Here's a fun idea for a sleepover party that's perfect for school-age kids: a camp-out slumber party.
All you need are some sleeping bags, stories, camp-out must-haves such as s'mores, a little imagination, and voila! You have the makings of a fun theme for a sleepover that can take place indoors or out.
What You Will Need:
- Sleeping bags (ask each child to bring one, and if some kids don’t have one, borrow some from friends).
- "Lanterns" (flashlights)
- Healthy snacks such as baby carrots with hummus or cheese and crackers with grapes.
- Camping-themed dishes such as mini burgers, hot dogs, roasted potatoes, and for dessert, definitely s'mores!
- Ropes for tying knots (Use a knot-tying kit or get a book about knots).
- An archery or other outdoor-themed video game, such as for the Wii, which lets kids break out into teams and compete.
- Stories (Try an excerpt from an outdoors-themed book such as Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen for older kids or arrange some camp-themed coloring pages for younger kids to color). If the kids are older and not likely to get spooked, try mildly scary books such as one of the Goosebumps series.
- A CD or nature sounds or a nature-themed movie such as 2009's Earth documentary, which uses footage from BBC and Discovery Channel.
How to Organize the Camp-Out Party:
- Schedule the party for late afternoon/early evening, near dinnertime. As children arrive, let them socialize and snack as you prepare dinner.
- After the children have eaten, have the kids play camping-themed games such as a knot-tying contest or if you have a Wii, a game of archery with two teams.
- Serve s'mores, and if it’s a birthday party, the cake.
- Have kids brush their teeth get their PJs on. Turn out the lights and let them use their flashlights as they settle down in their sleeping bags for story time.
- A bit before lights out, play the nature sounds CD or a DVD of the earth-themed documentary (if indoors) to get them relaxed as they drift off to sleep.
- Try to keep the number of kids down to a manageable number -- no more than 5 to 8 friends, depending on age. (Eight children will be a lot easier to handle if the kids are older since they don't need as much supervision with eating, drinking, brushing teeth, and so on).
- Plan ahead for the morning after the sleepover and have a neighborhood sitter or another parent come early and pitch in to help.