Pajama party ideas for kids can suit the fluctuating energy levels of children. Start with high-energy sleeping bag races, and then switch to an arts-and-crafts activity that occupies children in a cerebral way. Plan easily prepared food, such as pizza or popcorn, and keep a backup supply of hairbrushes and toothbrushes on hand. If it’s a pajama party for teens, act as the chaperone. Check in on them by serving snack food.
Hand out clean pillow cases or large white t-shirts, which can be turned into pajamas, and felt-tipped fabric markers. Have the kids place a piece of cardboard into their pillow cases so the ink doesn’t leak through to the other side. Direct the children to decorate their pillow cases with a personal slogan or drawing, and then pass their pillow case around for their friends to autograph. Hand out card stock and scissors to the kids. Have them trace circles from the rims of large glasses, and cut them out to make door hangers. Hand out shape and letter stickers, glue and glitter, so the kids can embellish their hangers.
Take advantage of sleeping bags to play assorted games. Ask a child to leave the room and wait outside for a count of 10. Direct the other children to switch sleeping bags and zip themselves up, so that they’re completely hidden inside the bags. Have the child come back and try to guess who is inside which bag by feeling the bag. Conduct sleeping bag relay races. Divide the children into two teams and line them up at the starting line with their sleeping bags. Ask them to get inside their bags but keep the tops of their bags open. Direct them to hop the length of the room inside their bags, touch the wall and return to tag their next teammate in the race.
Use spaghetti sauce and English muffins or bagels and instruct the children to make their own mini-pizzas. Put different toppings, such as mushrooms, green peppers, grated Mozzarella cheese, pepperoni slices, sausage bits and olives, in different bowls. Use the same scheme to have the children create their own ice cream sundaes. Put out cartons of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry-flavored ice cream. Place various toppings, such as butterscotch syrup, chocolate sauce, cherries, fruit, nuts and candy bits, in bowls. Dot the table with cans of whipped cream that the kids can use to top off their sundaes.
Roll out a long, blank banner. Hand out arts-and-crafts supplies, including markers, crayons and pastels. Hand out magazines and scissors. Have the children create their own personalized party banner. Take photos with a Polaroid or digital camera so you can instantly print out pictures of the children. Encourage them to paste their pictures on the banner. Hand out different-colored, glow-in-the-dark paper, thread and hangers. Ask the children to cut out stars, planets and comets. Show them how to thread the space-themed shapes around a hanger to create a collage. Hang their collages from the ceiling, and then turn the lights out so they can see their artwork glow.
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.
Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images