It’s your child’s birthday, and your house is about to be invaded by a small group of his friends for a sleepover. Keep them busy with several games so that they don’t resort to pranks such as crank calls or dipping each other’s hands in hot water. Schedule the games so that active and loud games happen early in the evening and quieter games occur as the children are winding down for bed.
Hide and Seek
Start a game of hide and seek early in the evening. Establish ground rules, such as where the children can hide. Tell them no cheating when it comes to counting. Have the birthday girl be “it” first. Tell her to count to 100 while everyone else hides. You can play a variation on hide and seek by having the birthday girl hide an object, such as a ticking timer, that the other children have to search for.
Fun With Sleeping Bags
Play a variation on musical chairs, using the sleeping bags instead. Arrange the sleeping bags in a circle. Use one less sleeping bag than the number of children. Play a song, such as “Happy Birthday.” When you stop playing it, the children need to scramble to sit on a sleeping bag. Whoever doesn’t get to a bag is out. You can also select one person to be “it” and have her leave the room. When she is gone, everyone else hides in a bag. She will have to guess who is in each bag when she comes back.
Scary sleepover games are best played by older groups of children. If you sense that any one child is getting too scared, put a stop to the game. Creepy games include Light as a Feather, where one person lies on the floor and the others chant “light as a feather, stiff as a board” and then lift the person off the floor. Other scary games include Bloody Mary or one using a Ouija board.
Set up some board games around the party area, so that the children can play them before bed or if they are out during another game. Just before bedtime, the guests may want to play a game of Truth or Dare. If you’d rather the children not try to accomplish dares at your house, limit the game to Truth only. Children can play Truth as they lie in their sleeping bags with the lights off.
Give every guest a party favor bag to take home. If you want to award prizes for the games, make sure that not too much of an emphasis is placed on the prizes and make the prizes small, such as an extra piece of candy. You can also award small prizes to every guest at the end of each game, in lieu of the favor bag at the end of the party. For instance, give everyone a sticker at the end of hide and seek or a fun-sized candy bar once musical chairs is over.
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