Fun-filled entertaining (and snacking!) ideas for sleepovers, and the gear to make them a reality.

Share story

Parents who have hosted sleepovers know that half the fun for kids is making and eating treats. So it pays to prep the kitchen with festive culinary gear and supplies for the indoor campout crowd.

With that in mind, here are some fun-filled entertaining ideas and the gear to make them a reality.

Get the movie-theater vibe going with West Bend’s Air Crazy Mini Popcorn Maker Machine ($17 at target.com), which air-pops 8 cups in three minutes and has a tray on top for melting butter.

“I like to give everyone a different color bowl, so they know which popcorn is theirs,” says Joss & Main’s style director Donna Garlough.

Or offer kids little bowls in different patterns for treats like popcorn and ice cream. Garlough advises choosing smaller ones so kids don’t go overboard on snacks. The Joss & Main Rory Bowl Set ($31 for four at jossandmain.com) are fun and the right size.

Banana splits and sundaes are easier with the Seattle-designed Chef’n Sweet Spot Ice Cream Maker ($50 at williams-sonoma.com). Freeze the dish a day ahead, and then on sleepover night let the kids pour in the ice-cream base. Wait a couple of minutes, and start scooping.

All you need is a cookie sheet for one sleepover classic:  “Most kids love pizza, and this idea allows kids to customize their own,” says Parents magazine senior editor Karen Cicero. Just unroll store-bought pizza dough onto the cookie sheet and, using a knife, create an outline for 12 pieces, but don’t cut through.

“Offer tomato sauce, pesto, cheeses, veggies and other toppings so guests can create their own designs on one or two of the slices,” Cicero says.

Or let the kids line muffin tins with crescent-roll dough triangles, fill them with pizza-type toppings, and bake for about 20 minutes.

Cicero advises stocking up on squeeze bottles that can be filled with fun sauces like ranch dressing or honey mustard. “Kids can use them to make designs on the rims of their plates.”

A set of colorful, easy-grip cups, like the Ikea Kalas Tumblers ($2.49 for six), lets everyone keep track of their own beverage.

Tools with kid-size handles help keep preparations moving safely. From the French knife company Opinel, there’s the child-friendly Le Petit Chef Complete Set ($49 at opinel-usa.com), which comes with a 4-inch chef’s knife and peeler equipped with finger guards for ages 7 and up.

Making indoor s’mores can be a fun activity for the sleepover squad. Jamie Lothridge at mybakingaddiction.com melts marshmallows and butter over low heat, stirs in some graham-cracker cereal, presses it all into a pan, and then adds chocolate pieces and chills it for a couple of hours.

Don’t forget about breakfast the morning after. Load up a Batter Dispenser Pen ($10 at worldmarket.com), a silicone squeeze bottle, and kids can spend the morning doodling breakfast art on a griddle or fry pan.