Sleepover parties can be a great alternative to outdoor, backyard birthday parties if your little one was boring in the winter months, allowing you to get them and all their friends together despite the cold, wet, and windy weather conditions outside.
They’re also great for parents who perhaps don’t have the time to invest, or frankly just don’t want to, in all the pre-party planning, post-party clean-up, and on-the-day management that comes with a more traditional kid’s birthday party – given that they tend to have far fewer guests, meaning they’re much less demanding when it comes to organizing them.
That said – don’t think they’re easy! Everything requires some forward planning – house rules, sleeping arrangements, snacks, and entertainment – there are still plenty of moving parts to a sleepover, all of which will need you to plan ahead as you would with any other type of party of event.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most important of these considerations, steps, and tips, to help you plan your first kid’s sleepover party. And if you’re new to this, don’t worry – once you’ve taken the time to work through our simple tips and pointers, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a sleepover organizing wizard.
6 steps and tips for sleepover party hosts
From food and entertainment, to sleep arrangements and house rules – we’ll delve into some of the most significant considerations for any sleepover, giving you a couple of tips, suggestions, and other ideas, to help make putting together and pulling off your party a breeze.
So, without further ado, here are our pick of the six most important steps and tips for successfully planning and hosting a kid’s sleepover party.
1. Establish house rules early on, and make sure your guests understand from the start
Before you do anything else, it’s good to establish house rules that your sleepover guests will need to comply with, to avoid any risk of things getting out of hand or too unruly early on. If you’ve had sleepovers before, you can skip this one – as you’ll know all too well how important rules are, and likely have a pre-existing set ready to go.
If, however, this is the first sleepover that you’ve organized for your little one and their friends, you’ll want to take pen to paper in the run up to your sleepover, days or weeks before your guests are scheduled to arrive. There are plenty of things to think about when putting your list together – bedtimes, rooms that are out of bounds, activities that are forbidden – you’ll need to give your rules some proper thought.
And don’t be afraid to set rules early on, making it the first thing you make clear to sleepover guests shortly after they arrive, making them as clear and concise as possible. Want kid you kid’s enjoying each other’s company, and not using their smartphones – ban them – or want everyone off to bed before a certain time, set a lights-out.
2. Work out where everyone is going to sleep and make appropriate arrangements
Perhaps the most obvious consideration for a sleepover, is where all your little party guests are going to sleep. Typically, sleepovers happen in kid’s bedrooms – but they can happen anywhere in the home, in a living room or lounge instead – either way, you’re going to need to clean plenty of space to set up camp.
If you’ve already got plenty of spare dinosaur sleeping bags and dino bedding sets to go around, great – if you haven’t, you might want to pick some up. You might even go a step further, opting for indoor camping, using dinosaur tents – there are plenty of options when it comes to sleeping arrangements, so be sure to give it proper thought.
If you don’t have enough bedding at home to go around, or don’t have the budget to pick some up – you could always ask your little sleepover guests to bring their own. This can be a pretty good option, as all you’ll need to prep is the space for them to setup their own sleeping arrangements, as opposed to you having to do this instead.
3. Plan out activities, offering plenty of variety and options as possible
Parties aren’t much of a party without games and activities – this is after all, what makes them fun! There are a few things to consider here that you might not with a regular party, for instance, how loud a particular activity is, or how many people will be playing it. Sleepovers – as the name implies – happen at night, so you don’t want noisey activities. They also tend to have fewer guests that a day-time party, which can make some activities more suited than others.
Sleepover party activities don’t need to be complicated – they can be as simple as watching a movie and video games, playing dinosaur board games, or even building LEGO dinosaurs – the list of dino-themed sleepover activities is near-endless. Depending on the age and gender of party guests, you might also want to consider more girly activities, like make-overs and nail polish, as these have long-been inexpensive, staples of girls sleepovers – making some of the best, inexpensive, effortless activity picks.
You might even want to turn your activities into a competition, with prizes for the winners – this is especially good if you’re picking more creative activities, like arts and crafts or construction toys. But remember not to go overboard – keep prizes modest when it comes to budget as you would for any other kid’s party, as there’s really no need to overspend.
4. Keep party food simple, with minimal prep and post-party clean-up
When it comes to slumber party food, the number one rule is to keep it simple. You don’t want the sort of elaborate spread you might get at a regular party – you want things that are simple, both to prepare and to eat. You also want things that aren’t going to cause too much mess – the last thing you want is to spend the morning after giving your little one’s bedroom a deep clean.
Things like Pizza make a pretty good option – especially as you can also order it in – making it a pretty effortless pick. As well as the main meal, you’re going to want plenty of snacks – popcorn, chips, dips, and soft drinks are all good picks. If you’re more health-concious, it’s going to take a little more effort and prep, however, there are plenty of equally good options that don’t need hours and hours of planning and prep.
You could also get a little more creative, making food one of your party activities – if we take the pizza example, you could have DIY toppings, or if you feel like baking, you could get the dinosaur cookie cutters out, creating a batch of cookies ready for your party guests to decorate. There are plenty of possibilities here if you’re willing to get creative – just do yourself a favour and try to keep party food as simple and easy to clean up as possible. And remember, if it’s a birthday party, you’re still going to want some cake!
5. Just because it’s a sleepover, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t decorate!
One mistake that many people make is to think that because it’s at night, for a smaller group, and likely in hosted in a bedroom, that there’s no need to decorate. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! Having a party during the night time adds a whole new range of possibilities when it comes to party décor.
You’ll definitely want to think about lighting options – as you want your little party guests to be able to stay up a little later than they might usually, but without disturbing others in the home. This makes getting the right type and level of light pretty important, making things like decorative dinosaur string lights, or dim, ambient light – the sort you’d get from a dinosaur night light – are great options.
In addition to decoration – and if you’re keen to take your sleepover theme a step further – you could always invest in dinosaur onesies or dinosaur pajamas for your guests, adding an element of costume. This can really add to the sleepovers theme, and will be a lot of fun when it comes to party photos!
6. Everyone loves party bags and favors. Don’t skip them just because it’s a sleepover!
Unlike a regular, day-time party – where party favors are given at the end of the day – for sleepovers, it much more common to give guests a party bag at the beginning, stuffing it full of accessories and items that will be used during the party.
As mentioned in our last tip – you could include matching pyjamas, onesies, or other dinosaur costumes in a party favor. This won’t just make the party more fun and memorable, but will give guests a pretty good memento of the event – ensuring that your sleepover has a lasting impression with kid’s and parents alike.
You might also want to think about other items that are perfect for use during the night, as part of the party – for instance, dinosaur flashlights might be a good pick, or things like glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark dinosaur action figures, or other, similar accessories.
Well, there you have it, our round-up of six tips and steps to help you plan the perfect dinosaur-themed sleepover party.
Sleepovers are a great way to make and reinforce bonds with close friends, being far more intimate due to their low guest count – helping your little one to create memories and forge friendships that will last a lifetime.
But just because they’re smaller, it doesn’t mean that they don’t require any work – many of the same things needed for a regular birthday party are still needed, just to a lesser extent. There are also a few distinct differences, such as the requirement for sleeping arrangements, or changes to the types of food offered – but don’t be fooled.
While they’re arguably less work, they’re not work-free, with plenty of forward planning and prep still being needed to make your little one’s birthday sleepover a roaring success, and fun for everyone who attends.
Most importantly, remember to have fun organizing – and be sure to include your little one in as much decision making as you can, as it’s their big day after all.