As temperatures drop and kids begin spending more time indoors, we’re all looking for new ways to entertain them. Shorter days mean earlier nights – especially at the end of a long work week. So, wouldn’t it be great to find a way to make bedtime the best part of a Friday night? We’re sure that’s what Pajama Parties were invented for!
And planning a kids sleepover party doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference. A cozy pair of pajamas (bonus points for matching sets for all your little one’s guests), a couple of fun activities and lots of healthy treats. That’s really all that it takes.
Here are some fun ideas to ensure everything runs smoothly. They’ll be sure to make your party the one all the kidz are talking about when they hit the playground on Monday afternoon!
Pick a theme.
To make sure any party is a hit, a great place to start is with a theme. You can use your theme to help build out décor, snacks and activities to keep your pint size guests entertained all night long. Some classic and favourites are:
- Movie Night
- Indoor Camping
- Games Night
- Spa Night
Once you’ve chosen your theme, it’s a good idea to pre-plan some activities to keep everyone busy. You want to do everything you can to avoid the dreaded cries of: “I’m so bored!”. If the weather is still cooperating, getting the kids in the backyard for a mini-scavenger hunt is a fun way to keep them active and (hopefully) tire them out a little. If you don’t have a big backyard, get out some chalk and host a Tic-Tac-Toe Tournament in the driveway or take a walk to a neighbourhood park.
If you have some crafters on your hands, making custom pillowcases, sleep masks, friendship bracelets or personal popcorn bags are all great activities that allow the kids to get creative. It’ll also give them something to take home with them the next day.
Let them indulge.
Everyone always looks forward to yummy food at a party. And kids are no exception. As much as we all try to encourage healthy eating, a sleepover party might not be the best time to start preaching about the health benefits of broccoli and spinach. We all need a break sometimes.
Sleepover nights are a great time to get the kids involved in making their own meals and snacks. Kids love to participate. Set up a table of fresh and fun ingredients and watch how much they love to get their hands dirty. Some of our favourites meals and snacks include:
- “Create-Your-Own-Popcorn” Mix (Put out a mix of sweet, savoury and salty seasonings.)
- “Build-Your-Own-Treat” Bag. (Mix some wholesome options into that candy bar. Dried fruit, pretzels and yogurt treats are great!)
- Let them indulge in s’mores (Chances are they won’t have room for more than one.)
- A mocktail station with different juice mixes and garnishes.
- Custom-made pizzas (everyone makes their own!)
The perfect base for a Pizza Party.
A favourite in our house is always “Build your own pizza”! Here’s an old family recipe for homemade pizza dough to get you started.
1 cup of room temperature water
1 tsp sugar
1 package active dry yeast (or 1 Tbsp)
1 tsp salt
¼ cup olive oil
2 ¾ - 3 cups of flour
Add sugar to water in a large bowl and stir to dissolve. Make sure the water is not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir. Cover with a tea towel and let stand for 10 minutes. Add in the salt and olive oil, stir. Then add 2 ½ cups of the flour in mixing as you go, the dough will be somewhat sticky. Turn the dough out on the counter which has been sprinkled with the ¼ cup of flour. Knead the dough until it becomes soft and pliable, it should feel soft like a baby’s bum! You may need to add a bit more flour.
Place in a greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise until double, about an hour. Divide the dough in half and spread each over a round pizza pan, stretching it to the edges. If you want a thick crust, you can let it rest for about 15 minutes otherwise cover with sauce and toppings. Bake in a 400-degree oven until crust is golden brown, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your crust. Cut in wedges and serve
You’ll be the talk of the neighbourhood when word gets out about your fantastic party food! But the really wow comes after dinner. It might not be quite bedtime yet, but you can ease a little closer to it by giving everyone a matching pajama set. The kids will love putting these on and taking photos with their friends (extra points for arming each of them with a disposable digital camera). Bedtime will never be the same!
If you want some extra cute photos, get some music playing – something that’ll get the kids dancing! Take some time to set up a playlist in the days leading up the party, or turn it into a full-on DJ Dance Party and start taking requests. Whatever you’ve got the energy for.
As things start to settle down (it does happen eventually, we promise), and the kids start to snuggle into their pillows and blankets, turn on a movie, turn down the lights and enjoy the much-deserved quiet time. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing eyelids start to droop. Enjoy the soft murmur of whispers and giggles as everyone drifts off to sleep and into dreamland.
The Morning After.
When the kids start to stir in the morning, there is no doubt they will wake up hungry. You can take this opportunity to get them involved again. A breakfast buffet, with a little bit of everything, will be a sure-fire hit. Even the pickiest eaters will find something to fuel them for the day. Bacon and eggs, a selection of cereals and yogurts, some fresh cut fruit… are all great options. A pancake or waffle bar with a variety of toppings can also be super fun. We can’t think of a better way to end an epic Pajama Party.