As the mini Bundlers get older, the inevitable cry of ‘mummy, can I have a sleepover, pleeeeeeeeeeease?!’ gets closer. Bedtimes are already an adventure, let alone with the addition of sugar, excitement, and guests! BUT it’s a rite of passage for a child (and for parents!) and a memory-maker too.
So, we’ve been asking people in the know about what makes for a great sleepover and how to keep a smile on everyone’s face … including yours!
You are feeding a crowd and, with little eaters all liking different things, keep it simple. “The perfect option,” says Janine from LittleMe Teepee, “is homemade pizza."
“Get the kids involved pushing out the dough, and have bowls of different toppings on the table, that way they can pick and choose. Great fun and an easy nutritious meal!”
Don’t forget to have lots of drinks on hand, in a variety of flavours so you’ll have something to tickle even the fussiest tastebuds. Belvoir Cordials are packed with fruit and freshly-picked flowers – and don’t contain any artificial colours, flavourings or preservatives. They’re also a tasty addition to classic party snacks – try out this fruity rocky road using Belvoir Blueberry and Blackcurrant cordial.
The age of the children you are entertaining will dictate how planned your activities are… and how much you get involved (if they let you at all!) – but it’s no bad thing to have a few options in your back pocket.
If you have the lovely light summer evenings to work with encourage your mini-guests out into the garden or a park to to burn off a bit of energy! Traditional favourites like ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’ can be a winner or, for dusky evenings, torch tag.
Then a group activity, like making and decorating cupcakes, brings everyone together. We love the baking kits from BKD – you can choose from unicorn biscuits, gingerbread men, pirate cupcakes, or dino biscuits.
Wind down the night with the age-old favourite of movies and popcorn. It goes without saying that the films should be age-appropriate – we’d err on the side of caution and hit the Disney classics, or Wallace & Gromit! Set up a projector and make a cinema: ensure that there are lots of films to choose from and, of course, plenty of popcorn, is the advice of Laura at Popcorn Shed.
Sarah from Buddy + Bear sprinkles edible glitter on her popcorn for a little sparkle and serves it in cute tumblers. Or open a popcorn selection bar starring Popcorn Shed's pecan pie, salted caramel, and rich chocolate flavours.
It’s also a good idea to have a few back-up activities available for those happier doing their own thing. We like this simple recipe for concocting a glow-in-the-dark bubble solution, or a few of these Natural History Museum dinosaur torches from the Natural History Museum will keep them entertained for ages.
The sleep set-up…
Transform a room into a cosy teepee village (like those from LittleMe Teepee) with pillows and blankets so that everyone is sleeping on the floor together (no arguments over who gets the top bunk!) – even better, roll out a Bundle Bed which will make tidy up the next day that much easier!
As lights go out, hand round pen torches and books for stories. Smallprint books have a unique selection of captivating tales, from a range of small and independent publishers, to fit every age range.
A new pair of PJs for your son or daughter hosting is a nice touch too. You can’t go wrong with The Bright Company’s organic and ethical sleepwear: perfect for snuggling down into ... that is if they actually get any sleep at all!
The all-important, and much-loved, midnight feast!
“We leave a little treasure trail with clues and arrows to uncover its location” says Janine from LittleMe Teepee. This is such a lovely idea (as is shifting the clocks forward a little to make 9pm the new midnight!!)
Or, if you’re trying to persuade the little party animals to get into bed, try a morning feast over a midnight feast. Tuck everyone up with the promise that when they wake at daylight there will be a surprise, pre-breakfast, treat waiting at the end of their beds. Sneak in a snack when everyone is (eventually) asleep. Happy Mallows marshmallows - handmade, squidgy, squares of deliciousness - are made for this! It’s also a great way of keeping everyone quiet for a few extra minutes in the morning!
Always, ALWAYS, be clear on pick-up time the next morning. With a bleary-eyed bunch of revellers, everyone is ready to get home - and you may be ready for a little space! Then, kettle on, and sit back and enjoy some parental brownie points!