I don’t know about you, but we are definitely entering that “inbetween” stage of tween to teen.. still young enough to love sleepover parties, but starting to get a “bit old” for the old party games. Well. Recently, I hosted a tween sleepover party for my daughter’s 13th Birthday. And this is how we did it…
As it was her 13th Birthday, we let her go “big”. Well “big” for a sleepover. She invited 8 friends over, and with her brother, that meant we had 10 tweens/ teens to entertain from late afternoon until the morning.
I will say this upfront, I think the key thing, is to have a plan… but more as a “back up plan” and not to follow rigidly. Have a few things prepared… and then see what the tweens go for on the day! Each group is different and the vibes and mood of the day may vary. We had a number of things prepared but we didn’t do them all!
The sleepover bit
There are many AMAZING sleepover companies that set up cute tents and mini camps in your living room. I don’t know about you, but we don’t have that big a house. Certainly not for 9-10 kids. So we decided to make it a massive “camp out”.
We cleared the furniture. Put as many yoga mats down as possible. Then layered some blankets and the girls all “piled in”.
We asked guests to bring their own sleeping bags and pillows to help with this!
Needless to say, I don’t think the camp out was the most comfortable sleeping arrangement.. afterall you ARE sleeping on the floor. But it was totally pitched as a camp out. I love that the girls all fully embraced it, and we just had this massive pile of kids!
Asking guests to bring the following really helped:
- Sleeping bag
- Yoga mat(s)
Matching Pyjamas (Optional)
The matching pyjamas from our virtual sleepover during lockdown, were such a hit, that we decided that this would be our big “splash out” of the sleepover party.
They also doubled up as the sleepover party party favours. Not that you need any party favours for 13th Birthday parties – thank goodness, the party favours are OVER!! Whoop. BUT.. the matching PJs, where still a fab send home gift for all our sleepover party kids.
We decide to splash out on the matching PJs, as afterall, hosting a party at home, is a relatively inexpensive “activity”. Where we live, most of the parties involve dinner or going bowling or to external escape rooms etc, so we thought spending a similar amount on Pyjamas being an acceptable extravagance (I appreciate that it is indeed an extravagance!!).
To make sure that all the tweens/ teens where happy we – ran “chosen pair” of sleepover pyjamas by a couple of the 13 year old’s friends. They gave them a big thumbs up.
Next I checked the size with all the parents and custom bought the sizes PLUS an extra 4 sizes. Here it is easy to return the “wrong size”, so I felt the extra pairs, gave the girls a chance to really find the size that made them feel most cozy!
The girls where also told, they could wear their own pyjamas if they preferred or mix and match their own with the sleepover set. I do think that this was very important, as there is nothing worse, than feeling uncomfortable when being at someone else’s house.
Remember: comfort, is everything, especially with a gaggle of overexcited girls!
Some (!) planned pyjama party activities
So, though we did have a schedule of fun sleepover ideas, it is important not to get to hung up/ obsessed with the schedule and to go a little bit with the flow.
Be sure to have a set of activities planned, but let the tweens and teenagers decided the flow of the evening!
DIY Sleep Mask Craft
Crafting with tweens/ teens at a birthday party, is a little risky.. mostly because by this age, some kids just aren’t into crafts that much! Or maybe they like crafts, but don’t feel as creative or able as some of the other teenagers.
So, if you do decide to do a party craft, think about the guests you have invited to your slumberparty and how you can make it fun and accessible to all.
In our case, we made these DIY sleep masks (hoping that that may actually help them sleep a bit better later??). I designed them in such a way, that you could either hot glue gun it ALL or sew parts/ glue parts, or sew it all. That way the kids that LOVE to sew, could really get stuck in, and the ones that enjoyed crafting less could use the hot glue.
Other slumber party craft ideas
If sewing and prepping DIY sleeping masks is not your thing, you try a number of other crafts. For example:
Friendship bracelets – bracelet making or jewelry making is particularly popular with this age group. There is usually a technique that is currently “in”. Sound out your tween/ teenager and find out what they like! Then stock up of friendship bracelet supplies!
Rock Painting/ Rock Pets – rock painting, is also popular with this age group. If you invest in some wonderful pens (we love posca pens) this could go down really well. You can even encourage the pyjama party guests to hide their rocks the next stay for people to find as an act of kindness.
Make your own lip balm – making simple lip balm is easy and the ingredients are quite basic. The slumber party guests can spend some time designing their labels too!
Make your own bath bombs – bath bombs are super popular too and there are many bath bomb recipes out there to try. I do recommend having a trial run first though. So you feel confident to make these with a group.
Baking & cookie decorating – this is always an option too! But I prefer to bake etc with a smaller group of pyjama party kids!
Spin the Nail Bottle
Manicures and pedicures are always fun for tween sleepovers. There are lots of fun nail polish games with printables out there. In essence you will playing “spin the bottle” but with nail varnish! The kids loved this one.. but it very quickly turned into a “let’s paint each others nails” session, instead of spin the bottle. That is totally fine! Let them entertain themselves however they want!
The key is to make sure you have enough nail varnish bottles, with a choice of colours and plenty of nail polish remover too! In our case, a couple of the sleepover friends brought some of their colours along, which was super helpful! If you wanted to, you could add the nail polishes to slumber party favours later too.
You can include makeovers and makeup to this too.
NOTE: as you are inviting tweens and young teens, do check with parents first!
NOTE 2: Nail varnish is VERY hard to recycle/ dispose of (it is toxic to ground water and can also burn/ explode, so recycling centres don’t like them). So please do only buy colours that you think the girls will like.. rather than joke colours that won’t get used. The best way to dispose of nail varnish is in fact to use it up, so only the glass bottle is left over.
Of course we had a beauty facemask session too! Don’t forget the cucumbers. I made a big point of telling the girls to count all the cucumbers at the end. I really didn’t want one or two of them ending up inside a sleeping bags.
We bought a pack of 12 “flavours”. I think it is useful to have a couple of spare masks in case a) someone really doesn’t like the one they got.. b) someone somehow “breaks theirs” and needs another. There ended up being quite a bit of trading at our tween sleepover party!
Piggy Party Surprise Ball
DIY Surprise balls are basically the same as pass the parcel but for older kids! They are easy to make and a great way to customise a game to a specific party theme (we had a pig theme.. long story).
Go Fishing (Eat the Donut)
Eat the donut is one of my kids favourite party game ever. It is one we absolutely ALWAYS have to play. The set up is simple, you need:
- a stick
- donuts (though we used gummy worms – see below)
Tie a donut to the string and stick. One person holds the “fishing rod” and another has to eat the donut without hands.
We had two fishing rods going at the same time. The party guests loved catching the donut as well as doing the fishing in equal measures.
Gummy worm – we actually used gummy worms this time, as recently hosted a Halloween party with the donut game, so wanted to switch things up.
NOTE: Watch out for eyes and being poked by sticks!
The Cookie Face Game
The cookie face game is easy.. you can play it with any cookie or other treat. Place the treat on your forehead.. then using facial muscles only, move it towards your mouth. It is great for 10min of peaceful silence too!
Would you rather game/ Truth or Dare Game
We all know this childhood classic. We decided to print out of would rather/ truth or dare notes.. and popped them into two jars. Every so often we got the jars out (e.g. during the party craft).. and then at the very end (after the grown ups went to bed), they finished off the rest of the questions/ dares.
DIY Escape Rooms
There are lots of online escape rooms you can now “diy yourself”, like this “Make Your Own Escape Room for Fall“. That could be another way to get the tweens and teens engaged!
We decided to keep it simple and made homemade pizza! Yummy.
NOTE: do make sure you have checked for food allergies and any other dietry requirements.
Then of course we also had a slumber party movie! I made sure we had lots of popcorn and snacks – chips, cookies, pretzels, sweets and cake!
NOTE: check for vegetarian or Halal requirements. Many gummy treats, contain gelatine which is an animal product. If you live in the UK – Marks & Spences has a gelatine free ranges of gummies!
The rest of the Slumber Party Night
Pillow fight (no thanks!)
I managed to somehow avoid a pillow fight (trust me they are overrated and always end in tears)… but they did have fun with a bunch of glow sticks (though I feel bad, as they are so eco-unfriendly)..
Slumber party board games
You can always have some board games to hand too!
Karaoke machine and music playlists
Similarly, some kids LOVE karaoke and it is definitely a fun thing to do as a slumber party gane.. so a Karaoke Machine to hire or as a birthday gift could go down a treat. Our birthday host, wasn’t so much into singing, so we left it this time.
Or alternatively just put your faovurite plat list aand have a dance party.
Setting up the sleepover camp
I got all the kids to help me push the furniture out of the way and set up the sleepover camp. Help everyone find a spot they feel comfortable in and make sure they are all buddied up and that no one feels “alone”.
Slumber Parties – breakfast
Normally our slumber parties have pancake or waffle breakfasts. But with 10 tweens and teens, that seemed a bit of a humongous task.. so we stocked up on ready to bake croissants and pain of chocolat. We also got some baguettes, chocolate spread, biscoff and juices. Easy!
And that was the end of our sleepover party.
What time did they all go to bed? I think it was about 3am!! But I guess that that is part of a successful sleepover? They managed to sleep until about 9am.. at which point our cats woke them up. Ooops.
I hope you have found some helpful slumber party ideas and that you and your kids have lots of fun!