Slumber parties in the city
Oooh, this is right up my alley since I started boarding school as a pre-teen, was excited to go and initially every night felt like a slumber party! Slumber parties can be a real laugh, especially when they are planned well. A bit challenging to have in cities with smaller apartments, but that shouldn’t stop you? Just manage the number of invites or have everyone sleep in the living room in a sleeping bag. So….you can do it one of two ways! First, it can be a very low maintenance birthday party (relatively speaking, nothing with the word slumber ever is) with a little planned entertainment for the guests (with generally an activity that includes everyone – for younger kids, a 30 minute magic show is ideal); and then perhaps pizza, a movie and then lights out. Or you can go the full monty, with again an inclusive activity, themed toothbrushes and a couple of flashlights (so much fun to whisper and tell ghost stories after lights out), and sleeping bags. And if you have one of those playtents for toddlers, throw it in for good measure.
While on the theme of slumber parties, I think the most important ingredient for the birthday child (besides the cake) are his/her pajamas. Now I love pajamas regardless of the occasion, so I would look for any excuse to get my kids a new pair of pajamas. There are several types of cool pajamas (but generally speaking I prefer the cotton and conservative ones, the latter which are not cool). Every time i look at a striped pajama, i think jailbird, but yet still i love them. A pajama give away for a slumber party can be quite pricey depending on where you get them from and the number of kids…but it does eliminate the cattiness (my pajamas are better than yours, naa nana nah nah). Or you could cleverly sidetrack the whole thing by having everyone bring their own dress up costumes to wear during the party. If you choose to do so, definitely try and get the same pair of pajamas for everyone. Or dare to be different, and get a super cool pair of pajamas for your birthday boy or girl. Here are a selection, and yes, i did include the jailbird ones…and the girl with the tutu (which presumably, you take off the tutu before you get into bed??)
How many kids are coming again?
Personally, I think that anywhere between two and five is a good number for a slumber party for a young child (6/7 to 10 years old) depending on the size of your apartment. If you have other young kids, perhaps they can sleep over at a grandparent’s home for the evening….otherwise, don’t get too worked about them, as long as they aren’t getting into any trouble, they will probably be as excited as the birthday child.
As a parent, one should also be sensitive to the number of kids coming that are NOT from the same school and/or neighborhood – children can be so sensitive. My advice is that if you are planning on inviting people from different schools, go for a smaller number of kids.
The menu: pre-dinner, dinner and midnight snack
Be mindful of all allergies a week or two ahead of time. There are loads of peanut, strawberry and egg allergies….just keep it simple by not serving ANY foods that someone may be allergic too.
Pre-dinner menu – keep it simple and encourage healthy snacks. Remember you are responsible for a few kids for the entire evening, (nothing can be worse than a bunch of supercharged sugar high kids bouncing off the walls for four or five hours). How about a fruit or a vegetable dip? You can make it a bit more exciting…bananas dipped in peanut butter or “nutella and strawberries”. Popcorn and pretzels are a good choice and won’t ruin the appetite for dinner.
Dinner (unless you are a gourmet cook and I do know many many moms that are), then pizza of course!!! It really is easy to make, appeals universally to most kids and can be served warm. If you are low on activities, have the kids make their own pizza. Cool!
Birthday cake: For cakes, check out my “cool cakes London post” and if you are on pinterest, there are so many more cool cakes….you should be able to get loads of ideas from this.
A movie is a great way of turning down the excitement and getting everyone to switch off for a bit. There are loads of cool Disney movies and then you can’t go wrong on the oldies like Mary Poppins.
More activities pre and post birthday cake
Otherwise, if everyone is feeling quite upbeat after the birthday cake, here are a list of activities to keep everyone engaged: And remember, as a parent for younger kids, you should be around to sort of referee but not too around, that you become frankly annoying!
- Monopoly for kids (but you can also have a time limit on this game, coz it really can go on and on especially if you have five kids).
- Charades or Pictionary for kids
- Musical statues for younger kids
- Spa night (avocado or egg mask (you can make it yourself), nail polish (make sure that you protect the carpet)
- Fashion shows….we did these in our dorm room, they can be so much fun!
- Truth or dare – for young kids, it may be more appropriate for you to come up with a list of questions that they can pick out of a hat. For instance, a truth question could be…..”if you are out with a few friends in the garden, what is the last animal you would want to meet, (a) a snake (b) a rat or (c) a waterbug?”
You would definitely have to come up with five or six dare questions that can be recycled (the sillier, the more fun). For example, I dare you to do “tree pose’….(as in yoga), while reciting peter, piper picked pickled peppers, for five seconds…or you can have them just say peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers three times.
Midnight snacks: You have to have them. These are the best…and btw, they don’t have to be served at midnight. If you have younger kids of 7- 8 years old, you can offer it at 9 or 10, that’s the equivalent of midnight for them! How about marshmallows??? MMmm amidst ghost stories (again, parents supervise, some kids can get really scary and put everyone in a terror for the rest of the night!!!).
The morning after…..No-one gets much sleep after a slumber party (least of all you, you are in charge of all these kids for one night, so you will probably flinch at every turn….). Arrange for an early pick-up right after breakfast, but do have an assortment of muffins, orange juice, and bagels on the table the next morning……..If you can’t face talking the next morning and rehosting the excited parents the next day, you can arrange for you and the kids to be somewhere at a certain time……early that morning….