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Fun ideas to host a memorable, yet manageable sleepover

Sleepovers are what childhood memories are made from. Staying up way past bedtime, laughing until your belly hurts and eating junk food with your best friends. May 9 is National Sleepover Day and it is definitely a holiday your kids will want to celebrate.

For parents though, sleepovers can be daunting, dreadful and sleepless. Here are some ideas to make your next sleepover a success.

Set the mood with decor

Transform a room into a cozy sleeping space. Whether it’s your living room or basement, get out all the extra pillows, blankets and sheets. Dangle twinkling lights from the ceiling to make “stars” appear.

Let there be a pillow fort! Encourage the kids to build a giant fort with every pillow, cushion, blanket and sheet your house has. It’s a great way to get them excited about their sleeping space.

To get everyone comfortable, give every sleepover attendee a pair of warm, fuzzy socks. Or go all out and get matching pajama pants or shirts.

Everyone needs their own pillow, so make creating personalized pillowcases part of the night. Plus they get to bring it home as a memento from the sleepover.

Plan a few activities

The night will go smoothly if you have a plan! But make it a surprise to all the kids. Put an activity or game in a balloon and write the time of the event on the outside of the balloon. Then at that time, pop the balloon to find out what’s next on the agenda.

Create a photo booth. Whether the evening has a theme or not, a DIY photo booth with props, a cute background and a camera will be a total hit. The kids can even create their own props to use.

Plan some spa activities like a fizzing foot soak. In advance, mix 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup cornstarch, 1 cup citric acid and 10-15 drop of your favorite essential oil in a plastic bag. Pour one scoop of prepared powder into a tub of warm water and let the kids soak their tootsies.  Follow-up it up with colorful pedicures! Or break out the hair chalk to create original hair styles.

Create an obstacle course through your hallways and house. Use paper streamers and painter’s tape to create a maze from wall to wall the that kids have to go over, under and through. 

Food fun

Every sleepover should involve watching a movie and every sleepover should have a popcorn bar to accompany thatmovie. Make a DIY popcorn bar with a variety of popcorn flavors, M&Ms, gummy bears, Skittles, chocolate and any other fun popcorn add-ins.

Stick with the make-your-own bar theme for breakfast the next morning. Create a waffle bar with sweet toppings or a hot cocoa bar for those chilly mornings. Or have individual mini cereal boxes for everyone to make their own favorite selections.

Late night snacks are a must. To mix it up, serve pancake poppers with mini chocolate chips that your guests can literally just pop in their mouths.

Give games a go

A few planned games will make the evening go faster (especially for parents). Look up a few “minute-to-win-it” games to create some excitement. One that never fails to entertain is called “Cookie Face,” where each player starts with an Oreo cookie on their forehead and they have one minute to get it into their mouth, without using their hands.

Mix it up with musical manicures! To play, each child selects a color and takes a place at the table. When the music begins, guests pass the nail polish bottles around the circle. When the music stops, each guest polishes one nail the color they are holding. Repeat until are ten nails are painted!

Get a cheap beach ball to play “toss and talk.” Blow up the beach ball and using a permanent marker, cover the outside of the ball with getting to know you or funny questions. Toss the ball to someone and tell them to answer the questions that is touching a specific finger, like your right pinky. Some fun questions could be: Name three things that make you happy; What job would you never do and why?; What would you do if you won $10,000?; What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

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