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The No-Technology Sleepover (Yes, It's Really Possible!)

The No-Technology Sleepover (Yes, It’s Really Possible!)

By Kelcey Kintner

Recently my two older daughters (ages 13 and 11) were having a couple of friends sleepover. And, I noticed something that made me sort of crazy. Everything they did involved electronics, especially their smartphones.

They were posting videos on Instagram. And sending messages on SnapChat. And even when they decided to watch a movie together, on an actual television set (you know, that old school technology), they were still on their phones. What was happening here?!

This got me thinking… how about a sleepover with no technology? Or, at least mostly tech-free. So what can kids do instead? How about these ideas….

1. Cupcake Wars

A lot of kids have seen the show Cupcake Wars (where up and coming chefs compete against each other to create the best cupcake), but you can do this without even seeing the show. Get cake mix, frosting and a bunch of toppings. Depending on the age of the children, you may need to help them actually bake the cupcakes but then let them decorate. The whole process takes time (a good thing!) and it’s a very creative endeavor. (Usually in my house, everyone is a winner!)

2. Make Pizza

Why order pizza when the kids can make it themselves? Get pre-ready dough and let them get to work rolling, pulling and stretching (and throwing it up in the air if you’ll allow that). Then they can put on the sauce, cheese and whatever toppings they like. Bake and eat!

3. Dessert Bar

After the pizza, how about ice cream with a toppings bar? Or even better, have each kid sit in a chair and spray the whip cream directly into their mouths. Maybe even add some chocolate sauce.  You’ll soon have a reputation for being the funniest house on the block.

4. Games

Okay seriously, how many board games do you have in your house right now? Yup. A lot. So why are the kids still on their phones? Bring out Monopoly, Clue, Twister, Operation, Pie Face or how about that spooky Ouija board. Just please please don’t take out Chutes & Ladders because that tortuous game should be thrown in the recycle bin.

5. Dance Party/ Karaoke

Turn the music up and let the kids make up a dance to one of their favorite songs. Or belt out karaoke tunes. You may be able to find a karaoke channel on your cable provider or some parents invest in a karaoke machine with speakers and microphones.

And yes, this is still technically technology (try saying that five times quickly) but it’s very interactive and physical. And just let the kids know they aren’t posting any of it on social media! Tell them, it will only make other children (who are not at the sleepover) feel left out of the fun.

6. Make Slime

Okay, I hate slime too. It’s gross, it ruins rugs and it seems completely pointless to me. But for some reason, kids still like making it. One of the mysteries of the world I guess. But it’s a creative, tactile activity that does not need to include technology. So stock up on glue, shaving cream and saline solution (Or however they like to make it. Just forget the Borax). And let them have at it. You might even pick up different kinds of beads and sparkles to add to the mix.

7. Crafts

A quick scan on Pinterest and you’ll have lots of ideas for craft projects. An easy one that will keep them busy for awhile? Decorate pillow cases with fabric markers. Or pick up one of those jewelry making kits. Or make colorful dream catchers with some yarn and popsicle sticks.

8. Tournaments

Got an air hockey or ping pong table? Or maybe Foosball? Time for a tournament! I’ve been known to pull out an old croquet set. I know. Who owns a croquet set? I do! Kids will be active and having a great time.

9. Sink or Float

Remember that old bit with David Letterman where the audience would guess if something would sink or float in water? It’s surprisingly harder than you think to guess. Get a bunch of stuff from your house, a bucket of water (or the bathtub), and have the kids guess what will float and what will sink. Just make sure you pay tribute to the genius of David Letterman.

10. Beauty Salon

How about a hair salon where the kids fix up each other’s hair? Or maybe bring out a whole bunch of nail polishes. Have the kids create an entire salon. If you’re lucky, maybe one of your children will give you a foot massage and a pedicure.

11. Owl Prowl

I’m told this is a real thing. You go out in the dark with flashlights and search for owls. This totally doesn’t work in New York City. But if you live in owl country, go for it!

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As for my girls, they adore playing “Cupcake Wars,” coming up with dance routines and making slime. But the idea of putting their phones away? Not quite as popular. What worked for us was blocking out a few hours of tech-free time during the slumber party (instead of going completely cold-turkey). But every family needs to find the right balance.

Of course, kids will want to pull out their phones from time-to-time (hopefully to say goodnight to their wonderful parents) but with a tiny bit of planning, their night can be pretty tech-free.

And, when it’s lights out don’t be shy about keeping everyone’s phones in the kitchen for charging. That way kids can take part in the best sleepover activity of all time… laughing and talking to each other way too late into the night.

Got any fabulous tech-free ideas for sleepovers? Please share!

Photo source: Depositphotos/Wavebreakmedia

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Published March 6, 2018. Last updated March 10, 2018.
Kelcey Kintner
About the Author

Kelcey Kintner

Kelcey Kintner, an award winning journalist and freelance writer, is a fashion critic for US Weekly, created the humor blog 

Kelcey Kintner, an award winning journalist and freelance writer, is a fashion critic for US Weekly, created the humor blog The Mama Bird Diaries and writes for the Huffington Post. You can follow her @mamabirddiaries or on Facebook. She’s still trying to fit 5 kids on a Vespa. 

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