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25 Great Sleepover Activities for Grandkids

These ideas will make their overnight visit a night to remember


Grandparents.com

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Woman baking with child

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Wondering how to fill the hours between dinnertime and bedtime the next time your grandchildren sleep over? (After all, we all know they're not going to bed early.) Our inventive ideas will get them moving, spark their imaginations, satisfy their sweet tooth and generally make the evening so much fun they'll want to come back next week.

(This article appeared previously on Grandparents.com)

1. Play Ball

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Play balloon volleyball. Have players bat a balloon back and forth, using all parts of their bodies, while keeping it from hitting the ground. To increase the difficulty, add more balloons for players to keep airborne.

2. Indoor Picnic

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Pack a basket of goodies, lay out a blanket in the living room and enjoy a festive family meal.

3. Window Magic

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Make (temporary) stained-glass windows. Using washable window paints, which can be found at most craft stores, decorate glass windows and doors with colorful pictures.

4. Go Wild

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Go on an indoor safari. Hide stuffed animals around your house before your grandchildren arrive, then have your junior explorers tiptoe through the rooms searching for the fauna.

5. Tea Party

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Pull out your finest china (if the kids are old enough to be trusted with it) and serve child-friendly hot cider, finger sandwiches and fancy cookies. As you play, teach youthful guests proper manners for a formal occasion.

6. Time Machine

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Bring old photos to life. First, scan old family photos, like childhood pictures of your grandchildren's parents, on your computer. Then print them out and let the kids create funny captions or stories.

7. Turn It Up

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Sing karaoke. For an added challenge, try to sing along with your grandchildren’s favorite pop songs while they tackle tunes from your g-g-generation.

8. Breakfast for Dinner

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Kids will get a kick out of eating eggs, hash browns and pancakes at night. Top French toast waffles with fruit, whipped cream and sprinkles for the perfect breakfast dessert.

9. Late Show

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Teach kids how to make hand shadows. Once they get the hang of it, put on a show.

10. Camp Out

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Clear some space in the basement, pitch a tent, pull out your sleeping bags and let the kids sleep inside. (Bears and wolves optional.)

11. Get Smart

Setting a puzzle

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Make a jigsaw puzzle. Print a family photo on a legal-size piece of paper and glue it to cardboard. Have your young puzzle master outline puzzle piece shapes on the cardboard back, cut them out and try to put the family back together.

12. Game Night

Marbles

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Teach them a classic game they don't know. Think jacks, marbles, hearts or pick-up-sticks.

13. Strike Up the Band

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Make a box banjo. Cut an oval-shaped hole in the front of an old cereal box or shoebox. Stretch four or five rubber bands around the box so they cover the hole. Strum or pluck the rubber bands to play. Add more improvised instruments and start a family band.

14. Now You're Cooking

Thanksgiving

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Host a cooking show. Prepare all the ingredients for a dish in advance in small bowls. Then encourage your young sous chef to talk to the camera (real or imaginary) as you prepare the meal together.

15. Do Fondue

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You're overdue for some fondue. Pull your set out of deep storage for a fun heat-your-own treat or a tasty dessert. (Make sure young children are careful with their fingers and with the hot forks.)

16. Make Smoothies

Blender

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You can make delicious and healthy fruit smoothie snacks in your blender with frozen berries, bananas, low-fat frozen yogurt and orange juice.

17. Gotta Dance

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Teach the grandchildren your favorite ballroom dance.

18. Crown a Champion

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Host a board-game Olympics. Play several age-appropriate games, and then award homemade medals or other prizes to the winners (make sure everyone is acknowledged.) Be sure to pick games that are easy for kids and adults to play together, such as Apples to Apples or Candy Land.

19. Make a Craft

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Try creating this blanket souvenir: Pick up some fleece and cut it down to comfy sizes. Let your grandchildren help decorate, and cut and tie the knots around the edges.

20. Story Time

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Tell a special bedtime story. It could be a funny anecdote about their parent's childhood, or a classic fairy tale retold with your grandchildren as the main characters.

21. Get Decorating

Coloring

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Let the kids decorate old pillowcases with fabric markers. The youthful artists will look forward to reusing this special memento whenever they sleep over at your house.

22. Hoop it Up

Couple hula hooping

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Host a hula-hoop competition. Make sure you enter; the kids will love watching you give it a twirl. This could also be part of a hilarious sleepover highlight video.

23. Say Cheese

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Save your memories. Snap photos with a digital camera all evening long. Print pictures out while the kids sleep, then have them assemble sleepover scrapbooks to take home in the morning.

24. Go Stargazing

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Stargaze on the ceiling. Use glow-in-the-dark star stickers and a star chart to decorate a ceiling in advance. When your budding astronomers arrive, turn off the lights and search for constellations in the night "sky."

25. S'mores

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Make mini s’mores. Place two chocolate chips on one bite-size graham cookie, and one mini-marshmallow on another. Microwave for 30 seconds, or until the chocolate just begins to melt, then squish together for a tiny, low-mess treat.

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By Ellen Encarnacion
Ellen Encarnacion is the author of several children’s non-fiction books, including The Girls’ Guide to Campfire Activities and Cat’s Cradle and Other Fantastic String Figures. Encarnacion is also the program director at Spells Writing Lab  

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