If your kids are anything like mine, they were already begging for playdates with their BFFs the minute after school let out for the summer. Thankfully there’s an easy and inexpensive way to transform a typical playdate into a magical experience that your kids will love. 

The festivities will revolve around a family-friendly movie of your choice. But the movie itself isn’t what makes this get-together special. It’s really all about the setup and the setting.

Here are a few ideas that you can pick and choose from that are guaranteed to make the kids feel like they’re having a totally unique experience right in the comfort of your own home:

 

  • Ensure that wherever the group is going to watch the movie is nothing but blankets, pillows and beanbags. Everything needs to be soft and comfy, because we all know no one is going to sit still or stay in the exact same spot for the whole show. Throw everything you’ve got onto the floor!
  • Along those same lines, you could really set the mood by turning your room into one giant bedsheet fort that you’ll watch the movie under. If you can’t pull this off, you could probably still figure out a way to make a few small tent-like spaces around the room that the kids can go in and out of.
  • Balloons make everything better. You don’t need the helium kind… just blow up a bunch and have them around on the floor to add to the ambiance.
  • Hanging lights also make any room look more festive. Dig out your holiday lights or use lights you might have on your deck or patio. (You can also find cheap hanging lights to buy for the occasion — they seem to be everywhere these days.)
  • While we’re on the subject of lights, you know what all kids love? Glow sticks. Get a bunch and make them into necklaces and bracelets for everyone.
  • Set up a “drive-in” in front of your TV screen and give each kid a big box (or organizational bin, or laundry basket…) to sit in for at least part of the movie. They could even decorate them to look like cars before the show.
  • Make a “take-out tray” for each child’s snacks. All you need is half of a shoebox or any container that size. Pop in a water bottle or juice box, a small bowl of popcorn and any other treats and that’s it! You could have the kids decorate their trays beforehand, too.
  • Speaking of popcorn and treats, set up a popcorn bar with bowls of various toppings (chocolate candies, marshmallows, raisins, etc.) for everyone to be able to concoct their ultimate movie-watching snacks before showtime.

 

You could do all of the above at any time during the day or evening, but if your child is old enough to have a sleepover playdate, then you could also set up sleeping bags after the movie is over right in the same room you decorated. And in the morning, you could switch out the popcorn bar for a cereal bar or waffle-decorating bar to keep the fun going!

We hope your kids and their friends have a blast at their summer break sleepover! And we hope that you are able to have a little fun with it all, too ?