How to have a slumber party for kids

Sep 28, 2007 at 9:29 p.m. ET

Years ago, they use to be called slumber parties but in today's modern world, they are now referred to as "sleepovers". Whatever the name, great memories are made and good times are shared from these "girls only" get-togethers.


  • When the kids arrive, ask them to set up their sleeping bags right away.
  • Announce that no one can sleep on sofas or beds because it causes fighting sometimes.
  • Advise the kids to stay outside until it gets dark to get as much fresh air as they can before they are crammed in a room with a bunch of other people for the whole night.
  • Play outdoor games or organize a scavenger hunt around your neighborhood before dinner.
  • Rent a movie and make lots of popcorn beforehand.
  • Set up a "concession stand" in the room where the kids are watching the movie and give every guest a plate to load up with popcorn, candy and other treats.
  • Tell your child to avoid the game Truth or Dare, especially when some of the guests are very hyper. Truth can make people embarrassed about the questions being asked, and Dare can get out of hand.
  • If you have a younger child who might try to bug your older child's guests, try to find something special for the younger siblings to do during the party. Maybe they can go on a camping trip with one of you, or to dinner and a movie. Your younger child might want to have a friend spend the night so they don't feel so left out. Just make sure that it's not a friend who would want to bug your older child's guests, too!
  • Set out a few board games so the ones who don't fall asleep right away can quietly keep themselves busy.
  • Get something special for breakfast, like doughnuts.


Make your own -- Draw and cut out a sleeping bag with a removable pillow (insert). When the pillow is pulled out, all the details of the party can be on the backside. Besides your name, date, time, location and when/how to RSVP, let your guests know what to bring, such as sleeping bag (or blanket/pillow), pajamas, slippers, stuffed animal, toothbrush, comb and that they get a prize for bringing it all. If you are not providing dinner, have the guests arrive at 7 or 8 pm.

Treats and snacks
Popcorn, candy, pretzels, soda, lemonade, nuts, chips and dips are great for sleep overs. Provide toppings for popcorn for the guests to put on their "own" bowl of popcorn, such as cinnamon and sugar, raisins, melted butter, pizza seasoning and parmesan cheese to make a pizza kind o'popcorn. Make a Sundae Bar (ice cream, syrup toppings, whipped cream, nuts, M&M candies, etc.)

Cool food
Cakes: Use frosting to decorate graham crackers so it looks like your sleeping bag with you in it! A fun party activity for the guests to make their own. There are some cake ideas -- here at Reynolds Wrap and at the cake finder.

Simple Continental-style breakfasts are the easiest -- donuts, orange juice, cereal and milk, pancakes, eggs and sausage or any regular breakfast menu. Waffles and fresh fruit are a great treat! Be sure to serve whipped cream with them.

Beauty salon
Either provide or have each guests bring stuff to have a make-over night. Hair styling (brush, comb, hair spray, ribbons, barrettes); Nails (polish remover, colored polishes, nail tattoos); Make-Up (rouge, eyebrow pencil, eye liner, mascara, rouge). You can provide a box of items collected from your closet or from a local thrift store -- dresses, gowns, hats, jewelry, scarves, etc. After everyone is all "prettied" up, have a beauty pageant for the Silliest, the one that looks most like an old person or their mother, etc. Don't forget to take photos!

Scavenger hunts
There are all types of Scavenger Hunts -- in your neighborhood (accompanied by adults) or at home; collect funny items or help your local food bank. For various free Scavenger Hunt lists, send an e-mail request to

Provide some videos to watch when it gets late at night and everyone needs to quiet down but no one is ready to sleep. Add lots of popcorn to snack on.

Several games are listed so chose the ones that your age group would like to do and feel very comfortable to revise any of these games or any of the traditional games to fit your theme and/or age group.

  • Let's Make a Deal: . You will need three boxes and prizes of varying quality and a booby prize. Each guest has a chance to play so make sure you have enough prizes to go around. Place one prize of each type under the boxes without anyone seeing. The contestant chooses a box and the prize is revealed. The contestant can then keep that prize or be given the choice to choose another. Offer incentives, like other prizes-candy, money etc. to see if they will keep the first chosen. They may keep either the first prize and incentives or choose the other box. This is their final choice.
  • Mummy: You will need rolls of toilet paper, one per person. You can form teams to see who is the fastest dressing their mummy (other person) or just let them have fun. This can be very messy from the paper fight afterwards.
  • Picky Marshmallow Relay: You will need toothpicks, one per child and one marshmallow per team. The marshmallow is placed on the end of the first person's toothpick. They hold the toothpick in their mouth and try to pass it to the next person in line using only the toothpicks in their mouths.
  • Clothes Pin 7-Ups: You will need seven clothes pins per person. Clip clothes pins on the backs of all players and have them face each other in a circle (outside). At the mention of "go" they each run around trying to get the clothes pins off each others backs. No grabbing and holding on to the other persons.
  • Flashlight Limbo: Turn off all the lights and have one person shine a flashlight straight out about three feet from the floor. Each guest takes a turn to do the Limbo underneath the flashlight beam. Each player must pass underneath it without jumping forward or touching the floor with her hands or knees. If any part of her body crosses through the light, she is out. When all the guests have had a turn, lower the flashlight beam a little and let everyone try again.
  • Piggly-Wiggly: Everyone lays out their sleeping bags. Choose someone to be "it." They must leave the room. Everyone else hides inside the sleeping bags (not their own). When they are ready, "it" comes back in. She sits on one of the sleeping bags and says, "Piggly-Wiggly" the person inside says "oink, oink." 'It' must guess who is inside the bag. If they are right, the person in the bag is it.
  • Rock and Roll: When you're having a slumber party and going to a roller-skating rink is out of the question, make a skating rink in the garage. You can also have music and a snack bar!
  • Hip Hats: Decorate denim hats or visors with jewels and sparkle puff paints and wear them around the next day. This could be a party activity, but be sure to let them dry overnight. Or you can make these ahead of time to give to each guest when they arrive at the party.
  • Puffy Pillows: Decorate plain white pillowcases with puffy paint. Let them dry overnight. Either prepare a pillow case for each guest as a party favor or let the girls paint their own, letting them dry overnight to take home the next day. You can do the same thing with T-shirts and they'll be dry in the morning for all the guests to wear while they eat breakfast and when they go home.
  • Curly-Cute: Make rag curls in the guests' hair. Take pieces of fabric and wrap hair around them. When they wake up their hair will be curly.

At the end of the slumber party, have the kids sit in a circle and sign beach balls with a waterproof marker. Have them write all about the good times they had together at the sleepover. Beach balls are inexpensive so think about providing one for each guest and everyone signs all the balls -- a great party favor.