classic sleepover game is a great pastime for kids.
8) Musical “sleeping bag”
Similar to musical chairs, have the kids put their sleeping bags in a circle. Don’t forget to take ONE out (there should be one less blanket than kid).
As you play music, have them walk around. When the music stops, they all have to dive onto a sleeping bag. The one without a sleeping bag is out. For each round, remove one extra sleeping bag. This is especially fun for younger kids.
9) Glow stick bowling
Save or purchase some water bottles. Fill each with activated glow sticks.
Set up the bottles in a bowling triangle and take turns having each kid roll a ball (can use a baseball or tennis ball) to knock over the “pins”. Make sure to turn down the lights to get the full effect.
10) Movie night
A movie is the best way to wind down the slumber party.
Add a popcorn bar for extra flare. It’s simple! You just need:
- Popcorn (duh!)
- Candy toppings
- Cute popcorn bowls
Family Fresh Meals has so great ideas here.
11) Pancake or Ice Cream Bar
In addition to popcorn bars, you can try an ice cream bar.
The morning after the party, set up a pancake bar.
NeighborFood Blog offers tips for hosting an epic Pancake Bar Party.
I don’t know about you, but I am totally done with over-priced birthday party events. These simple games provided endless sleepover fun.
The kids had so much fun, then they quickly welcomed sweet dreams. For our next slumber party, I will have a stress-free time planning the event.
Well, if you know me at all, you know I have planned a girls sleepover or two. As I was updating my blog the other night (finally) and looking around my site, I noticed that my Girl’s Sleepover Craft Ideas was my most viewed post of all time, with quite a few inquiries. I thought that since this was such a popular topic that people wanted to learn more about, I would share with you the steps I go through when planning a slumber party at my house.
Before I do I want to make sure the #1 thing you do is try to relax as much as possible, and have fun too! It’s so easy to get stressed out with the extra kids and all of the chaos going on before and the day of the party. But don’t worry. The kids aren’t going to notice if you forget to do something or things don’t go quite as planned. These girls will just have tons of fun playing, being silly, snacking, and staying up late!
How to Plan a Sleepover in 10 Easy Steps:
#1. Set a date, Guest list, and times. Drop off and pick up times are a must! I have found parties usually go best if the kids come over right before dinner, and get picked up after a late breakfast (think brunch) the next day, so no one gets too tired and grumpy.
#2. Set a theme if you are going to. Totally NOT necessary, but if the sleepover is for a birthday party you probably already have a theme. A theme is also nice to have if you are the ‘planning’ type, as it does make is easier to keep activities and crafts that co-inside together.
#3. Invitations. You can buy these, make these, create online invites, or I have even been known to send a group text message out to the guest list. Make sure you have a date set to RSVP and also send a reminder out to all of the parents a couple of days prior to the party.
#4. Meal Planning. I like to make a dinner that all of the girl’s can get involved with (less work for me!) and something that allows the girls to make food that they will actually eat. Think a taco bar or English muffin pizzas. It keeps the girls busy, and you don’t have to hear as many “I don’t like this….” comments. Snack for nighttime are a must. Enlisting help for desserts is a great idea too. Cupcakes and cookies are fun to make, but the #1 goodie fun would have to be ice cream sundaes. Again, the girls get to create their own! Have a couple of flavors of ice cream, syrups, jams, and an assortment of chopped up candies for them to decorate! Breakfast generally goes like this at our house: early birds get cereal to tide them over, then I get up and make a massive amount of pancakes and bacon with orange juice and milk.
#5. Craft Planning. Here’s a list of some of my top crafts I’ve made with the girls. Whatever you decide, making something that the girls will get to take home as a souvenir to remember the party.
#6. Plan any other activities that will be going on – mani pedis? Movie Marathon? Have at least an idea of what you will do to entertain them. Chances are they will come up with ideas of their own, but just in case, have a back up plan.
#7. Sleeping arrangements. Even when I remind parents to bring a sleeping bag for their child, someone forgets. Make sure you have lots of blankets and pillows available. Chances are even if you think the girls are going to sleep in a certain area, you will have them sprawled out in various areas!
#8. Have a designated storage spot for all of their belongings. Believe me, it’s so hard the next morning when all the parents are arriving to try to find socks, toothbrushes, pillows, etc. If you can, have the girls collect all of their stuff while you make breakfast – then you can double-check while they eat.
#9. Remember to take lots of pictures, and a group photo. You can use these to print out thank you cards for the girls; they will be thrilled to open up their cards!
#10. As I said earlier, have fun and go with the flow! Sleepovers are one of the few times when I am the “cool” mom…and believe me, if you host a slumber party, it’s a title well-earned!
If you are looking for even more ideas, I’ve found this book to be amazing! It’s got over 100 ideas to inspire you – it’s definitely worth a look!
It happens when you least expect it . . . your little girl asks the question you’ve been dreading since the day she was born. “Mom, can I have a sleepover?” (Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. I don’t really dread sleepovers, but somehow they don’t sound quite as fun for the adults as they are for the kids!) Actually, we don’t worry about sleepovers at our house at all. That’s because we simply don’t have them.
But, just because we don’t allow sleepovers, doesn’t mean we can’t have a fun late-night party! We love to host “Un” Slumber Parties! (Also called Pajama parties or Late Nights.)
” width=”500″ height=”750″ />Here’s how a late-night, pajama or un-slumber party works:
- The kids come in their pajamas
- They do the typical slumber party things like paint nails, watch movies and eat lots of food
- They stay up late
- When the fun is done, they all head home to sleep in their own beds
Try these Pillow Case Invitations, or shape yours like a night owl or sleep mask.
The Crafts and Games
Lots of girls means you need lots to do to keep them busy! When it comes to crafts and games, divide and conquer! I plan two activities and divide the girls in half. Fewer girls means less chance of feeling forgotten or left out. We like to play Spin the Nail Polish Bottle.
These DIY Non-Slip socks were a hit at our last party. Be sure to give the girls aprons or paint smocks so they don’t ruin their clothes, though! (We used my freezer paper art aprons left over from Boo’s Art party.
What happens if one of the groups is finished before the other? Be sure to have an extra activity or coloring page to pull out. We love to play Funny Bones. I’ve had this game since I was a kid. I’m probably really dating myself. Anyone else remember this game?
Boo has Celiac disease, so birthday cake has to be gluten free. No worries–gluten-free cake is not hard (I have a great mix), and it tastes just like the real thing, but I decided not to bother. Have you ever noticed how much cake gets thrown away at birthday parties? Kids are so busy playing (and so stuffed from party snacks) that they often barely even touch it. I decided to save the work of baking and decorating, and do a Sundae bar instead. It was a huge hit! Add a little popcorn for the movie, and we were all set!
If you’ve been wondering . . . it is definitely possible to put candles in ice cream! (If you haven’t been wondering . . . it’s still possible! Hee, hee!) And bonus–if you accidentally buy trick candles, you might just become the best mom ever. I had no idea those could be so fun!
We started the party after dinner (another way to avoid the gluten-free thing), but if you don’t want to skip it, consider breakfast for dinner as a nice change from pizza .
The Goodie Bags
Guess what? You don’t need them! Let the kids take home their craft and a bottle of nail polish from the game! Easy peasy!
You wore yourself out getting ready for the party. The kids are gone. You don’t have to fix breakfast for 10 little girls in the morning. Put your feet up! Read a book! Go to bed and sleep in! (Aren’t you glad they didn’t spend the night?)
Check out these posts for all the ideas from the party. (Images are linked.):
Need more ideas? Check out my Pajama Party and Slumber Party Fun board on Pinterest!