Tween Girl Birthday Party Sleepover

My beautiful girl turned 12 last week! I can hardly believe we are just one year away from the having another teenager in the house! Karis could not decide on a theme for her party, so I asked her if she wanted me to come up with something fun. She agreed, so I went to work, browsing Pinterest for ideas. Around that time, I was dropping my son off at youth group and I saw a stack of wooden pallets behind the dumpster of a neighboring business. I called and asked if I could take some of the pallets and they said that was fine, so I grabbed a couple and started dreaming of creating an elegant pallet table for my girl and her friends to enjoy during the party.

I took inventory of what I already had at home: extra pillows, a white king sized sheet, twine. Then I made a list of the things that I wanted to purchase: paper lanterns, mason jars, tea lights, flowers, twinkle lights, material. I walked the aisles of Hobby Lobby trying to come up with a color combination, and because Karis is a big fan of pastels, I settled on peach, light green, white, and some pops of dark teal. I bought 6 white paper lanterns in various sizes, a string of white battery operated lights, some aqua tinted mason jars, two larger clear jars, white and peach flowers, tea lights, and material to use as pillow covers and a table runner. I also picked up some fancy gold paper plates and gold number candles. #CommissionsEarned

I set the table a couple of days before the party so that I had plenty of time to get my house cleaned and to prep for the food and games. I found some amazing game ideas on Pinterest and hit up the Dollar Tree for supplies. Karis wanted to swim, make s’mores, and play games. We started the party at 5:00 pm and I put together a simple charcuterie board style dinner with a variety of meats, cheeses, crackers, fruits, and veggies. The girls loved eating a “fancy dinner” by candlelight (I turned the main light on to get this photo).

I saved the “Beach Ball Question Game” from our New Year’s Eve party and that was once again, a huge hit with 11 & 12 year old girls. They actually played this game several times throughout the party. All you need is a beach ball and a sharpie marker. Blow up the ball and then write questions all over it with the sharpie. Some favorites are: What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your favorite book? movie? food? place? What superpower do you wish you had? Who do you admire? The ball gets tossed around and whoever catches it has to answer the question that is under their right hand when they catch it.

My favorite game/activity of the night was called “Foil Fashion Show.” This is where the Dollar Tree came in handy. I picked up a roll of tin foil for each girl, as well as several crafty type items: tape, pom poms, ribbon, pipe cleaners, glowsticks, and some flowered leis that we pulled apart. I told the girls that their goal was to create an outfit and when they were done, we would have a foil fashion show. I honesty expected them to take about 15-20 minutes on their creations, but they surprised me and took at least an hour. Some of them went all out, creating jewelry and headbands. One even made a super long train that dragged behind her as she walked the living room “runway.” The giggles and chatter were so fun to take in as the girls went to work, helping each other put together their best looks. I found some “runway” music for kids on youtube to play while they strutted their stuff and it was pure entertainment from start to finish.

The last game we played is a form “telephone” only with phrases and drawings. The girls played two rounds at night and then another round in the morning. All you need is blank paper and pencils. Cut paper in fourths and make a stack for each player. The stacks of paper should contain the same number of papers as the number of players. We had 7 girls, so each girl got a stack of 7 pieces of paper.

Have each player write a phrase (any phrase) on the top of piece #1. Then each player passes their ENTIRE STACK to the right. The next step is to read the phrase and then put that top paper on the bottom of your stack, facing up. The players will then draw a picture of the phrase on the top of page #2. Once everyone is finished drawing their picture, everyone will pass their ENTIRE STACK to the right. Now each player will see the drawing on the top and will have to guess what the phrase is that inspired the drawing. They will place page #2 on the bottom of the stack, face up, and write that phrase on the top of page #3. The process is repeated, phrase, pass, drawing, pass, phrase, pass, drawing, etc until each player ends up with their original stack of paper. Be sure to take some time to read through your entire stack out load and be ready to laugh until you have tears streaming down your face. This is definitely a perfect game for tweens, teens, and adults alike.

It was an unusually cool day in June this year, so we had to slightly modify our original plans. The girls actually braved the cold and jumped in the pool for a short swim. Fortunately, one of the things that I got for them was matching pjs, so they dried off after a bit and got comfy for the night. My husband got me a Cricut Maker 3 for Mother’s Day this year and I haven’t had a ton of time to use it, so I made sure to test it out on a couple of things for Karis’s party. I found some adorable moon and star pj shorts for a great deal at Walmart and bought plain black t-shirts to make personalized tops to match the shorts. I tried out holographic iron on for the first time and it was such a cool product. I found a free moon and stars SVG online and watched a few tutorials. I must say that for my first try at making shirts with my Cricut, it was pretty easy and I loved the way they turned out. #CommissionsEarned

I used my Cricut Maker 3 for a couple of other decorations as well. I found a free Happy Birthday cake topper SVG and cut it out on two pieces of gold card stock. I used the smaller one as an accent for the Marshmallow Pops I made. Karis is not a fan of cake, so every year, I make marshmallow pops as an alternative. This year, I used Jett Puffed S’more Marshmallows and diluted orange candy melts with white ones to make a pastel peach color. I mixed blue and green candy melts with a bit of white to create teal for the flowers, and I used gold colored sprinkles on white candy melt dots for the centers of the flowers. They were the perfect complement to the colors of the elegant pallet table and Karis loved them! For more marshmallow pop inspiration, check out some of my marshmallow pop tutorials.

I decided that the door needed a “Happy Birthday” sign at the last minute, so I used the larger gold cutout and gathered some items that I already had laying around. A wooden embroidery hoop, leftover material from the table runner and the pillow covers, and the leaves that I pulled off of the peach and white flowers came together beautifully as an elegant birthday wreath. I used three long scraps of fabric that I twisted and hot glued to form the flowers. It added the perfect finishing touch to my girl’s elegant 12th birthday party.

The rain picked up as the night went on and Karis still had her heart set on making s’mores. Dad to the rescue. He grabbled our little propane camping fire pit and set it up on the front porch. Before the girls settled in for the night, they sat outside on the porch, roasted marshmallows, and made s’mores. It was actually a very sweet moment seeing them all circled around, chatting under the overhang in their matching pjs while it rained.

You would think that after late night s’mores it would be hard to settle 7 girls down for bed, but after dinner, swimming, a foil fashion show, and paper telephone, they spontaneously grabbed the beach ball for another round of the question game. They got their beds ready and snuggled in for some late night chats. I only had to come out once to remind them to keep it to a whisper and I actually got some sleep myself. Twelve is a fun age, and I am so thankful for the sweet group of girls that my daughter gets to do life with. I would have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable parties I’ve done, and the joy on Karis’s face always makes it so worth the creative effort it takes to pull of a memorable birthday party.

For more fun ideas for tweens and teens check out some of my other blogposts…

The Amazing Race Birthday Party

Retro Video Game Room (Arcade) For Teens

Wings of Fire Birthday Party

New Year’s Eve Countdown Bags for Kids & Tweens

“Countdown Bags” are one of my favorite ways to ring in a new year. I started doing this when my 3 kids were little, and over the years, I have adapted this tradition in a variety of ways. This year my husband had to work until 9pm and my teenage boys made plans to play Airsoft with friends, so it was just going to be my girl and I counting down for most of the evening. I wanted to make it really fun for her, so I let her invite a couple of friends over and got to work creating a memorable tween friendly event.

I am learning that 11 year old girls love to be silly and have fun with planned activities, but also like to have a good amount of unstructured time when they get together, so I planned the night to incorporate both. I purchased a pack of shimmery silver lunch sized bags and filled them with a variety of fun things that they could do on the hour, every hour, from 4:00 pm – midnight. I bought some glittery card stock in a couple of different colors and I created clocks to glue on the front of each bag. #CommissionsEarned

I filled the bags ahead of time, and since some of the items were too large to fit in the bags, I wrapped them and included times to correlate with the bags that they went with.

The girls arrived at 4:00 and we kicked off the night with “photo booth fun!” I already had a large piece of black material that I had used for a variety of party backdrops. I also kept some props and decorations from our 2020 New Year’s Eve celebration, so I reused them and added a string of white Christmas lights as a border. The girls took a few fun shots and then went off to giggle and chat about all the things. #CommissionsEarned

At 5:00 they opened the next bag. This one had them wondering, because there was a huge ball hanging over the countdown bags, wrapped in black plastic. They had guessed that it might be a disco ball and were shocked to find that it was really light. They opened it to find a beach ball with questions written all over it in sharpie. This game turned out to be so much fun and they came back to playing it several times throughout the night.

Somewhere between 5:00-6:00 the girls ate dinner, which was just a super easy Papa Murphy’s take and bake pizza and some fruit. Then at 6:00 they opened the next bag. I planned ahead for a game of “Whiteboard Pictionary” by printing off a list of fun and easy prompts. I folded each one and put them all in a mason jar and include a whiteboard marker in the bag. This is another game that didn’t take the entire hour, so it left a good amount of downtime for whatever the girls wanted to do.

7:00 was probably my favorite because I am such a crafty girl at heart. I purchased 3 plain canvas tote bags and I already had a variety of paintbrushes and acrylic paints from previous projects. I found some fun “create your own tote bag” inspiration on Pinterest and grabbed a roll of painters tape so the girls could try some of the geometric tote bag ideas. I would have to say, that they turned out pretty cute! #CommissionsEarned

The girls were so curious to find out what 8:00 was all about because they noticed at the beginning of the night that there was a large mass of “something” taped to the ceiling under a black plastic table cloth. They finally got to rip into the plastic and a bunch of balloons cascaded down on them. The object of the balloon game is to pop the balloons one at a time and do whatever activity is found on the piece of paper hidden inside. Some of the tasks I included were: leapfrog across the room, dance an Irish jig, make a 3 person pyramid, and run outside and yell Happy New Year 5 times as loud as you can.

At 9:00 the girls opened an extra little package in front of the countdown bag that was too large to fit inside. It was a small wooden movie clapboard and I included a couple of chalk pens as well. They had already been doing TikTok dances throughout the night, but this hour was dedicated time to do just that. #CommissionsEarned

By 10:00 these girls were showing no signs of slowing down, so I planned to tire them out with glow in the dark balloon games. I taped off three sections in the middle of my living room with some of the painters tape so each girl had her own zone. Then I brought out 15 balloons I had blown up earlier in the day with glow sticks inside. You can also purchase glow balloons on Amazon. We put all of the balloons in the middle and turned the lights out. I played music on my phone while the girls tried to keep all of the balloons out of their section. When the music stopped they had to freeze. I would also switch the light on and the winner was the one with the least amount of balloons in their zone. After each game, they rotated spots. I think they played about 7 rounds with lots of squeals and giggles before taking a snack break of rice crispy treats and s’mores dip. #CommissionsEarned

I wanted to do something exciting at the 11:00 hour, so I bought 3 cans of silly string and sent the girls outside for an EPIC SILLY STRING BATTLE!!! This may have only taken a few minutes, but it was hilarious to watch and was so much fun! #CommissionsEarned

Our 12:00 HAPPY NEW YEAR bag was filled with poppers and horns, so I let the girls open this one at 11:45. We also busted out the Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider and some “fancy glasses!” and got ready to ring in the New Year. We ran outside at 20 seconds to midnight with poppers and horns ready to go, counted down to 2022, yelled HAPPY NEW YEAR for all of neighborhood to hear, popped our poppers, and then came back inside to toast to a new year. #CommissionsEarned

For another fun New Year’s Eve idea check out my previous blogpost:

New Year’s Eve