Soiree for sleeping beauties & games for rambunctious boys
What better fun than a sleepover? All girls love a good giggle and a round of Truth or Dare. Combine luxurious facials and glam nails, and you’ll have the slumber party of little girls’ dreams.
Moms and dads, don’t stress out over an entire classroom of invitees. Keep your numbers low enough to fit your daughter’s friends on a cake (confused? see “The Cake”below). For the invitation, trace a sleeping mask onto cardboard and cut out with decorative scissors. Next, cut a smaller mask shape from pretty paper and glue on top. Cut two 10cm pieces of ribbon and glue to the edges of your cardboard mask. On the blank side of the invitation, handwrite or glue on your party details.
Organza is an inexpensive and beautiful way to decorate any party. Drape long lengths of fabric from the ceiling (secure with thumb tacks) to create a “room” for your sleepover shenanigans. Tie balloons into bunches and arrange sofas and chairs, draping them with pretty throw rugs and plump pillows. To create a salon atmosphere, display beauty paraphernalia – nail polish, emery boards, nail stickers, face masks and creams – on little tables alongside bowls of candy, flowers and kids’ magazines. Later, sleeping bags can be rolled out onto sofas, and mattresses plopped on the floor.
Grown-up girls need grown-up food. Serve apple juice “tea” and hot chocolate “coffee” in pretty cups and saucers, or carbonated lemonade in plastic flutes with strawberries perched on the edge. Pinwheel sandwiches and platters of vegetable crudités with dip are another sophisticated offering. Another option is fondue skewers: Heat 600g of plain chocolate with half a cup of pouring cream until melted, and serve in individual bowls with a chic platter of fruit skewers (serves 6). To make personalized water bottles, hand-draw or print your own decorative labels to cover regular water bottles. Secure with double-sided tape.
This cake is incredibly easy and a reliable crowd pleaser. Bake a rectangular slab cake – the length will depend on how many guests you invite. Fit one ladyfinger cookie per guest on the cake, leaving a small gap between each one. Smother the entire cake with ready-made frosting. For the guests’ sleepy heads, lay a round cookie at the end of each sponge finger, propping up each cookie with a marshmallow pillow, secured with a dab of frosting. For eyes, pipe icing onto the cookies or use currants. Then personalize each ladyfinger guest with piped-on hair, or use candy or dried fruit. Dot the entire creation with candy to create a cute sheet set.
Stuff little cellophane bags with face masks, nail stickers, head bands, hair clips, combs, sleeping masks, even slippers. Don’t forget the candy.
Girls just wanna have fun, but they also love pampering. Ask some girls from your local nail salon to provide mini-manicures, or hang out a shingle yourself. Salon guests can flip through magazines, sip from their water bottles, nibble on a sandwich, and recline on sofas with a rejuvenating face mask. Give each girl a hand towel and headband to keep pajamas and hair lotion-free. Once the beautification is done, get the popcorn popping and let the girls settle in for their favorite movie. Turn out the lights; they’ll snuggle into sleeping bags and, of course, do lots of whispering. When the movie ends, check the house stats – parents and little brother in bed? Good. Now the real fun can begin.
Peg seven clothespins on the back of each girl’s pajamas, then have everyone stand in a circle facing each other. On “go,” the goal is to snag as many clothespins as possible. No grabbing and holding onto anyone, or else you’re out.
Light As a Feather, Stiff as a Board
One girl lies on the floor and keeps as stiff as a board. Everyone else slides their first two fingers underneath her at one of the following points: midway down each calf, midway down her back (on both sides) and under each shoulder by her head. Everyone closes their eyes, chants “Light as a feather, stiff as a board” over and over, and slowly begins to lift thegirl. It usually works … unless you giggle too much.
One girl (“It”) leaves the room and everyone else hides inside the sleeping bags. When “It” comes back, she sits on a sleeping bag and says “Piggly-Wiggly.” The person inside – the Piggly Wiggly – must respond, “Oink, oink”; “It” has to guess who’s inside. If the It girl is wrong, there will be no response. If she’s right, the Piggly-Wiggly must just jump out and be “It.”
Sit in a circle and have one girl whisper a complicated phrase to the next girl, who must then pass it on until the last girl receives it and says it out loud. Warning: This can be embarrassing.
Truth or Dare
The quintessential game of girlhood. No instructions needed.
Girls lie on their backs with their heads on the tummy of the next girl, until all are linked in a circle. The aim of the game is to try not to laugh. When you can no longer hold in the giggles, jump up, grab your pillows and try to knock each other down. Anyone who laughs is a target to be whacked. Do this until you can laugh no more, then collapse and fall asleep. Sweet dreams.
Organza, RMB 5 per meter from Liangma Flower Market; manicure items from local markets and beauty shops; face masks and creams from Watson’s drugstores
Happy Little Rascals
When it comes to boys of all ages, action parties are the way to go. No matter what the theme or location, if there’s a good round of games, your monkeys will go bananas.
Believe it or not, having a theme makes parties a whole lot easier to coordinate. Your child may have already chosen one (superheroes, pirates, etc) but if you have carte blanche, think outside the square and use squares – or triangles or circles, as your theme. Color is also a simple idea, or just choose a favorite candy, like jellybeans. Using your child’s initial is fun – you can plaster it on everything from the invitations to the cake, for a cute, unified look.
Boys aren’t big on how things look, so prepping your party space should be easy. Paper chains are a great way to add color and festivity. Cut strips from sheets of colored paper and staple them together into conjoining loops. Forget about bunching balloons – leave them loose all over the floor for boys to kick and tumble with. Making signs out of letter cut-outs is an effortless way to make a party look fresh and fun. Print large letter outlines onto colored paper and cut them out, then stick to walls and windows.
Make it easy and stick to the theme. For a Monkey party, think bananas on popsicle sticks dipped in chocolate; for Outer Space, sprinkle pop rocks candy on cupcakes. Remember, boys don’t eat much at parties – they’re far too busy leaping in the air. Chicken nuggets, mini sausages, cheese sticks and fruit pieces all go down a treat, as do simple bowls of chips and candy. For the quickest birthday cakes ever, ask for an undecorated cake at the local bakery – just iced or covered in shaved chocolate. Clean a thematic item (Pokemon figures, a toy horse or wooden train) with sterilizing wipes and plant it on top of the cake for a gorgeous but easy centerpiece.
Here is where the fun really begins. Grab yourself a whistle or a loud-voiced dad, and run your wee men ragged.
Toilet Paper Tumble
Assign boys into two groups and have them sit with their backs together. Have a third person quickly wrap toilet paper around the kids’ torsos until the whole roll is used up (leave their hands free). The first pair of boys who can stand up all wrapped-up wins. (Tip: They should use their legs to push their backs into each other.) When the game is over, the boys should wriggle out of the paper (with the help of a third party) and then shred their toilet paper into a kajillion pieces and throw it all over the room. Don’t worry about the mess – if you let them do this, it will be the most talked-about party all year. Film it.
Give each boy a balloon, which they must keep afloat by kicking, batting or heading it upwards. If it touches the furniture or floor, or if they hold onto it in any way, they’re out.
Bagels On A String
Tie mini-bagels (or donuts) onto string and space them on a broom handle so they dangle at slightly varying heights. Line up the boys, hands behind backs, and have them attempt to eat their bagels from the string first. Move the broom around to make it harder. No hands, please!
Set up relay teams of two or more to complete a “race track” around furniture, or to a point and back. Boys can bat the balloon with their hands, nose it along the ground or waddle with it between their knees.
Make these games your own by blending them with your theme. Duck Duck Goose can be “Cow Cow Horse” at a cowboy party, Musical Statues can be “Mexican Jumping Beans” at a jellybean party, and Balloon Toss can be “Hot Potatoes” at a fireman party. Tie everything in with color, have lots of loud, high-energy music, and your boys’ party will be both simple – and simply smashing.