Rainforest Sleepover Party -12yr- Pineapple Pizza
Tania in Angwin, CA, USA
In my husband's words, This party was perfect." It was simple inexpensive and the girls (and the birthday girl's 10-year-old brother) LOVED it. Since I limited it to 5 invitees I was able to invite only the girls I knew would be easy and indeed they were easy-to-please polite friendly with each other and helpful. This was the smallest sleepover we've had and I will never go back to bigger numbers too many personalities and too little sleep can lead to grumpiness the next morning.
INVITATION My husband is the invitation wizard in our family. He found a picture of a toucan that he used as a background for a post-card sized invitation that read We hope you 2-can come to Linda's party! with the times (party was to start at 6 and end at 10 the next morning) and a request that each girl bring a wrapped white-elephant gift for a game.
DECORATIONS We usually put more efforts into activities than decorations but other people could get really creative here. We just put out some faux vines and hung or placed various stuffed rainforest animals around the house. As usual people very loosely adhered to the posted hours. Due to some families leaving on vacation and others' work schedules the first guest arrived at noon another at 1 and the rest between 6 and 7. The girls who were here early set up activities and decorations and it was really helpful for us and fun for them.
GAMES and ACTIVITIES For this "rainforest" theme we started with pineapple pizza and tropical fruit salad with pineapple mango papaya banana kiwi and coconut. Starting with the meal makes the varying times people arrive less stressful for both guests and hosts. Then they did a toucan pinata (purchased at www.pinatas.com - every birthday party in CA has a pinata!) while it was still daylight. Next they played a giant board game we set up. The kids were the game pieces and the early arrivers had made up a game board in the sunroom and living room using 12x18 construction paper "spaces." Each space had something written on it like "$500" "Pursued by a panther advance 2" or "Hit in the head with a coconut pay $100." We made a giant 14x14x14 cardboard die (out of the pinata box!) which they loved tossing to roll. It was really fun probably the highlight activity.
Then they used the money they earned in the game to bid on and buy white-elephant gifts from each other (requested in the invitation). There was the only snaffu - one girl was very generous and put like 6 items in her white elephant give-away but she only got one item in return. Further I think she was disappointed that the girl who got her 6 items didn't act excited enough to receive them. The giver was appeased by me supplementing with a small bottle of perfume and some scented lotion that I had on hand. If I was to do it again I'd screen the girls' gifts as they arrived to make sure they all were somewhat equal in value supplementing as needed. Another game we used at a different party that would have worked for this one is coconut bowling where we set up 10 plastic bottles of fruit juice (pineapple kiwi-strawberry etc) and the kids bowled with a couple of coconuts. The prize for this game was to choose one of the juice bottles to drink.
Next was volcano cake (more on that later) and ice cream. After the birthday song and cake the birthday girl opened her presents. From there they played the only non-thematic game a nail polish game where they numbered 10 bottles of nail polish and used a "Life" spinner to land on a number then they had to paint one nail that color. Oh they loved that one and everyone left with wacky nails which girls this age love. By then it was time for the movie so everyone got in their bedclothes and they all bedded down to watch "Planet of the Apes." One girl fell asleep but the rest really got into it. Then it was root beer float time then time for the second movie Jumanji (hence the human board game earlier). Movies were over by 2 everyone was asleep by 3. During and after a breakfast of fried bananas with strawberry syrup and leftover pizza each girl painted 2 unfinished wood lizards (www.orientaltrading.com) (the kind that have the slits cut in the sides of the wood so they can bend from side-to-side) and then it was time to roll up their sleeping bags and get ready for pickup. They played outside as their parents came and everyone left tired but happy.
PARTY SNACKS The kids snacked on their pinata candy leftover pineapple pizza and fruit salad throughout the night and next morning.
CAKE I used 3 graduated Pyrex bowls to bake a chocolate cake then stacked the layers with a 2-inch hole cut in each center. I frosted between layers and outside with chocolate frosting then filled the hole with cherry pie filling letting the "lava" flow down the sides. With the candles at the top of the volcano the girls were pretty impressed.
FAVORS The girls got to take home their painted lizards and their white elephant gifts. This was the least expense we've ever put into favors but the girls were thrilled. "