Ages 2-4

By the editors of Parents magazine
October 05, 2005


What could be more fun than hosting your child and his friends for his first (mock) sleepover? Plan the party for after dinner (say, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.), and have your guests come in their favorite pajamas. Encourage the gang to bring their blankies, sleeping bags, or rest mats to lounge on, as well as their favorite stuffed animals. If you wish, cut out stars and a big moon for wall decorations or hang from the ceiling.

Little-Sleepers Invitation

Fleecy fabric gives this invitation a cozy touch. Trace the pajama template onto fabric, cut out the pajama shapes, and glue them onto folded card stock. Add invitation details with a marker or alphabet stickers.

Pillowcase Invitation

Our pillowcase invite is perfect for sleepovers.

What you need:

  • Paper luggage tag
  • Scalloped scissors
  • Marker
  • Pillowcase
  • Ribbon

To make:

Trim luggage tag's edges using scalloped scissors. Write party information on tag in marker. Fold the pillowcase in half lengthwise and roll. Tie ribbon around rolled pillowcase, and thread one end of the ribbon through the tag. Send in cardboard mailing tube.

Activities & Goody Bags

Stuffed-Animal Dress-Up

Direct guests to a basket of doll clothes, hats, socks, jewelry, and scarves, and let them get into the party spirit by dressing up their cuddly stuffed animals. Then give the children time to do what they love -- enjoy free play together with their floppy friends.

Pillow Art

Have the children decorate pillowcases with stamps and fabric markers. (Cut moon- and star-shaped stamps from sponges).

Flashlight Highlights

Play flashlight limbo -- kids can pass under a light beam that you lower in increments. Let everyone win.

The Last Good Night

Pile up cushions and pillows for children to lie on while they listen to a bedtime story before heading home.

Sleep-Tight Goody Bag

Use moon and star stamps to decorate light-blue bags with acrylic paint. Once the paint has dried, fold over the top of the bags, punch holes, and add ribbon handles. Goodies can include bubbles, toothbrushes, bath sponges, nailbrushes, glow-in-the-dark stars, and teddy-bear stickers.

Star-Bright Moon Cake

Create a moon-shaped cake that features a wink and a smile. Then surround it with cookies that are sure to have your guests reaching for the stars.

Here's the perfect cake for a mock sleepover. The stars are made from ready-to-bake cookie dough.

Prep and decorating time: 1 hour

Bake time: 33 to 38 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

  • 1 box (18.25 oz.) cake mix, any flavor
  • 2 cans (16 oz. each) vanilla frosting
  • ½ package (18 oz.) refrigerated sugar-cookie dough
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • Yellow and blue food coloring
  • Royal-blue gel food coloring
  • Brown decorating icing
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9"x 13" cake pan. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour into prepared pan, and bake 33 to 38 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes, transfer to wire rack, and cool completely. Cut crescent shape lengthwise from cake to create moon. Place moon on serving platter.
  2. Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare cookies according to package directions for cut-out cookies, and sprinkle about ¼ cup flour onto work surface. Coat both sides of cookie dough with flour. Roll out, using additional flour as needed to prevent sticking, and cut out 12 three-inch stars. Bake 12 minutes, cool 1 minute, and transfer to wire rack; cool completely.
  3. Tint ½ cup vanilla frosting light blue. Spoon into small resealable plastic bag, and snip off corner. Tint frosting remaining in can bright yellow. Divide frosting from second can between 2 bowls. Tint 1 bowl royal blue. Spoon ½ cup vanilla frosting from second bowl into a resealable bag. Snip corner of bag.
  4. Spread the remaining vanilla frosting in bowl over top and sides of cake in the shape of a nightcap. Frost remaining top and sides of cake with yellow frosting. Using light-blue frosting, pipe decorative lines over nightcap. Pipe dots along the border of the cap. Using brown decorating icing, pipe outline of nose, mouth, and closed eye. On serving plate, pipe out Z's in gradually smaller sizes next to the cake.
  5. Spread thin layer of royal-blue frosting over star cookies. Using the vanilla frosting in the bag, pipe a thin outline around each cookie.

Copyright© 2004. Reprinted with permission from the April 2002 issue of Parents magazine.

Parents Magazine


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