Fun Ideas for a Sleepover Party for Kids

Consider these popular sleepover party ideas for your child's next celebration

girls smiling at a sleepover party
School-age kids love sleepovers. Try one of these ideas at your next party!. Andersen Ross/Getty Images

For many kids, a sleepover party is the ultimate fun—a chance to get together with friends to play party games, enjoy yummy snacks and cake, and then stay up past their bedtimes and talk late into the night. Then they can wake up and have more fun and eat breakfast together.

A slumber party is an exciting rite of passage for school-age children. For the host/birthday child, a sleepover party means having his friends stay for what is basically an extended playdate packed with fun, birthday cake, and presents.

For the kids who are guests, a sleepover party is a rare chance to try out their independence and spend a night away from the familiarity of home and mom and dad and siblings. A sleepover party, in other words, is not only fun and games and friendship, but it’s a significant step toward being a big kid.

Here are some ideas for fun kids’ sleepover party themes—and snack and decoration ideas—to consider for your next party.


  1. Movie Marathon
    Whether your child chooses the Lord of the Rings trilogy (with or without The Hobbit thrown in), Star Wars, the Harry Potter movies, or Miyazaki’s ethereal, poetic, and lovely animated films, a movie marathon is the perfect birthday party activity for kids.

    Whichever movie series you choose, keep in mind the age of the kids when planning your marathon. For instance, 6-year-olds may not have the attention span to sit through all the Harry Potter movies (and may be frightened by some of the scary characters and scenes). For example, if you’re planning a Star Wars marathon with younger children, you may want to go with part of the series—Star Wars and the Empire Strikes Back—on the night of the party and play the third movie, Return of the Jedi, on the last night. You could also go with Princess-themed movies, such as Cinderella, Snow White, or, if you wanna go modern, the brilliant Enchanted and charming Princess Diaries.

    Decorations/Accessories: Have kids make signs with pictures depicting the movie theme. If Star Wars is your movie marathon choice, then kids can draw lightsabers and the Star Wars logo on signs to put around the area where the movies will be shown. For princess movies, a castle cake and tiaras for guests (of course!) can be part of the celebration. You can also have kids make movie tickets and give them out to guests.

    Snacks: Popcorn (preferably made from raw kernels popped in an air popper or on the stove in a pan with a bit of canola oil), M&Ms, and seltzer with a bit of juice and mashed berries for sweetness.
  1. Fun and Games Party
    Whether you plan some rollickin' rounds of Heads Up or outdoor relay races, making games the center of your party means loads of fun for kids. Kids will love competing and winning prizes, and party games can encourage important skills such as cheering opponents on, losing or winning gracefully, and trying your best. Party games for kids are win-win, all-around.

    Decorations/Accessories: Depending on the theme of the party, you can decorate the house with sports-related items, playing card-inspired accents, or board game-related decorations. Gift bags can include playing cards or travel-game versions of board games.

    Snacks: Think easy-to-eat snacks and food such as pizza, sandwiches or wraps—things that will be easy to nibble on while immersed in fun games.
  1. Camp-out Slumber Party
    Pitch a tent in the backyard or living room and voila! You have the foundation for a camp-out slumber party. Kids love the idea of sleeping outside under the stars and being in nature, and having a camp-out theme—whether the actual party is in the backyard or in the living room—can be fun for kids.

    Decorations/Accessories: Goody bags can include small flashlights and camping-related books (a book on knots or facts about nature, for example). A tent, sleeping bags (brought by kids) and flashlights are essential, and mildly spooky stories or other stories about the wild (Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen or White Fang, by Jack London, for example) can add to the camp-out atmosphere.

    Snacks: Burgers, hot dogs, and s’mores, of course!
  2. Crafts Party
    Get some crafts materials for kids and a large table or floor space and you have the makings of a wonderful kids’ party. Kids love creating things using their imaginations, and a crafts party will be an opportunity for them to make fun projects alongside their friends. Crafts encourage creativity in kids, and also help them work on their fine-motor skills, too!

    Decorations/Accessories: You can make some pretty vellum paper garlands or paper flowers with your child to decorate for the party. You can also create some pretty crafts during the party to hang them around before kids take them home. Each child's post-party gift bag can include some crafts materials as well as the fun things he or she made at the party.

    Snacks: Mini pizzas, chicken tenders, cut-up veggies with hummus or low-fat ranch dressing—anything that can be grabbed between creating fabulous crafts. You can also get cake or cookies in the shape of flowers or hearts, or anything that fits the theme of what you and your child have decided to make at the crafts party.
  1. Iron Chef Kids Cook-Off Party
    Take a cue from cooking competition shows like Iron Chef and have kids make an appetizer, a main dish, or dessert using simple recipes. Adults can supervise each team, and handle the more grown-up tasks like stirring hot things on the stove, putting in or taking out dishes from the oven, or chopping ingredients.

    Select an ingredient, such as blueberries, and have kids choose from recipes you've picked out for their simplicity. They can make muffins, pancakes, or even smoothies using the ingredient. Then you can have a taste-off, during which everyone gets to sample all the dishes and award each other prizes for categories such as "most sweet," "most blueberry-tasting," and "most fun to make." That way, no one is judged on how good one team's creations taste compared to another team's, and everyone can win a category!

    Decorations/Accessories: You can give out kid-sized aprons at the start of the cook-off and allow kids to take them home after the party is over. Kids can also take home a goody bag of goodies such as berries, baking mixes, or their own whisk—foods and utensils that can nurture their inner chef and let them create more yummy dishes at home.

    Snacks: Since you'll be sampling the foods you will be cooking, you probably won't need a lot of extra snacks. But it’s a good idea to have some hummus and veggies or pretzels and a fruit plate so that kids can snack while they work.
  1. Spa Party
    Who doesn't love being pampered? You can hold your very own at-home spa party where girls can get manicures and pedicures and have their hair done (put in braids or curled).

    Have guests come in comfy clothes or sleepwear so that they can relax while they have treatments. Set up a cozy “waiting area” where kids can read magazines such as National Geographic Kids, Time for Kids, or fashion mags and have a kid movie or soothing music playing in the background.

    Decorations/Accessories: Slippers and nail polish can be given to each guest and taken home after the party. Gift bags can also include scented soaps, lotions, and bubble bath.

    Snacks: When planning snacks, think healthy nibbles—the kind of food options you would see at a spa between treatments. Mini sandwiches, veggies with healthy dip, or a plate of fruit and cheese with crackers are all excellent choices.

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