Sleepovers are an ideal way to celebrate a birthday or just a great excuse to hang out. Whether you’re a parent planning a sleepover for your kid, or planning your own sleepover, here are some of the best ideas to make your party stand out.
Sleepovers can be organized for kids and teens of all ages any time of year. You can have a sleepover with three close friends or the entire class. The choice is up to you. No matter how many people are invited to your sleepover, there are three central elements to a good sleepover: decorations, food, and activities.
If you aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry. We’ve gathered some of the best ideas out there and included tips on how to pull them off or ways to modify them. Are you ready for a night of fun, food, and very little sleep? Get started with the planning now!
Unique Activities Your Guests Will Love
Activities are the backbone of any good gathering. You want your guests to be entertained and excited. Stave off any boredom and tiredness by choosing some of these activities for your friends.
Sleepovers can follow a theme, like unicorn, mermaid, star wars, dinosaurs, and more!
Pin the Tail
You might have heard of pin the tail on the donkey, but this game can be modified to fit any party theme you want. The traditional pin the tail on the donkey game can be great for a Mexican-themed party. (Tacos, anyone?)
For a sparkly twist, you can try pin the tail on the unicorn or pin the crown on the princess.
For a Star Wars party, try pin the lightsaber to the jedi.
Got a group of giggly teenage girls? Pin a kiss on the celebrity can get everyone laughing even harder.
You don’t need a lot of supplies for a decorating station. Look through your pantry for shredded coconut, chocolate chips, fruit, and candy.
Cupcake Decorating Station
Do you want in on a secret? Cupcake decoration is basically just edible crafts. A decoration station allows the kids to get creative and show off their talent. Plus, it doubles as a great snack option and you don’t have to decorate beforehand.
This activity can also easily be modified to fit a theme or time of year. In the winter you can decorate gingerbread or sugar cookies. In Easter you could dye Easter eggs.
It’s easy to modify the color of frosting and the toppings you provide to fit any theme you’ve chosen for your party. Use candy like swedish fish, haribo gummies, and runts to add character to the decorations.
You can use instruments or use everyday objects like a hairbrush or a cardboard box as imaginary instruments for a lip sync battle.
Karaoke or Lip Sync Battle
If you ever get to a point in your party where the crowd gets silent, it’s time to pull up some music and have a competition. You can compete individually or in groups, depending on how many people there are.
If anyone doesn’t want to participate, that’s okay! You can make them judges and make number cards to hold up for each performance.
Karaoke is a great option for a group that likes to sing, but a lip sync battle can be just as fun and easier for the shy party goers who don’t want to show off their singing.
It’s a good idea to start this activity earlier in the night, however. Just because you don’t plan on sleeping doesn’t mean your neighbors don’t either. Be considerate and keep the volume low.
Let your guests loosen up and get out some energy with a wild dance party!
A dance party is a good way to get everyone moving and lift the energy levels of the group. Try adding a disco ball or colored lights to create a unique effect.
If you have dance games that connect to your TV, this can be a good place to start. You can compete in dancing games the whole time or you can switch to a crazy dance party with no rules and no competition.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try coming up with a choreography or creating your own dance move! This will give you something to laugh about long after the party is done.
If you have a Polaroid camera, you can send your guests home with pictures from the shoot. If not, you could get them printed later or just share on social media!
Who doesn’t love a photo shoot? When I was in high school, every sleepover included a photo shoot. We would raid the closet for creative or funny outfits and then show off in hilarious photos.
You can gather some props beforehand to make things easier to. Find weird sunglasses, fun hats, scarves, and necklaces. It’s also easy to make props out of colored paper. Glue a paper mask to a stick and voila, you’ve got the perfect photo opp.
There are endless options of crafts for kids of various ages. If you don’t want to plan ahead, though, you can always let kids color.
Crafts are an activity that can keep your guests busy long into the night. If you have a theme for your sleepover, you can search for craft ideas that match that theme. There are plenty of origami options that are fun and easy to clean up.
You can also try painting. If you don’t want to buy canvases, have your guests first search the yard for stones and sticks to paint. You can tell everyone to find a stick that reminds them of an animal, then paint it to look like the animal of their choosing!
Other craft ideas include coloring sheets, sock puppets, collages with magazine cutouts, masks made with construction paper or foam, or making clothes or jewelry.
A spa sleepover can include nails, hair, and skincare.
At Home Spa
Many of my childhood sleepovers also included a spa night. My friends and I would bring all our brightest nail polish colors and exchange manicures and pedicures. Sometimes we would fill a plastic bucket with warm water and bath salts so we could soak our feet before getting them painted.
Spa nights can also include face masks, head massages, fancy hand scrubs and lotions, hair masks, lip exfoliants, and more.
To really make a spa night stand out, offer your guests fuzzy socks or warm slippers to make the night even cosier. This activity pairs well with comfy pajamas!
Food for Any Sleepover
Arguably, one of the most important aspects of a good sleepover is the food. Your guests will have a lot less fun if they’re starving all night! In order to keep the party going, you need to have snacks and sweets on the coffee table throughout the night. Here are some ideas:
Try to have a variety of snacks, salty, bitter, sour, sweet, spicy and healthy.
- Popcorn, with plenty of topping options. Think caramel sauce, salt, melted butter, m&ms, cheese powder, and hot sauce.
- Chips and salsa. You can make sure everyone has something they like by offering hot and mild salsas, guacamole, and queso.
- Potato chips. Fill bowls with your favorite potato chips. This is one of the easiest snack ideas that everyone will love.
- Pigs in a blanket. For a great snack, wrap small sausages in pre-made pastry dough and bake them. Your guests are sure to love them.
- Fruit. Fruit is a great way to provide some healthier options that are also delicious. Grapes are perfect for sleepovers since they’re affordable and less messy than watermelons or oranges.
Foods like pizza and mac and cheese are usually a crowd please, but make sure to get different kinds so everyone can find a slice they like.
- Pizza. I need to include pizza here, since it’s a sleepover staple for many. For a fun twist, make individual pizzas and let each guest add their own toppings. You can also do this with a bagel as the crust.
- Pasta. Spaghetti is an easy meal to make for a lot of people if you have a big group. For younger kids, you could make mac n’ cheese, which is always a crowd pleaser. Pasta salad is another great option, since it can be made ahead and served with no extra work.
- Hot dogs or hamburgers. If it’s nice weather, you can take to the grill and whip up some hamburgers. Or, if you have a firepit in your yard, you could let each guest make their own hot dogs.
- Soup. Soup is another meal that’s easy to make for a large group. You could make a thick chili with ground beef and beans, or a classic chicken and dumpling soup. Soups are great for cold nights and winter sleepovers.
- Pancakes. Since this is a sleepover, it’s a good idea to have some breakfast planned, too. You can make pancakes with chocolate chips, blueberries, or shredded coconut. Be sure to have maple syrup and plenty of whipped cream on hand, though!
Most kids and teenagers love sugar! Spoil your sleepover guests by including several sweet options.
- Cupcakes. We already talked about a cupcake decoration station, so this is just a reminder of how great cupcakes are for sleepovers.
- Candy. Since your guests probably don’t get to eat candy all night most of the time, this is a chance to give them some extra sugar. Plus, candy can be used as prizes for some of the activities mentioned above.
- Ice cream sandcastle cake. Use a new sandcastle bucket to mold ice cream into a castle. Then cover it with cinnamon sugar. Decorate with fish candies, gummy worms, and candy seashells.
- Chocolate fondue. If you’re feeling fancy, you could pull out a fondue kit and melt some chocolate. Provide lots of snacks to dip, like strawberries, blueberries, marshmallows, bananas, and cookies.
- S’mores. If you’ve already got the bonfire going for hot dogs, you can follow up the main meal with s’mores. Instead of just using milk chocolate bars for the filling, you can use peanut butter cups or mint chocolate pieces for a fun twist.
That Extra Touch: Decoration
Perhaps one of the simplest ways to elevate your sleepover is to add some thoughtful decorations. You don’t need to break the bank to wow your guests. Here are some easy and affordable decoration ideas.
Balloons are one of the quickest ways to add color to a party, and kids love them.
Balloons are great for any kind of party. You could attempt to make balloon animals, purchase helium balloons, or just tape colorful balloons to the wall.
If you want to go all out, you can create a balloon arch to welcome your guests into the party. Don’t forget, when it comes to balloons, the more color, the better.
Creating a backdrop for photos means better and clearer pictures.
We talked about organizing a photo shoot in the activities section, but in order to do this you’ll also want a good backdrop. This can be as simple as hanging a sheet or a table cloth against the wall for a solid background.
If you have time, you can paint a piece of cardboard to create a more elaborate backdrop. Some other ideas are hanging streamers, balloons, or crepe paper flowers.
Just make sure there is plenty of lighting in the room where you’re setting up your photo backdrop. If you have interesting lamps, you can move them around to create the best light.
Flowers are another great decoration. A few vases of flowers can create a classy atmosphere perfect for a spa night, tea party, or movie night.
You can also get creative with flowers by placing two or three in bottles and using those to decorate. Or, you can sprinkle flower petals along the floor or across the table for a unique look.
Flower decorations don’t need to be alive, though. You can make flowers out of paper or even old books and hang them around the room or use them to decorate the table.
Banners and streamers can add color, define a theme, or celebrate the reason for your sleepover.
Streamers and Banners
In the case of a sleepover, more is better. Especially for younger kids, streamers and banners are a great way to add color and excitement. You can hang streamers from doorways and drape banners across the wall or ceiling.
These can help solidify a theme or show off the reason for your sleepover. These can be bright and attention-grabbing. You can also use paper lanterns, pinatas, and strips of cloth to fill the space and add more color to your party.
Sleepovers are all about having fun, so no matter what you do, make sure there is plenty of space where kids can be themselves and have a good time.
Room for Fun
Keep in mind while decorating that a sleepover is mostly about having fun. Leave plenty of open room for the activities you have planned. Decorate the table, but leave room for those snacks and sweets.
It’s usually a good idea to choose one or two rooms where the sleepover is happening. Keep your decorations contained to the living room and bedroom and you’ll have an easier time organizing activities and cleaning up after everyone has gone home.
Remember, a sleepover is a chance to celebrate your friends or your kids. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to take suggestions from your guests. If you’ve used some of these ideas, your sleepover can be one the kids will never forget.