Sleepover Party Ideas for Tweens
Source: Tween Parent Staff
Planning a tween birthday party? There's always the option to trek with a gaggle of preteens to a party venue to toast the birthday kid! However, as a preteen, the thought of a party with an abundance of classmates and friends may not hold the appeal that it once did. Many tweens love the idea of a sleepover. Keep in mind that during the tween years, the "cool" factor can't be overstated. Having a sleepover party is one of the precious opportunities your preteen has to spend a big chunk of time with close friends, flex their burgeoning muscles of independence and stay up way after their usual bedtimes. The tween sleepover is one of the first significant rights-of-passage of the tween years!
Before the sleepover, there are a few things to consider, all of which you can discuss with the birthday tween. First, try not to take on too much. For logistical reasons, it's a good idea to limit the number of guests. And, experts generally agree that co-ed sleepovers aren't a good idea. If a co-ed party is important to your tween, consider having a "half sleepover." Just before bedtime, arrange to have members of the opposite sex picked up.
Work with your tween to think through the invitation list. Consider the mix of the group. Kids at this age tend to have smaller circles of friends. If you invite one person who has a best friend in the class who's not invited, it might be awkward. Conversely, inviting two friends who aren't getting along well could provide unwanted friction at the party.
Choose a Theme
A party theme will make preparations that much more fun. It will help as you and your tween choose decorations, prizes and party favors. And it may even be a tip off to suggest attire for party guests! There are many websites that offer birthday party supplies; a few to check out include: birthdayexpress.com, birthdayinabox.com or orientaltrading.com. They could be a great source for overall inspiration as well.
Make a Schedule
Think carefully about a start and end time. Do you want to involve dinner the night before in addition to breakfast the next morning? Are you going to be strict about a bedtime or will it be free flowing? Will you remind children not to wake up others if they're still sleeping in the morning? Regardless of the parameters you choose, don't forget to incorporate some down time. Manage the party schedule so that the kids participate in more active games first, then slow down to less action-oriented activities, and finally ease into the full wind down process by queuing up a good movie just before bed.
Confirm Guest Details
Once you know who's coming, be sure you have parents' updated house/cell phones and an understanding of how they feel about check-in calls. It's also important to have a run down of any food allergies or medications that you should know about.
Sleeping Bag Hideaway. One kid leaves the room and others climb into sleeping bags (not necessarily their own) and completely cover their faces. The kid who left the room comes back into the room and has to figure out who is who by touching the sleeping bag. Take turns. You can time it or see who guesses the most correctly.
Burglar Alarm. Set a small timer and have everyone go out of the room. One person stays in and hides the timer. The other kids come back in and try to find the timer before it goes off.
Pin The "X" On The "Y". Use the latest "in the news" character and find something funny to attach. For example, during the Sanjaya heyday on American Idol, it might have been, "Pin the Hairstyle on Sanjaya."
Human Knot. Everyone stands in a circle with their shoulders touching each other's. They all put one hand over their shoulder into the middle of the circle and grab someone else's hand, then put their other hand in the circle and grab another hand. They then have to untangle themselves. It requires going through arms and legs. It's a great ice-breaker!
Straws and Goodies. Each person sits at a table with a small pile of a light object (like blueberries, mini marshmallows, popcorn, etc.) in front of them. By sucking through a straw, they have to transport the items into a bowl. The first one to get all of their items in the bowl wins.
Balloon Game. Start with a bag of blown up balloons. Divide the group into two teams. The goal of the game is to get as many of the balloons onto the other team's side as possible. Set a timer and count the balloons on each side when the timer goes off.
Pass the Parcel. Start off with a prize wrapped in layers (the number of layers depends on the number of participants; you want the last person in the game to end up with the final wrapped layer). Set the kids up in a circle and start the music. Have them hand the prize around the circle until the music stops. When it does, that person peels off the top layer of wrapping (to reveal a small prize). They keep the small prize, but leave the circle. This continues until the last person is left as the winner.
Decorate Pillowcases. Use fabric markers to decorate the pillowcase. Include the date, party theme name and the name of the birthday tween. It will be a fun favor for kids to go home with.
Decorate Cupcakes instead of a birthday cake. Buy or make cupcakes and icing. Use food colorings to create color options and have small candies available for adornment.
Have Craft Activities Available. They might include: making bead designs, lanyards, collages, watercolors, jewelry making, decoupage or making a scrapbook of the party.
Make Cooking an Activity. Projects such as making pizza, pasta, or cookies from scratch also will keep them entertained.
Makeovers, Style Hair Or Dress Up. Girls usually enjoy giving each other makeovers or styling hair, especially if you supply a few new fun products, or you might make some dress up clothes available. You can record their new looks on videotape or in pictures.
Drama and Talent Shows go a long way in the entertainment department. Let them create their show and rehearse. You (and your pets!) can be the audience.
Once the Party Has Begun
Make sure you have tween music for the kids to listen to.
Be available but not intrusive at the party. Let the kids know that you're there if they need you and drop in from time to time to make sure everything is running smoothly, but try to be very low key. Make any house rules clear in the beginning.
In addition to the usual fare, have healthy snacks available for the grazers, such as cut-up fruit and veggies with dipping sauce, little sandwiches, or crackers.
And, by all means, plan a well-served break for yourself the next day!
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