Sleepover games make the party more lively and interesting. However, children’s energy can reach a fever pitch, so try to alternate energetic games with more calming activities, such as watching a movie or doing a cooking project. Brainstorm favorite games with your children, but remind them to consider their guests’ preferences as well. Have a few back-up games and activities ready in case something you plan falls flat or your guests run through your itinerary too quickly.
Sleepover games have come a long way since playing Operator and Truth or Dare. Scary games you play in the dark, such as telling ghost stories, entertain older children. Younger children prefer active games, such as playing flashlight tag or hide-and-seek outdoors. Organized, noncompetitive games help the guests feel more like a group. Consider cooperative activities, such as a treasure hunt, doing makeovers, building blanket forts or song and dance games. Board games do not tend to interest large groups of festive children.
The games you plan should engage all the guests and keep spirits high, but they need not involve keeping score or deciding winners. Inflate a few beach balls and host a living room volleyball game with multiple balls in play, or gather the group around for the classic pajama party game of Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board. The victim lies rigid and, as the group chants “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” then slowly try to raise the person from the ground.
Many sleepover party games feature special activities. Use a karaoke machine to play a game where each person must sing a lyric from a song about a chosen topic, such as animals or love. Pass out cupcakes and have a cupcake decorating factory in which each child adds a signature topping. Classic active games such as Charades, Statues, Red Light Green Light, Mother May I? and Hot Potato work well for younger children. Quieter groups may enjoy games involving manipulatives such as Legos, Pick-Up Sticks, jacks, marbles, Jenga or paddle ball.
Games make a slumber party a communal experience. Select activities that encourage working together or group challenges. Trust falls, in which one person must fall into the arms of a partner, build trust. Make giant pretzels by having the children hold hands as you tangle them into a shape and then a child waiting outside the room must come in an untangle them. Have partners study one another and then, as one person shuts his eyes, the other changes one thing about his appearance. The partner must guess which thing his partner changed before they switch roles.
Arguments break out more easily as children get tired. Cliques begin to form, and some children feel excluded. Use games involving cards or objects to divert children’s attention from one another and keep feelings from getting hurt.
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