Super Sleepovers: Crafts, Food, and Activities

Plate of mini waffles and fruit on straws
Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer
Your pajama-clad guests will not have gotten the memo about sleeping. Because, yes, "slumber party" is an oxymoron. That's why we've gathered the dreamiest collection of fun and games, snacks and crafts to help you through the waking hours and make it a night to remember (in a good way).
Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer
Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer

Our Readers' Best Sleepover Tips

"We host 'half-sleepovers' -- we have all the fun of a sleepover, but then everyone goes home to sleep in their own beds."

Gina Bell
Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

"I buy glow bracelets and necklaces. The kids are so excited to wear them, but to really enjoy them, the lights have to be off. They all lie down in the dark, and before you know it, everyone is asleep!"

Jennie Boyd
Lexington, KY

"Don't feel as if you need to plan every minute. Sometimes kids have more fun just talking and playing without a schedule. If there's a lull, you can be there with an idea to save the day (or night)."

Alicia Boston
Evansville, IN

Originally published in the March 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer
Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer

Game On!

Kids can shake their sillies out with a few of these ridiculous romps. Bonus: If you tire them out early, you'll have a shot at catching a few winks yourself.

Balloon-acy: What do you get when you release a bunch of balloons into a crowd of kids? Falling-on-the-floor laughter! For extra fun, play Air Pairs. Divide kids into teams of two and have them link arms. Teams race to a finish line, volleying their balloons along the way. If a balloon touches the ground at any point, that team goes back and starts again.

Piggly-Wiggly: To get 'em giggly, try this silly game. Name a Boss Hog, who leaves the room while everybody else hides in their sleeping bags. Everyone ready? The boss returns, sits on a sleeping bag (gently!), and says, "Piggly-wiggly." The bag's occupant responds, "Oink, oink," and the boss must guess who's inside. If he's right, he stays the boss. Wrong, and the "oinker" takes over.

Glow Ball: Make your crew's hoop dreams come true by decorating an indoor foam-basketball set with glow-in-the-dark paint (do this a day or two before the party so that it can dry thoroughly) and letting them play in a darkened room. For a twist on the classic shooting game Horse, use the host's name instead: if a player misses a shot, she gets a letter, until the whole name is spelled and that player is out.

Shrinky Groove: Bust a move -- a nice small move. Select a playlist of fast-paced songs and pick one player (or a parent) to deejay. Have pairs of players stand on a full sheet of newspaper. The DJ plays a tune and demonstrates a move, and the teams must dance, staying on their paper. When the music stops, the dancers stop and fold their paper in half, and the process begins again. If a dancer steps off the paper, that team sits down. The game goes on, and the dance floors continue to shrink, until one team remains.

Catch a Firefly: You can play this hide-and-seek variation in the dark, indoors or out. Designate a firefly catcher, then give the other players flashlights. The players who hide must flash their lights once every 30 seconds or so (counting silently). The catcher tries to find and tag each firefly. Last one tagged becomes the next hunter.

Flashy Favors: Give out take-home flashlights early so that your guests can light up the night and play Catch a Firefly and other games.

Originally published in the March 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer
Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer

Settle-In Craftivities

Let kids chill out and get hands-on with craft projects that'll wake up their creativity.

Candy Crush: For some edible glamour, string necklaces using a mix of jewel-like soft candies (see below for some good picks). Give each guest a plastic needle, a length of thin yarn or baker's twine, and a damp paper towel to wipe the needle before and between piercings. Easiest way to do it: start with the center "bead," then add the desired beads along one side. Next, switch the needle to the opposite string end and thread the remaining pieces.

Colored Twizzlers: Sliced sections slide on like beads -- squeeze the ends to pop them open.

Gummy raspberries: These need a little extra pressure to pierce.

Gummy bears: Classics for a touch of cute!

Swedish Fish: Hook them so that the right side faces out.

Gummy Life Savers: Holes make these super simple to string.

Gummy letters: We found these online (the smaller ones are easier to use).

Originally published in the March 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer
Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer

Settle-In Craftivities

Let kids chill out and get hands-on with craft projects that'll wake up their creativity.

Party Pillow: Guests will have sweet dreams snoozing on a custom keepsake. First, have the kids create stamps by pressing adhesive craft-foam shapes (handmade or store-bought) onto wood blocks. After applying a thin coat of paint with a foam brush to the stamps, kids can use them to decorate prewashed pillowcases (slip some cardboard inside to prevent bleed-through). To change colors, rinse the stamps under running water. After the paint dries, set it according to package instructions. Kids can autograph each other's pillowcases with fabric markers.

Originally published in the March 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer
Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer

Happy Feed

Before and after the slumbering, a crazy amount of noshing will go down. Arm yourself against the fray with these crowd-pleasing eats.

Sandman Sandwiches: Of course you could always order a pizza -- but these snooze-y snacks are pretty irresistible (and kids can make their own). Trim sliced bread as shown into bed, cover, and pillow shapes. Spread with peanut butter, then add a fruit or veggie face (we used banana, strawberry, and kiwi slices) using currant halves for eyes and dried fruit or marshmallow for the mouth.

Originally published in the March 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer
Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer

Happy Feed

3 Ways to Rock the Kernels: This trio of jazzed-up popcorn recipes includes one savory, one sweet, and -- hand-wipe warning -- one super-sticky option. Note: Each recipe starts with 4 quarts (16 cups) of plain popped corn.

Strawberry-Lemonade Crunch: Put 1 1/2 cups freeze-dried strawberries in a ziplock bag and crush them fine with a rolling pin. Melt 2 cups white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl according to the package directions and stir in 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened lemonade mix (we used Kool-Aid). Drizzle this mixture over the popcorn in a large bowl and stir well. Sprinkle with the strawberry powder, the finely grated zest of 1 lemon, and colored sprinkles, and stir again. Spread the popcorn on a waxed paper-covered baking sheet to set.

Pizza Pop: Put popcorn in a large, lidded plastic container (or a 2 1/2-gallon ziplock bag) and spray
with olive oil cooking spray. Add 3/4 cup chopped pepperoni slices, 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella, 2/3 cup grated Parmesan, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and salt to taste. Seal and shake to mix.

Honey-Bear Tracks: Melt 1/4 cup butter in a microwave-safe bowl, then stir in 4 tablespoons honey. Pour this mixture over the popcorn in a large bowl and stir well. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup bear-shaped graham crackers, salt to taste, and stir again.

Originally published in the March 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer
Photograph by Lucy Schaeffer

Happy Feed

It's morning ... and they're still at your house! You're exhausted and kind of over it but, weirdly, all the kids have stuck around all night. Keep the homestretch lively and fun with three easy breakfast ideas.

Waffle-Kebabs: Straws instead of skewers make for kid-friendly fun (sword battles will be harmless!). Spread butter and jam or cinnamon sugar on mini waffles. Thread them onto straws, along with fruit, such as bananas, grapes, kiwis, and berries.

Cereal Buffet: Set up breakfast the night before and sleep in while early risers help themselves. Put out a stack of bowls, a bunch of spoons, and boxes of cereal, with a note that encourages creative mixing and reminds them where the milk and cut-up fruit are. (Spoiler alert: the fridge.)

Sprinkle Toast: Serve buttered bread with sprinkles, and let the kids think it's an ultra-special-occasion breakfast. Mum's the word about the Netherlands, where they eat this party-on-a-slice pretty much every day.

Originally published in the March 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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