Sleepovers always include fun games and activities, whether initiated by parents or suggested by the kids themselves. Planning sleepover games can be fun and also very inexpensive. Just make sure you tailor the games to the age and gender of the participants.
For the Little Ones
For kids in the elementary school age range, there are several easy games that will get the sleepover going with little effort. Begin with games that they are already familiar with, such as duck-duck-goose, hide-and-seek or musical chairs. Next, you can move on to new games that will need instruction.
A fun and completely free game for boys or girls is piggly-wiggly. Choose one person to be "it" by drawing a name out of a hat. That child leaves the room while everyone else hides in their sleeping bags. Then, the child who is "it" comes in and sits on one of the sleeping bags and says “oink oink.” The child in the sleeping bag returns the "oink." Based on the “oink,” the one who is "it" must guess who is in the sleeping bag. Continue drawing names until everyone has had a turn to be "it."
Another great low-cost game for boys or girls is the mummy wrap game. Divide the participants into teams of two or three. Give each team two rolls of toilet paper and have them choose who will be the first "mummy." Have the teams start at the same time and see who can wrap their "mummy" in toilet paper the fastest using both rolls. Take turns so that each child has an opportunity to be a "mummy." This would be a good game for which to give out small prizes to the winning teams.
For the Not-So-Little Ones
Middle school students and teenagers are not likely to be impressed by games for younger kids. To keep things exciting, make sure you have activities planned that are appropriate for their age range. A favorite game among teen and "tween" girls is no-mirror makeover. Encourage girls to bring any makeup they are willing to share to the party. Then have the girls put all the makeup on one table and give them two minutes to give themselves a bad makeover using no mirror. Give a prize to the girl with the worst makeup. It's also a good idea to buy some makeup-removing face wipes for the girls to use after the game for easy cleanup.
Sleepovers for middle and high schoolers may take a creepy turn as it gets later at night. Some kids may already know how to play games such as Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, Bloody Mary or Ouija boards. You can also lighten the mood with another fun game, cotton ball scoop. Place two large bowls in front of the first participant. One bowl should be empty and the other should be about half full of cotton balls. Then blindfold the participant and give him or her a large metal spoon. Time the participant for 30 seconds to see how many cotton balls he or she can scoop into the empty bowl. Make sure you have a very large, shallow spoon that has a good amount of weight to it; the heavier the spoon, the harder it will be for the participants to tell if they have any cotton balls on the spoon. Give a prize to the one who scoops the most cotton balls.
Ashley Henshaw is a writer based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on the websites of The Huffington Post, "USA Today" and "The San Francisco Chronicle," among others. Henshaw received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Loyola University Chicago.