As a kid, your first sleepover was a rite of passage. As a grownup, hosting your first sleepover feels like a rite of passage too – make it through this, and you’re officially a super parent! Whether it’s a birthday bash or just babysitting your nieces and nephews for the weekend, these 10 sleepover ideas will help you keep the kids busy and having fun!
1. Build-your-Own Dinners
An easy way to make dinner time more fun is a “build-your-own” bar with plenty of toppings or fillings for the kids to choose from. Some kid-friendly classics are tacos and personal pizzas. Bonus points if you have cute child-sized tongs for kids to serve themselves.
2. Indoor S’mores
Who says s’mores are only for camping? You can melt those marshmallows indoors in your fireplace, over a gas stove, or in the microwave. It’s a dessert that feels super fun and special for kids but involves very little prep for you.
3. Tents, TeePees, & Forts
If you’re doing indoor s’mores, you might as well add to the camping theme with a little indoor camping. Whether it’s a real tent, a play teepee, or a homemade blanket fort, kids love playing inside – plus they double as an extra fun sleeping spot when it’s lights out.
4. Cookie Decorating/span>
If s’mores aren’t your thing, try some DIY cookies for dessert instead. Most supermarkets have some type of cookie decorating kit on hand all the time, so you’re not on the hook for baking or mixing icing. You and the kids can get straight to the fun part– decorating! Oh and, of course, eating. What’s not to love about a craft-and-dessert-in-one?
5. Book Club Sleepover
Trying to raise a kid who loves reading? Get their friends in on the fun, and host a book club sleepover. Depending on the kids’ ages and reading levels, you can read a short story book when they get there or have everyone read the same chapter book leading up to the sleepover. You can make meals, games, decorations, and fun photo booth props all inspired by the book!
6. T-Shirt/ PillowCase Decorating
Something about getting to color on a t-shirt is surprisingly fun for kids. Maybe it’s just the novelty of coloring on fabric instead of paper – whatever it is, it’s always a hit, and it’s a pretty hands-off craft for you. Plain t-shirts and fabric markers are usually relatively inexpensive at craft stores. If you think the kids would appreciate a little inspiration, you can provide some stencils as well and make a model t-shirt to give them ideas.
Costumes and makeovers are a sleepover classic! If your kiddos are old enough to handle a little makeup and nail polish, go for it. If not, they’ll still have a blast with dress-up clothes and silly hairstyles.
8. Flashlight Tag
Odds are your kids rarely get to play with their friends after dark, so take advantage of it with some backyard flashlight tag.
9. Glow Stick Dance Party
For another after-dark game, hand the kids glowsticks after the sun goes down and let them have a dance party in the backyard – or just in the living room!
10. Movie Theatre Night
Watching a movie in PJs happens at pretty much every sleepover ever, right? Make it even more fun for the kids by setting up a home “movie theater.” You’ll be the ticket taker/ concession stand worker/ and usher. You can print out pretend tickets ahead of time, give them coins to purchase bags of popcorn and other snacks, and walk them to their seats.
Bonus: Reasonable Bedtimes
To make sure the night ends on a good note, try to get elementary-age kids to bed no later than two hours after their normal bedtime (and even that might be pushing it for preschoolers). They’ll still feel like they got to stay up late, and they’ll get the rest they need to keep having fun with friends in the morning.