RIGHT AT HOME: Stocking a sleepover kitchen
Parents who have hosted sleepovers know that half the fun for kids is making and eating treats. So it pays to prep the kitchen with fun culinary gear and supplies for the indoor campout crowd.
Some entertaining ideas and gear:
Get the movie-theater vibe going with Great Northern Popcorn’s Retro Style Popper. Or if space is tight, opt for West Bend’s Air Crazy Mini Popcorn Machine, which air-pops 8 cups in three minutes. (www.target.com )
“I like to give everyone a different color bowl, so they know which popcorn is theirs,” says Joss & Main’s style director Donna Garlough.
Or offer kids little bowls in different patterns for treats like popcorn and ice cream. Garlough advises choosing smaller ones so kids don’t go overboard with sweet scoops and toppings. (www.jossandmain.com )
Banana splits, sandwiches and sundaes are easy with one of Chef’n’s Sweet Spot Ice Cream Makers. Freeze the dish a day ahead, and then on sleepover night let the kids pour in the ice cream base. Wait a couple of minutes, and start scooping. You can make custom sandwiches with cookies. (www.williams-sonoma.com )
All you need is a cookie sheet for one sleepover classic: “Most kids love pizza, and this idea allows kids to customize their own,” says Parents magazine senior editor Karen Cicero. Just unroll store-bought pizza dough onto the cookie sheet and, using a knife, create an outline for twelve pieces, but don’t cut through.
“Offer tomato sauce, pesto, cheeses, veggies and other toppings so guests can create their own designs on one or two of the slices,” Cicero says. Bake according to the dough package instructions.
Or let the kids line muffin tins with crescent-roll dough triangles, fill them with pizza-type toppings, and bake for about 20 minutes. (www.bettycrocker.com)
Cicero advises stocking up on squeeze bottles that can be filled with fun sauces like ranch dressing or honey mustard sauce. “Kids can use them to make designs on the rims of their plates.”
Tools with helpful features like kid-size handles and silicone buttons will help keep preparations moving safely. A set of colorful, easy-grip mugs lets everyone have their own beverage. (www.curiouschef.com )
From the French knife company Opinel, there’s a child-friendly, 4-inch chef’s knife and peeler equipped with finger guards. (www.opinel-usa.com )
Making indoor s’mores can be a fun activity for the sleepover squad. Jamie Lothridge at www.mybakingaddiction.com melts marshmallows and butter over low heat, stirs in some graham cracker cereal, presses it all into a pan, and then adds some chocolate pieces and chills it for a couple of hours.
Don’t forget about breakfast the morning after. Load up a Pancake Pen silicone squeeze bottle with batter, and kids can spend the morning doodling breakfast art on a griddle or fry pan. (www.worldmarket.com )