Children love to take control of their own destiny, or at least their own bedtime. Slumber parties give kids a sense of independence by surrounding them with friends and limiting the traditional rules of bedtime. Even at the inevitable lights-out moment, the snickering and giggles continue. Plan some games that bring a little structure back to an evening of chaos.
Even at a young age, kids start requesting slumber parties, as they extend playtime past the normal “time to go home” hour. Once kids are old enough and comfortable enough with the friend to be away from home, they can participate in slumber parties. Games distract young and old from homesickness.
In The Dark
A set bedtime will keep the chaos and tears to a minimum. For young kids, games while the sun is setting are ideal so you can get them into bed at a decent hour. Take advantage of fireflies settling in, that look like fairies alighting the backyard. Older kids can participate in more spooky games after sundown. Hide-and-seek games and tag games will be so much more exciting when the sun sets. To minimize disappointment at the end, establish an end-time before the games begin.
Slumber party games can be as elaborate or simple as you want. The dark and late night are factors that make any game fun. For some simple indoor games, pull out a roll of butcher or parchment paper, and let the kids play draw-and-guess games. Charades require no materials at all. Boys may enjoy sports games outside, using whatever balls or equipment you have on hand. Girls would love a fashion show, using nail polish and dress-up clothes.
If you are playing games at sunset or after dark, you need to take extra precautions to keep everyone safe. Clean the yard you will be playing in. Corral young kids to a backyard or other fenced area to control how far they roam. Hand out flashlights when kids arrive to make sure everyone can see properly in the yard. Keep the kids’ energy and awareness levels in mind while they play the games. As kids start to get tired, they might be distracted. Have plenty of adults on hand to keep track of everyone and have a first-aid kit ready for spills and abrasions.
If you are playing games with clear winners, such as Capture the Flag, prizes can fit the theme of the evening or be practical to the slumber party atmosphere. A new toothbrush or body lotion is great for spa parties. A stuffed animal can keep the guests company as they doze off to sleep.
- party image by Silvia Bogdanski from Fotolia.com