Who doesn’t love a good sleepover? I remember as a child sleepovers where the highlight of my friendships. There was something so fun about staying up late, doing fun activities, eating a little junk food and staying away from home. It was truly the best! Now that I’m a grown-up, I still think there is something powerful about the fun that can be had a sleepover.
Every year, our church throws a big sleepover for all our 1st-6th grade girls. We take over the whole church and spend the evening in our pajamas having a blast. Each year we have a new theme that sets the stage for the sleepover. This year’s theme was “All Around the World”.
We start the night off with dinner and door prizes (who doesn’t love getting a prize?). After we eat,the girls are divided up into different groups and are sent off to rotations with leaders. Since we had an international theme, all our rotations represented a different country. We had crafts from Japan and Australia. We played games from France and China. The highlight rotation was our snack rotation where the girls got to try foods from different countries and try to guess where it all came from.
The rotations keep the girls hopping and moving right along through the night. As it starts to get later, we need to wind things down, so they actually can get some sleep that night. We have a short devotional time which includes a gospel presentation. We use this event as an outreach for girls to invite their friends to church and show them how fun it can be. For some girls who attend, this is their first time ever hearing about Jesus and how he loves them.
Once the devotional time wraps up, we split the girls into two groups. The younger students (1st-4th grade) head to our gym to watch a 30 minute movie. The older girls (5th-6th grade) go to a different room where they get to watch a full length movie. We’re very intentional about doing the devotion time as a “calm down” period of time but they are still alert and awake. Once we move into the movie portion of the evening most just drift off to sleep as the video plays.
After we get a less than full night of sleep, we wake up (normally to the army bugle melody) and have breakfast together and clean up the church. Both girls and leaders help us tidy up the building so it seems as if we were never there. My favorite part is when parents ask the girls if they’ve had a good time and their daughter goes off into instant stories and shows off her crafts she made.
Here are some other sleepover ideas that we’ve used over the years – for boys, throw an indoor camp out. Make your rotations “manly” or camped themed. Even serve meals that would be served out camping. Depending on the time of year, location, and your bravery level, you could even make a campfire and roast marshmallows.
For my midweek class of girls, we do our own personal class sleepover. It’s just for 5th-6th grade girls and instead of being at the church, I invite them over to my house. I love that girls can see that I care about them outside of my classroom. It shows them that I love hanging out with them. Inviting them into my home really creates that environment of investment. We have dinner together, play games (Disney Scene It is always a hit), and we watch a movie. After a not so restful night of sleep, we have breakfast together and meet up with the parents. These smaller sleepovers are every rewarding for just having a good time with the kids you teach.
Bring back the popcorn and the late nights, talk until 2:00am, run around in your pajamas! The sleepover sensation will be a hit with your group of students. You might just find that you have as much fun as the kids!