We’ve all got memories of the childhood sleepovers we had as kids. From the spooky stories told at bedtime, to the giggles shared after the lights are turned out, there’s no doubt a slumber party is a recipe for a bunch of fun!
If you’ve been trying to figure out how to throw a party your kids and their friends will absolutely love, you’ve come to the right place.
Hosting a group of little ones around bedtime takes some serious planning! No need to panic though—we’ve pulled together a few tips and tricks in order to throw the ultimate slumber party.
Step 1: Pick a Theme
A party theme is a sure-fire way of making your party stand out and will help you stay on track throughout the planning process.
Use your child’s interests and favourite things to guide your theme. Whether that be a jungle, fairy or even space-themed slumber party. You might even decide to go for a colour theme, it’s all up to you!
Image: Dream & Party
You can plan decorations, activities and invitations around the theme, which will not only make your party look cohesive, but also impress your mini party guests.
If you’re having trouble deciding, head over to our birthday celebrations section for loads of theme inspiration!
Step 2: Invitations and Guest Lists
Now it’s time to choose the guests! We recommend giving your little one a limit, then letting them choose who to invite. Remember, you’ll need a lot of room to host everyone—so we recommend keeping the guest list small.
Once you’ve narrowed down your guest list, create some fun invitations. Plenty of invitation templates are online that make it simple and easy, yet still have a bit of added flair. There are also a bunch of stationery designers we love to recommend in our HOORAY! Vendor Guide.
As a parent, sending your kids away for a sleep over can be a little daunting so make sure you send out the invites well ahead of time, have plenty of information and offer contact details so parents can get in touch if they’ve got any concerns.
Step 3: Create the Menu
Now that you’ve decided on the theme and guest list, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to feed your youngsters!
Sleepovers can be a lot to organise—so our tip is to keep the menu nice and simple. Takeaway pizza is always an easy-peasy party pleaser. Otherwise, you could consider hot dogs or nachos.
You’ll also want to have a bunch of snacks on hand, so kids have things to nibble on when they’re hungry. Just remember to avoid too much sugar—or they’ll have a tough time getting to sleep!
A snack table or grazing station can be a fun way to present the nibbles. Be sure to include a mix of sweet and savoury items, as well as some healthy options. We recommend classic party treats, such as popcorn, chips, marshmallows, fairy bread, nuts and fruit. You can let the kids eat when they’re ready and it’ll look great too!
Displaying the food in a fun and creative way, particularly healthier options, is a good way to entice the pickier eaters. This could include cutting the food into fun shapes or animals, or making it look like something else (take a look at these banana sushi bites for example!).
Be sure to gather any allergies or dietary needs from the other children’s parents ahead of time!
Step 4: Organise Sleeping Arrangements
Perhaps the most important aspect of any good slumber party is the sleeping arrangements!
Plan where you’re going to set up, the lounge room is a good option. This will give the kids plenty of space and is likely an easy access point in the house, that will make keeping an eye on things easier even if you’re not in the same room. Organise the sleeping spots in a circle and designate placements before the kids arrive so there’s no hurt feelings when it comes time to go to bed.
There are a number of ways you can create a fun atmosphere around going to bed. You can keep things simple by layering comfy cushions and blankets, with sleeping bags and pillows.
If you’d like to plan something a little extra, setting up tiny teepees will have even the most excitable of kids counting down to bedtime, and they look so sweet!
There are a bunch of small businesses who specialise in hiring out teepees and sleepover essentials, like these oh so cute bohemian style teepees from Joy Co Events.
If you prefer, you can also DIY! Most department stores will sell mini teepees. Then, add some blow-up mattresses, colourful sheets, some statement cushions, string fairy lights and away you go!
Image: Joy Co
Step 5: Prepare for the Guests to Arrive
Have a designated time for everyone to arrive mentioned on the invitations—but expect kids to arrive sporadically.
Greet all the parents and young ones as they come, this will make everyone feel comfortable and ease any nerves. Have some tea or coffee ready so parents can hang around for a little while before they say goodbye for the night. This will also give you a chance to get to know some of the mums and dads you may not have met before
Have your little one show their friends into the party room, where they’ll be sleeping and offer up a place for them to keep their things. This will keep everyone busy without starting the party activities, preventing anyone from feeling left out if they arrive last.
Step 6: Plan the Entertainment
You’re going to need something to keep your mini partygoers busy. Having some activities prepared ahead of time will stop the kids from getting restless and keep the fun rolling!
Classic slumber party activities such as movie marathons and fun dance playlists are a good place to start. You could also get creative and have the kids make their own sleeping masks, like this fun DIY.
If you’re not afraid of a little mess, they can even decorate their own cupcakes! Make your own with this awesome surprise rainbow cupcake recipe.
If you’re wanting to mix it up even more, host a pyjama competition, with awards going out for different best pyjama categories. It’s a great way to start the bed-time process and get those kids into their pyjamas, ready to start winding down.
Step 7: Going to Sleep
Having a group of excited kids all in the one room may mean getting them to sleep is a challenge. Once you’ve got them in their pyjamas, prepare some activities to lull them into sleep.
First things first, you want to create a calm and relaxing environment, turn off the TV and dim the lighting. Creating a soothing night time playlist to play in the background may also help too. Spotify has a range of curated playlists perfect for bedtime.
Prepare some pre-bedtime kits. This can include the sleeping mask all the kids made earlier, a small stuffed toy and some essentials parents may have forgotten like a toothbrush or a hairbrush. You could even have the kids make up their own bedtime stories. Give them a bit of time to think about it and have them go around one by one trying out their stories.
After this, it’s lights out. Prepare to hear some chatter and whispers even after the wind-down process, as that’s half the fun of having all your friends over for the night!
Be sure to let them know you’re there if anyone needs you throughout the night and check on them an hour or two after the noise dies down.
Step 8: The Morning After
Although you may be thinking about the night time aspect, slumber parties also entail the morning after! Some things to consider for the following day are breakfasts, organising all the gear and belongings and arranging a pick up time.
Make sure you have a time scheduled in advance, so parents know when to start arriving to take their kids home. Putting this amongst the details on your invitations is the best option.
Get the kids up and moving at a set time so you can fit in the whole morning routine before parents arrive. Have some fun and light morning music to play whilst the kids get dressed and gather their belongings. It’s likely that things will be scattered all over the place, so you may want to help them during this process and avoid any left behind items.
Expect everyone to be a little tired after the previous night’s festivities, so organise a nice and simple breakfast! Basics like cereal, fruit and toast are a few easy options to suit everyone’s needs. Add in some fun choices that they may not normally have to keep the party spirit alive, with treats such as donuts and mini pancakes.