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We asked slumber party experts (yes, it's a profession!) to share their favorite fun sleepover ideas and activities for kids, plus planning tips for parents wanting to plan an awesome night in.

By Maura Rousseau Sieller
April 16, 2021
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Long gone are the days of grabbing a sleeping bag, a pillow, and setting up shop on your best friend's floor. What's a slumber party entail these days? Unicorn teepees, faux fires for toasting s'mores, and monogrammed robes.

While such details may seem like something out of a kid's fairytale sleepover, luxury rental companies are bringing such dreams to life. They offer themed sleepover packages such as Wizarding World, TikTok, and Boho Chic that include individual teepees for kids with blow up mattresses. They also offer custom add-ons such as breakfast, personalized sleep masks, and candy buffets. Prices range from $50 per DIY sleepover tent to $650 or higher for an over-the-top outdoor glamping sleepover package set up by the pros.

Interested in booking a company to plan your next sleepover? If you're looking to have someone do all the setting up for you, scout out a company in your town as most only work with local clients. But if you're OK to set up on your own, there are companies that offer national shipping options of their sleepover party packages, like Sweet Dreams Party Rentals.

An image of a girl singing karaoke.
Credit: Getty Images.

And for those parents who may want to create a little bit of magic on a budget? We asked sleepover experts from companies around the country to spill their secrets when it comes to setting up a great party on your own. Here are their top sleepover ideas for kids.

Create an Epic Spa "Day"

Set up a table and little basins for kids to soak their hands and give themselves a mini-manicure and facial. Adults can order robes, slippers, or sleep masks to decorate with each child's name, or have kids decorate them on their own. "Gifts like these always make people feel special when their name is on them," says Stephanie Menzel, owner of The Slumber Society in New Jersey. Hosts could also provide a fun beverage table for their guests with drinks like Welch's Non-Alcoholic Rosé with champagne flutes. "Girls love being able to 'Cheers!' with their best friends while feeling elegant in their robes and slippers!"

Camp Out with S'mores Kits

All you have to do is buy the marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. Once you have everything, you can place the goodies in a clear plastic favor bag and create a tag with each guests' name on it. Add some twine to give it a rustic touch!—Stephanie Menzel

Decorate P.Y.O. Cookies

Let the baker know your theme and color palette. They will provide you with a P.Y.O. cookie and paintbrush. All your guests will need is a little cup of water where they can dip their brush and they can begin to paint their cookie. The edible paint and coloring is in three dots on the cookie, so it's easy and not messy at all.—Stephanie Menzel

Pack Morning Breakfast Boxes

The host can purchase gable boxes, which compliment the theme of the party. Once they have the boxes, they can fill them with mini boxes of cereal, small water bottles, tiny milk cartons, spoons, toothbrushes, and mini toothpaste for each guest. This makes morning breakfast easier for the hosts and more exciting for the guests!—Stephanie Menzel

Create a Cushion Pool

Blow up an inflatable pool and fill it with every cushion and pillow in the house. Then take your pick on how to play: kids snuggle in with a blanket for a movie, or opt to take full advantage of the squishy setup: "Jumping from the couch into the cushion pool is also super fun!" says Lucie Neef, owner of The Slumber Squad in Massachusetts.

"Drive-In" to the Backyard for Movie Night

Gather up all those cardboard boxes accumulating around the house, grab some tape, and get to work on making your own car. Once you have your vehicle, pull it into the backyard for a proper drive-in experience. Set up a TV or projector screen and pretend you're having a night out from the comfort of your own home.—Lucie Neef

Make Your Own Marquee Light

All you need to personalize marquee light boxes to turn them into fun favors is craft paper or wrapping paper. Here's how to do it: Disassemble the marquee light by carefully removing the back plastic panel, then remove each LED light from the sockets. Use the backplate as a stencil and flip it onto the craft paper or wrapping you'd like to use as a background. Trace, cut, then adhere the paper using a spray adhesive or hot glue gun. Reassemble the LED lights and snap everything back into place!Idea from Davina Calloway, founder and CEO of Three Little Teepees in Georgia

Fake a Camp Fire

Okay, so you have the s'more kit. Now all you need is a fire. Roll brown construction paper up and make a long log. Next tie red, orange, and yellow streamers to the front vent of fan. Lastly, lie the fan down and surround the fan with logs. Turn on the fan and now you have your very own fake fire. —Idea from Laura Jordan, owner of St. Louis Children's Party and Event Rentals in Missouri

Turn the Backyard Into a Battlefield

Hosts can purchase lanyards and attach kid's nametags on them. Kids could be provided with special glasses, or sunglasses along with water guns or Nerf guns. Create special drop boxes that go with their game of choice, such as Fortnite. Hosts can then place the boxes with Nerf darts or water balloons out at various times in different sections of the yards for the kids. Game on!—Laura Jordan

Make Mermaid Tails

What kid wouldn't want to be a mermaid for the night? Add some whimsy to the night with DIY mermaid tails: For each child, purchase three yards of green or blue felt. Fold felt in half and have the child lay with his or her waist at the top edge of the material. Use a marker to draw around child's legs (Child's legs should be together). Near their feet, draw a fin for the mermaid's tail. Next cut both layers of felt about three inches on the outside edge of the marker to give added space for hips. Flip the marked felt side over to be facing the other felt layer. Adults should use glue around the edges except for where their waist would be. Children can decorate the tail with fabric markers, glitter, and rhinestones. If your little mermaids are committed to the role, they can even wear their tails to bed!—Laura Jordan

Set up a Sweet Bar

"The key to making a sleepover epic is to have a Sweet Bar!" according to Heather Smith and Megan Palagi, owners of Dream Nights Slumber Parties in Illinois. Guests can decorate cookies, cupcakes, or ice-cream sundaes with different kinds of toppings in fun bowls or china. Hosts could set up tablecloths or even craft paper on a table for kids to draw on. You can even do the same type of bar in the morning with pancakes or waffles, or hot cocoa on a cold cozy night!

Pass Out Pre-Party Favors

Another way to get some cool points would be to pass out custom party favors for your guests when everyone arrives. Think as matching t-shirts, personalized pajamas, or monogramed tumblers. Not only can they use them all night long, but they make for fun keepsakes to reuse and remember their favorite slumber party ever.—Heather Smith and Megan Palagi

Let Them Get Their Tok On

Kids love TikTok. This we know. So set up karaoke or even a DIY photo booth with backdrops and props then just stand back and watch the (many) videos unfold. You can also snag some instant cameras so the kids can keep the photos and display after the party has ended.—Heather Smith and Megan Palagi

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