Both of my kids loved “Pajama Day” in preschool, and other moms were beginning to consult each other on when to let their daughters sleep over at another house(for us it will be years!) So I thought my idea to have a pretend sleepover for my daughter’s 5th birthday party was brilliant – until a friend said she’d done it twice already! No problem – my daughter was excited and we had a lot of fun.
“Honey, will you help me move our living room furniture into the garage?”
If you’ve been married for any length of time, you can imagine the look my husband gave me. But we didn’t have any other place to put 11 sleeping bags. So out went the couch, loveseat, two tables and a floor lamp.
Decorations & Party Craft
I like to check fabric stores for prints that go with our party theme. This time I found pink and purple moon/stars fabric at Hancock Fabrics, and hung it over our windows in the living room and kitchen.
My kids painted glittery posterboard stars, which we hung in the dining room and from our stairs.
On the dining aka craft table is a big piece of black vinyl (also works as a chalkboard tablecloth), buckets I’d personalized from Dollar Tree with Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Markers, glittery gold star wands from Oriental Trading and sparkly stickers and adhesive gems for decorating the buckets.
As the girls arrived, they spread out their sleeping bags and decorated their buckets.
Pajama Pants Relay
In our foyer (the only space where there was still room!), the kids formed two lines. Two kids at a time put one leg each in a pair of Sasha’s pj pants – they had to walk to the front door and back. Lots of giggles! Afterward, everyone received a Dover Little Activity Book for her bucket.
Bunnies & Pass Mr. Elephant
For two years, when we asked our daughter what she wants to be when she grows up, her earnest reply was, “A bunny owner.” So I bought unstuffed bunnies and tiny t-shirts from Bday Bears.
The girls sat in their sleeping bags in a circle and passed around Sasha’s favorite bedtime stuffed animal, “Mr. Elephant,” while I played music. When the music stopped whomever was holding Mr. Elephant received a bunny to stuff.
The kids stuffed their bunnies while they sat in their sleeping bags and then decorated t-shirts with fabric markers at tables set up in the kitchen.
With dressed bunnies, it was back to the sleeping bags. I passed out bags of popcorn and my husband read Pajama Party and Franklin Has a Sleepover. (Fancy Nancy Pajama Day, released right after this party, would’ve been great). It helps that my husband is goofy – he pretended to fall asleep while he was reading, and wails of laughter erupted.
Fun Bedtime Chores
After popcorn, it was time to brush their teeth. We have a large master bathroom, so I usually find some way to use the space during kids’ parties. The girls painted pictures of teeth with toothbrushes and got wind-up chomping teeth for their trouble. While I cleaned up the paint, they climbed in and out of our Jacuzzi tub and pretended to take a bath – and they added a bath pouf ( 6 or 7 for a dollar at Dollar Tree) to their buckets.
Easiest Cake Ever
After pizza, it was time for cake. My daughter loves donuts, so naturally we had a donut cake. That morning, I’d picked up a big box of Krispy Kremes, plain and sprinkles, and piled them on top of each other. I had frosting on hand to serve as glue, but didn’t need it. Bonus – Krispy Kreme gave us perfect, free party hats.
Thanks for Coming Gift
Each girl received Pajama Party. Inside each cover was a personalized sticker that said “Thanks for coming to Sasha’s party” from Birthday In a Box. My son, the only boy and a big Berenstain Bears fan, got The Berenstain Bears’ Sleepover.
Books to Donate in Lieu of Gifts
As I’d always done, I included “No gifts, please” on the invitation. But this time I suggested that each girl bring a favorite bedtime book to donate to the library. Everyone did, and we donated 14 new books. I’d checked at the library ahead of time, hoping they’d have labels (“This book was donated by…”) for me to give the girls to fill out, or a thank you note, but they did not. Fine idea, but it wasn’t the feel-good lesson I was hoping for.
This party was loads of fun and we happily avoided all of the primping activities that my daughter doesn’t care about and I don’t encourage. After it was over, my husband and I were ready for real sleep!