ATK Kids

Slumber Party Fare That Kids Can Prepare Themselves

Sleepovers mean lots of fun for kids— and lots of coffee for adults. These kid-friendly recipes will keep everyone fed and having fun from dinner through late night snacks and on to the next morning.

Published Jan. 21, 2020.

Growing up, the most exciting words my parents could utter were “slumber party.” It meant inviting over a few friends, renting a few movies from Blockbuster Video, and of course, having loads of slumber party snacks. The food was an important component of the unspoken battle between me and my friends for best-sleepover-house (personal pizzas with a toppings bar were always tough to beat).

Obviously, the sleepovers kids have now are a little different than the ones I had as a kid (RIP, Blockbuster), but the non-stop giggles and midnight munchies haven’t changed. We’ve put together some foolproof kid-friendly dinner, late-night snack, and breakfast ideas to help you and your young chef(s) host the best sleepover ever. Plus, we’ve thrown in some DIY projects and experiments sure to entertain kids of all ages.

Dinner for a Crowd

Pizza will always be a slumber party staple—whether Blockbuster exists or not. You and your young chef can prepare the dough for Sheet Pan Pizza before guests arrive, even the night before. When dinnertime hits, kids can help shape the dough onto a rimmed baking sheet and dress it up with sauce, cheese, and all of their favorite toppings—pepperoni; sliced peppers, onions, or mushrooms; fresh basil; dollops of pesto; or even ham and pineapple.

Not in the mood for pizza? Go for the ease of a one-pot meal that comes together in a Dutch oven. We love Beef and Bean Chili (serve with Corny Cornbread!) or vegetarian-friendly One-Pot Pasta with Quick Tomato Sauce

Project Time

Are you looking for a group activity? Entertain all the kids with a kitchen project. Homemade Sprinkles will keep kids busy piping straight lines of icing to dry on rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper (they’ll break those straight lines into little sprinkles once they’ve dried). The overnight drying time means this is a project that kids take home with them in the morning, rather than used to top off a baked good right away.

Looking for something sweet, but a little less messy than “cupcake apocalypse?” Host an Ice Cream Cone Taste Test. Kids take their time assessing the flavor and texture of two different brands of ice cream cones. Then they, of course, test the cones’ function by seeing how well they hold a scoop of ice cream

If you’d like to steer away from sweet treats and kitchen cleanup, give the kids some Pringles and plenty of office and craft supplies for a Design Challenge. Their goal? Create a package that protects a single chip from breaking when dropped from a height of 4 feet. Of course, given that this is a slumber party, a few chips might have to be sacrificed to snacking instead of science.

Late Night Snacks

The best late night snacks should be easy for kids to make on their own and, perhaps more importantly, easy to clean up!  A movie and popcorn are a match made in slumber party heaven. Our microwave popcorn recipe uses a brown paper lunch bag, and is healthier–and tastier—than the packaged options. After it’s popped, kids use a rubber spatula to toss the warm popcorn in a large bowl with melted butter and salt. Or, if they’re feeling adventurous, they can try flavors like Parmesan-herb, cinnamon-malt, or sriracha-lime

For a sweet late-night snack, the kids can make Fudgy Chocolate Mug Cakes. After whisking the batter in a bowl, they transfer it into coffee mugs to cook in the microwave. The kids will have warm, gooey individual cakes in just a few minutes, no oven needed.

Alternatively, you and your young chef can prepare homemade Tortilla Chips and dips ahead of time so that kids can help themselves later that night. Salsa and Hummus come together quickly in the food processor, and the tortilla chips are super easy for kids to make if they can handle a pizza cutter or even kitchen shears.


The next morning, turn the slumber party into a pancake party. Your young chef can prepare our DIY Pancake Mix before their friends come over, cutting prep time in the morning to just minutes. If you have an electric griddle, a pancake breakfast is the perfect time to whip it out. To make it super special, let the kids choose their favorite mix-ins to sprinkle onto the pancakes as they cook: blueberries, raspberries, sliced bananas, or even chocolate chips are great options. 

Smoothies make a healthy addition to just about any breakfast, and they only take a minute or two to blend together. Mixed Berry is always a crowd-pleaser, but Kale-Pineapple is a great way to switch it up. 

Finally, we know that the adults supervising this shindig are going to need plenty of coffee in the morning. Whichever method you choose—pour over, drip, french press—make sure you use fresh beans, and follow these tips to brew the best coffee.

Introducing the Young Chefs' Club

Every month, young chefs ages 5 and up receive a themed box filled with kid-tested recipes, hands-on activities and experiments, and other creative items, such as art projects, achievement buttons, a kitchen tool or special ingredient, and more.  
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