With a bit of mom-and-daughter planning, there's fun kid-friendly food and cool art projects to make amidst the jumble of pj's, pillows, and girls celebrating being girls. The setting is an enchanting indoor campsite -- complete with tents, stars, a magical atmosphere, and "dream catchers," the traditional Native American hoops that are decorated with webbing and feathers to let good dreams filter through and catch bad ones.
Creating the Atmosphere
To transform your family room into the sleepover campsite, clear a large area in the middle of the room and set up tents (or make some from sheets). Be sure to leave the central area open for a late-night talkfest. Add a rustic touch with branches from the backyard (or crafts store) attached to the tents. String star garlands from tent to tent to complete the dreamy setting.
Greet Them with Gifts
Before your guests arrive, spend a little extra mother-daughter time assembling personalized water bottles. Greet each guest with this special gift.
To make this project: String beads on each end of a 10- to 12-inch leather strip. Knot the strip to anchor beads. Attach feathers with a dab of glue and additional leather. Loop the beaded strip through the water bottle handle.
Make a Dragonfly Light
Later in the night, each guest assembles her own nightlight -- a replica of a firefly-filled jar crafted from glass jars and LED lights.
To make this project: In a glass jar surround an LED light (from sporting goods stores) with Spanish moss and twigs.
Catch a Dream
For the next art activity, the girls can make dream catchers -- easy enough crafting even for small hands. Decorate them with string, beads, and feathers and hang them outside the tents to do their job that night.
To make this project: Fashion a hoop with wire; loop twine around the hoop in a star or other shape to create the web. String beads on leather strips and secure feathers to the ends. Attach beaded strips to hoop. Dream catchers are meant to hang above the bed.
Food Is a Must
Party food, the center of attention of many sleepovers, keeps the campsite theme going. For dessert, everyone is served her own tray of Mini Ice Cream Dippers with Double-Dip Fondue -- scoops of ice cream with pretzel handles -- all in a muffin pan that's filled with hard shell chocolate and other toppers for dipping.
Top It Off with Breakfast
Art projects continue through breakfast, this time edible art: peeled, hard-cooked eggs to decorate with food-safe markets. When your little guests are ready to head home, give them a memory of the night. In small colorful shopping bags make survival kits that include camping journals, penlights, constellation cards, key bobs, and compasses as a memento of a night spent with friends.