Kids are typically comfortable spending the night away from home by the time they are 10 years old, making it an ideal age to host a sleepover birthday party. The birthday child should have some input on the activities and other elements of the party. Parents can provide ideas for kids who are having a hard time coming up with their own.
Group games such as charades, Twister and Apples to Apples make simple activities that most children are already familiar with. At a girls' slumber party, makeovers, painting nails and crafts such as scrapbooking are all popular activities. Boys may prefer building with Lego blocks or other building kits, playing video games and telling scary stories. When the kids start to get tired, put on a parent-approved movie while they fall asleep.
As kids arrive at the sleepover, provide them with pillowcases and fabric markers so they can decorate their own pillowcases to take home as party favours. White pillowcases are typically inexpensive, but pink pillowcases for girls or blue pillowcases for boys are other options. Cut up a few cardboard boxes so each guest can slip a piece of cardboard inside the pillowcase to act as a hard surface for writing or drawing and prevent the marker from bleeding through to the other side.
Ideas for decorating the pillowcases include drawing pictures, making designs around the borders and having other party guests write nice notes on them, making them into memories of the event.
Because many 10-year-olds are still picky eaters, choose a familiar dinner food that children can customise to fit their tastes. For example, set out ingredients for tacos and let children build their own tacos. Make personal pizzas so kids can select just the toppings that they like. Have kids make designs on their pizzas with the toppings they choose so they can recognise their pizzas when they come out of the oven.
Rather than having kids spend the night indoors, consider a campout birthday party if the weather is warm enough. Coleman recommends night low temperatures of no less than 50F for kids to sleep outside. Set up enough tents for all the guests to sleep comfortably inside them and plan to have a campfire in the evening, ideally in a metal fire pit for safety.
Kids can roast s'mores, play flashlight tag and tell stories around the campfire as it gets dark. This party idea is especially popular with boys, who tend to enjoy roughing it a little more than girls.