Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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What’s not to love about sleepovers? The adventure, someone else’s house, a new breakfast plate. Though my girls now know the drill to a T and go on one or two sleepovers a month, there are a few sleepover essentials they wouldn’t do without. For them it’s all about the ritual and much like when we go a hike, they can pack their bag and I don’t even need to check. This is a short list but not one to mess with.
1. Suitcase or bag
We have a Trunki Gruffalo suitcase, the kind that you can ride on in airport hallways or in school classrooms when the teacher is away. Made of hard plastic, it’s on wheels, offers an inside pouch for small stuff and you can pull it with a strap. It’s the best $60 I’ve ever spent. We bought it in the UK when we were stranded 3 days at Heathrow Airport because of snow storms. Since then, it has become a family heirloom and when the girls go on two different sleepovers, the “Gruffalo” is the object of heated arguments. I should probably get a second one but my husband says they’re growing out of this stage. Clearly, he doesn’t supervise the sleepovers.
2. PJs + Slippers
We are suckers for Petit Bateau and Hanna Andersson sleepwear. Super soft, durable, great quality, I’ve been able to transfer all PJs from my oldest to my youngest with little damage save for a few (chocolate) stains because they love them too much. When it comes to slippers, the girls used to get a new LL Bean pair every Christmas and wear them year round. Now we’ve switched to Acorn slippers. I discovered them recently and love their organic designs, texture and colors. Since they have a weatherproof sole, the girls wear these slippers even to the locker room of the swimming pool when we go to our week night swim team practice. That’s pretty handy. I hope they’re sturdy!
3. Change of clothes
I might be stating the obvious but a full change of clothes for the next morning does include underwear and socks. I’m only half-kidding but sometimes those get left behind whereas the frilly dresses get folded and packed up neatly. That’s one detail I do need to check on.
4. Toothbrushing set
Three words: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss. We’ve now graduated to adult sizes for everything except the toothpaste and it makes stocking a lot easier. Bye bye the deadly temptation of Barbie toothbrushes with twinkling lights, we’re moving over!
5. Dollie or stuffie
They like to be away but they don’t like to know they are away. Thus they always go to sleep with a reminder of home and that can be any small stuffed animal or dollie. My 6-year old has a long stuffed pig love history and we’re now on our third piglet at home. The first two pig beanie babies got lost in tragic circumstances (meaning, we never found them) but the third one’s a sizable reproduction of one of the Sandra Boynton animal characters, the Perfect Piggy. Obviously, any stuffed animal or dollie will do as long as you’re not worried it might get lost. It’s been known to happen.
6. Sleeping bag
Got to sleep somewhere, right? I’ve never been a fan of character-branded pink-for-girls, blue-for-girls sleeping bags sold at Target. Truth to be told, I find them ugly and most are 100% synthetic materials. I guess there are nice ones out there but I haven’t investigated because my girls simply use their camping sleeping bags along. We have an Alpine Design kid bag and an REI kid bag, both rated 20. Granted that’s overkill for an indoor sleepover but I couldn’t find a reason to buy a second indoor bag.
My girls don’t pack a pillow because their sleeping bags are pretty fluffy but if yours is on the thin side, it’s nice to have a pillow.
8. Hair care
Say you got a kid with long hair. Or a kid with indomitable curls or tangles. Pack a hairbrush! I’m not saying your guests won’t have one but in the lovely elementary school lice years, it’s best to use your own for everybody’s peace of mind. Just sayin’. I’m old school, I usually go for brushes with natural bristle and wooden handles like this one.
You’re all set, there’s nothing else you need. Oh wait, the parents are going to be by themselves? It would be a shame to waste such an opportunity. Plan a night out and have fun!