The Sleepover Guide

Part Three: Hosting a Sleepover for a Group of Boys

I’ve been on a mission to find out what makes a good sleepover party for boys. I am not a boy, so I’ve resorted to asking all of my male friends what they did at sleepovers when they were young. Sadly, each time the answer was, “we played video games.”
On one hand, this makes it easy to host a sleepover for boys. Just make sure you have enough game controllers and snacks for all of your guests. But on the other hand, I don’t like the idea of kids staring at a screen all night. It’s so passive and… unpleasant.

So here are my tips for a fun boys’ sleepover that kids and parents can feel good about. It will work best for boys aged 6 to 11 and is perfect for a special occasion like the end of school or a birthday party.

• Keep the guest list small and manageable—3 to 5 kids are ideal. Tell the other parents that you are hosting a party which ends at 9 PM (or whatever works for you) but that the party will continue as a sleepover for any kids who are able to spend the night. That way, kids whose parents don’t feel comfortable letting them sleepover can still come and have fun.

• Friday night is the best chance you’ve got to get kids to bed at a reasonable hour—they’ll be just tired enough from their week. A Friday sleepover also gives kids a full weekend to recuperate.

• Having a loose theme will help you come up with tons of good activity ideas. Here are some popular themes: camping, zoo, robots, dinosaur and sports. Older kids are less likely to want a theme (unless the theme is video games!)

• When the kids arrive after school have a healthy and filling snack ready. Pizza, popcorn and other “typical sleepover foods” can come later. To keep everyone’s energy up in the beginning, serve tasty fruit smoothies, crackers, cheese or veggies. If the weather permits, serve this snack outside and let the kids run off some of their after school energy. Throw in a soccer ball, some Zartz, or any simple outdoor activity.

• After kids have had some time to be wild, focus them in on a craft (this is where as theme comes in handy). Tie dye is always a good option and there are limitless free craft ideas online. Of course, you do happen to be reading the blog of a pretty sweet toy store and I can’t pretend that we don’t have some really great crafts for the occasion. Check out our Arts and Crafts Department for lots of affordable and easy projects.

• As the kids finish their crafts give them some time on their own to hang out and do whatever it is that boys do. Dinner time is a great way to bring everyone back together. It can be hard to please all of the picky little guest’s taste buds. Pizza is an easy and classic sleepover food and making pizza all together is even better!

• After dinner is a good time for games and movies. I suggest renting flicks about the power of friendship, like the Goonies! If you choose older movies there will be less chance that someone has already seen it. Old sci-fi movies are great too, because kids love talking about the “fake” aspects and feeling superior. Dollar stores often have ridiculous films for cheap so you can pick up several choices.

• Hopefully the movie gets them sleepy. If not, you could flip the main electrical breaker at 2 AM to shut down the Xbox, and then pretend there was a power outage. Kidding (sort of).

Good luck! I loved reading about this mom’s awesome dinosaur birthday sleepover for her son—check out greatfun4kids. And take a look at these Strategies for a Successful Sleepover from metrokids.

This has been a Growing Tree Toys Fun Activities for Kids Post and the 3rd installment of our 5 part Sleepover Guide! Check out Part One and Part Two of the Sleepover Guide for more tips! Picture of boys with swords from Nanazoob on Flickr.


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  2. The Sleepover Guide - June 2, 2010

    […] So good night and sweet dreams! If you missed the rest you can catch up with Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four! Thanks to Tom Little for the photo of the Carnegie Art Museum. Other photos are from […]

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