Activities for tween girls?
April 22, 2005 3:30 AM   Subscribe

My daughter's having a sleepover tonight for her 11th birthday. Six friends are coming over. I had lots of outdoor activities planned for the dusk and early evening hours, but now it looks like it's going to rain all day so the backyard will be a mess. Any suggestions for fun indoor activities? Nothing worse than a chorus of "I'm booooooored," you know.

I bought a few craft projects but would love some other ideas. We'll feed them, open presents and they'll watch a movie once it's late, so we're looking at about 3 net hours to fill. Many thanks!
posted by SashaPT to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Girls at that age are social and work well together... how about some picture puzzles, etc?
posted by pjern at 4:03 AM on April 22, 2005

Party board games like Scattergories?
posted by grouse at 4:43 AM on April 22, 2005

When my daughter was that age (about five years ago), sleepovers were conducted by leaving the girls alone to have fun with each other. Give them another movie or two to watch if they want, but they'll pretty much entertain themselves if you stay out of the way. Make sure there's plenty of snack food available, and try not to get annoyed when they're still up at 2 am.
posted by anapestic at 5:28 AM on April 22, 2005

baking and decorating cookies or cupcakes?
posted by darsh at 5:28 AM on April 22, 2005

I have lots of experience here, and solopsist is exactly right. It's never even occurred to me to have "activities" ready for the girls. They're so wrapped up with each other at that age that they're rarely even willing to take time out for a movie. Let them be, they'll have fun on their own.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:34 AM on April 22, 2005

Buy a cheap drugstore make-up kit - one with a billion colours of everything - and let them make each other over.

Just make sure also to buy ample make-up remover and make them take it off before they go home, or the half of the parents who have already argued with their daughters about whether they can wear make-up will hate you forever.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:04 AM on April 22, 2005

My Dad is the king of birthday party activities. When I was in the 8-11 age range, he would always plan out a list of (the same) activities for my birthday parties. His best was Simon Says (he loved tricking inattentive little girls into eliminating themselves), but there was also Musical Chairs, Hot Potato, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Duck, Duck, Goose, and we usually had a pinata in the garage (the day's highlight).

I don't know if kids still play those games or if your daughter is too old for them, but I always had a good time doing that sort of thing. If they're just coming to have a sleepover, then yeah, pop in a movie and let them have fun by themselves. But if they'll be there for a while before the sun goes down, I don't see any problem with offering some entertainment.
posted by Crushinator at 6:07 AM on April 22, 2005

Karaoke! If you don't have a player you could maybe just have music available, ask the girls to bring their favorite CD and set up a player in a room with a quick fashioned "stage". When I was that age I was all about the lip-synching and a song and a hairbrush could occupy me for hours easily. This might go well after they've played with the make-up.
posted by krix at 7:12 AM on April 22, 2005

Take them to the movie store with you. They'll have tons of fun; you'll be scarred for life. Just make sure that you tell them nothing rated R before you go inside, then prepare to spend an hour standing there while they giggle, race around the store, pick up 90 movies and put them back, etc., etc. Good way to kill an hour on a rainy night. They will all want to watch The Shining or something; do not let them or they will all be screaming in horror at 3 am. Good luck! I recommend earplugs.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:26 AM on April 22, 2005

My daughter's 10th is coming up in a few months, and she's decided it'd be a nice change to have the party at Daddy's house instead of the usual Mommy's house, so these suggestions are much appreciated!

I'll second the karaoke and make-up suggestions--these will likely be on our schedule, as well.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:27 AM on April 22, 2005

When I was 11 I wasn't quite into the self-absorbed "let's talk about boys all night" thing so a few activities that are open-ended might be just about right. Here are things that went over well when I was a kid

- make your own pizza/cookies thing. If you're already feeding them, you can have them do some of the work, buy a mess of toppings and give everyone their own little crust. Alternately, you can make sugar cookies that kids can paint with edible paints [egg yolk + water + a few drops of food coloring], bonus for interesting shapes.

- playing sardines, which I'm sure has been mentioned as an adult party game but it works well for kids. Sort of hide and go seek in reverse. One kid hides, the other kids look for her, when they fiund here they have to hide WITH her, last kid to find them all [who by then are often a giggly mess in the closet someplace] get to be the next hider.

- if you go the makeup route, don't forget stuff for hair. Just a bag of rubber bands and some colored string would have kept us busy for hours. For an extra bonus, if you have a digital camera, take pictures of all the girls all dressed up and print them up on some sort of fancy paper for them to take home with them

If it's just an evening event, dinner and a movie will take up a lot of the time you have, so I qwouldn't worry too much, Snack food and soda/juice/whatever are the key elements for a good slumber party, especially if you have something sort of interesting, like Jiffy Pop or really weird candy.
posted by jessamyn at 7:38 AM on April 22, 2005

Great suggestions, everyone, especially the leaving them alone one :) We have some good optioins if they run out of things on their own or if I need to break up cliques and get the whole group together. Jessamyn, I have never heard of sardines, but it sounds like fun!

(I should clarify that my outside plan consisted of saying "go play outside." And flashlight tag, my daughter's favorite after-dark game. )

I'll check back in this afternoon and also follow-up tomorrow with a report. Thanks!!
posted by SashaPT at 7:59 AM on April 22, 2005

You could buy some cheap plain white t-shirts in varying sizes (age 9-10 thru 12-13 or so) plus a pack of iron on transfer paper and have the girls create their own t-shirt art. If you (or a relative/neighbor) have a box of ribbons and buttons to donate, so much the better, they can glue/sew stuff on to embellish the transfers.

The movie night is a good idea, maybe with a little dressing up thrown in? We had huge fun one night, unexpectedly looking after the then 10/12 year old daughters of friends by gathering up old pairs of sun glasses & dark suit jackets and wearing them to watch Men in Black. Now 16/18 or so, they still laugh about that night. We also had five minute sessions of copying everything that was being done on screen but I guess that depends on the movies they choose to watch!

Good luck, looking forward to the report!
posted by ceri richard at 8:16 AM on April 22, 2005

I'd like to second Jessamyn's pizza-making idea. When I was about 10 or 11 I had a sleepover where we made pizza from scratch. Almost none of the girls had ever done anything like it. Rolling the dough, pouring the sauce, sprinkling the cheese, picking the toppings -- it's all very hands on and fun. Even more fun: you get to eat the final product.

In this era of delivery vs. DiGiorno I'll bet that baking pizza will seem novel and exotic. I'd make about 25% more dough than you think you need, just to be safe.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:25 AM on April 22, 2005

Charades. I've never seen anything else that adults say no to, then enjoy endlessly, and keeps kids going for at least an hour.
posted by rabbus at 9:25 AM on April 22, 2005

if you can get it together, a team treasure hunt
-- choose the teams by arranging kids in size order than picking alternately down the line, to eliminate "choice"
you make up the clues such as "under the wooden hill" "at the south pole" whatever (maybe more difficult ones for 11 year olds) Each clue leads to another clue -- no hidden prizes, just the satisfaction of deciphering riddle clues by teamwork. (In general I think giving prizes starts dissension at parties) Start each team at a different place in the chain of clues (if you can arrange a clue-circle) Takes a bit of time to arrange (an hour or so, probably) but my 11-12 daughter & friends loved this.

Also, sounds trivial, but hunt-the-thimble can be a great game.

Blowing peas across a room, or round an obstacle course, using only a straw to blow through.

Charades, definitely!

Have fun yourself too, it rubs off
posted by anadem at 12:14 PM on April 22, 2005

Although I played with make-up and did other such girly things as a child, I wish I (and every other young female) hadn't been treated so much like a girl. Why not expand their minds a little? Try a science experiment, watch a really cool documentary, build something, give them a bunch of tools and let them come up with something on their own...

P.S. Keep a close eye on them! I remember very vividly all the awful things we used to do to each other at slumber parties.
posted by crapulent at 1:16 PM on April 22, 2005

It's 11 p.m. They (all seven) currently are in our bathroom, cutting her old Barbies' hair into mullets and other bad hairdos. Sharpies are also involved in some way.

They've played sardines (which, apparently, I am the last person on earth to learn about - I got the "duh Mom" response when I asked if they knew what it was), had dinner, did a craft project (decorating cheap flip-flops, very fun whodathunk), played flashlight tag in spite of wet grass, ate cake, opened presents, watched half of Harry Potter 3... no sign of sleep in sight, but not breaking up into cliques this year and not picking on anyone in particular. Yay!
posted by SashaPT at 8:12 PM on April 22, 2005

Post-party postmortem: After the Barbie mutilations, they played American Idol. Then some went to bed and others went in the other room and watched another movie. The diehards fell asleep around 3:30 and the first ones were up at 6:30. I'm exhausted even after a 2 hour nap.

If I had it to do over again, I would not have let my husband run out to the store during crafts time (no dummy, he) and I would not have 7 kids at a sleepover. It's just too many, too much noise, not enough room in the house.

Back to bed, I think. Thanks again for all the input!
posted by SashaPT at 12:43 PM on April 23, 2005

It's just too many, too much noise, not enough room in the house. Exactly! That's the whole point!

Sounds like they had a fun time- glad to hear there was no huge drama (sleepovers I went to, somebody always cried and wanted to go home).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:40 PM on April 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

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