Top Tips for a Successful Sleepover • Featuring BeBop 16ft Water Slide Review

We had a very special first in this house recently. A first that made everyone under 6 bounce off the walls and everyone over 6, want to run for the hills! I'm teasing of course, but there's something about a first school sleepover that filled me with worry and dread!

It's a huge responsibility being in charge of someone else's most precious cargo. Mine still wake in the night with bad dreams and need a cuddle, they have accidents, misbehave and when they are over tired, are difficult to contain! So when I promised Sammy that his two best pals from school who were away for his party could come for a first sleepover, he leapt so high into the sky, there was no going back!

This was the first school friend's sleepover and the first time one of his friends had stayed away from home. I tried not to plan the hours out minute by minute as I knew that 4 boisterous, spirited boys would need to let off steam and too many planned activities might feel like I was stifling their fun.

Their eyes all light up when we revealed the 16ft water slide which the boys were sent to try out! What a scream. We first tried it out on Sammy's birthday with his little 2 year old cousin who thought it was the best slide she had ever been on, even though there was no water! She managed all the indented steps all on her own (much to my sister's amazement when she independently scaled the 6ft wall) and the shallow pool at the bottom was long enough to stop her blasting down and over the inflatable frame. The lighter the are the more they seem to zoom!

We found the flattest area of grass and filled the large weights with water which clip either side of the main body of the slide. They weigh the slide down which is great for when there's one at the top, one climbing up and one sliding down simultaneously! Rich used the 4 anchor pegs to give it even more stability and ran an extension lead from the house to the electric fan that comes with the castle. Within 3 minutes, if that, it was ready to go! 

And then came the water. Oh now we had a party! Wet giggling boys, screaming through the overhead shower attached to the underside canopy, chasing each other around. Ollie was at the cannon, yes the cannon, I think they all thought it was there for display purposes only! Because it's inflatable you can angle it (As I found out the hard way, Mama's with cameras don't giggle quite as much when they are soaked!) and aim it at the person coming down the slide! 

We filled the pool area at the bottom and when we turned the cannon off for a few minutes they happily used it as a splash pool! 

The clouds came over and we wrapped them all up like newborns in beach towels. As soon as they were dry it was onto the next activity! More water... they had spied a leftover packet of water balloons from the party! But, instead of aiming them at each other, I poked 4 garden canes into the grass and set up a starting line 4 ft away. The aim of the game was first to hit the stick and burst their balloons, then round two was all about who could roll theirs so gently along the grass that it could reach the stick without bursting. 

Round two lasted about 15 minutes longer than the 2 minute round one! And no one got wet!

My top tips for a fabulously fun but not out of control sleepover are:

  • Set a time limit. Invite your mini guests over in the afternoon say 3-4pm and ask for parents to collect them by 11am the next day. It is plenty long enough. End on a high!
  • Send a reminder message the day before to confirm all the details. If you are like me you don't have a supply of extra toothbrushes and special bedtime favourite toys. A gentle reminder will help parent's remember the easy things to forget.
  • Plan 3 activities. You might not need all three or any of them at all but have them prepared. We let them play freely until they started jostling for leader of the pack position and then stepped in. We knew the simple pea shooters and a makeshift target would be popular with these boys, as well as the water balloon game and a lego making challenge. Think about activities they all can play rather than video games for example where one or two get left out. Taking turns is not so fun!
  • Feed them a proper tea. Yes snack foods or a party tea may sound easier for you, but all the sugar and processed foods only add to the excitable frenzy! Check with the parents for dislikes and likes before and make something in advance like a bolognese. Hearty and filling and healthy. Then have a treat for pudding. That way they all go to bed on full tummies.
  • Start the actual bedtime routine early! It may sound terribly mean but, it takes them so much longer to settle than usual. We used a film as an easy way to calm them down. Pjs after tea and then pudding of popcorn under blankets. They felt it was so exciting but really we had started that wind down period at around 5.45pm. By 7.30pm their tired eyes were all ready to go up to bed and within an hour two out of four were asleep and by 9.15pm all four were snoozing.
  • Don't be shy to ask the parents for bedding. We don't have lots of spare duvets and pillows and bringing their own means they have their familiar bed linen, smells and comforts from home. It may feel like they are staying for a week when they arrive but you'll be thankful not having to do two extra loads of washing! Ask for an extra set of clothes too. All of them got through two paris of shorts in the first couple of hours!
  • Take a landline contact number if they have one. I realised I had the parent's mobile numbers but if for whatever reason their phone ran out of battery or had no signal, I would have no way of contacting them in an emergency! 
  • Smile. Kid's pick up on your energy so be reassuring particularly at lights out! Making them feel like you are happy they are staying will help them feel more secure in foreign surroundings.

The boys all had a fantastic time, they still talk about the "weekend" even though it was less than 24 hours! The bouncy slide was a huge hit and it made us think how much our boys would use a home bouncy castle rather than thinking they are only for hire for birthday parties. 

So if you are looking for bouncy castles for sale online check out the range now on sale from Toyz World. There is something for all budgets and age ranges, can you guess which one the boy's would love for Christmas?! Yep it's this one. Umm...!