Pajama Day is a popular classroom fun day! It is also a great way to culminate your lessons on the letter "P." In this article you will find a variety of preschool activities for pajama parties that are part of the regular class time.
Letter to Parents
Once you have chosen the party date, send a letter home to parents explaining the event and what it will entail. You may wish to allow children to bring or wear the following items:
- "Sleepwear" appropriate for wearing at school
- Blanket or sleeping bag
- Favorite stuffed animal
- A flashlight
Remember to provide information about the upcoming Pajama Day well ahead of time, so that parents have an opportunity to be certain their child has appropriate "sleepwear" options. Pajamas with both a top and bottom or leggings under a long sleep dress should be the standard. It is also helpful to suggest to parents that they be mindful of the weather outside – especially if the children will be heading outdoor to recess at some point during the day.
Join in the Fun
Your Pajama Day will be even more memorable for the children if you join in the fun! Come to school dressed in modest pajamas, a robe and your slippers. Forget to comb your hair (but don't forget to brush your teeth!) Carry your own favorite stuffed animal, or a blankie. You may even wish to make arrangements so that when the children enter the room in the morning, they find you "sleeping" in the classroom rocking chair or on a mat on the floor. The giggles of excitement and surprise will surely set the tone for a day of fun.
Setting Up the Room
When the children arrive, encourage them to set up their sleeping bags and pillows around the room. You may find it wise to clear space ahead of time by moving any chairs, tables or toys out of the way. Don't let the children spread out too much! Tell the children that later you will be sharing some "bedtime" stories and they will need to be "sleeping" where they can still see the illustrations.
Here are several suggestions for stories to share when the time is right:
- Pajama Day by Lynne Plourde
- Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton
- 10 Minutes to Bedtime by Peggy Rathmann
- Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
- Bedtime for Little Bears! by David Bedford
- Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban
Center Time Ideas
Your preschool activities for pajama parties wouldn't be complete without several theme-related classroom centers. Here are several suggestions:
- Lite-Brite Creations – Give your students the opportunity to explore and create with Lite-Brite!
- Night and Day Sorting – Provide laminated cards showing activities that happen during the day (like eating lunch, playing outside, riding a school bus, the sun shining) and those typically associated with night time (like brushing teeth, an image of a child sleeping, a picture of a pair of pajamas, the moon glowing). Have students work alone or with a partner to sort the cards into day or night piles.
- Glow in the Dark Water/Sand Table – Use several different "glow-in-the-dark" items as substitutions for the regular items at your water or sand table.
- Flashlight Shadows – Tape a white pillowcase, sheet or piece of paper to the wall. Using flashlights you provide or those brought from home, encourage pairs of children to use their hands or classroom objects to create shadows. One child holds the flashlight, while the other holds up the object or uses their hands to create shapes.
Why not share a "bedtime" snack of popcorn while the children listen to you read Snoozers: 7 Short Bedtime Stories for Lively Little Kids, by Sandra Boynton? Or better yet, share a "breakfast" of pancakes and warm pears to carry out a "P" theme which may coincide with your Pajama Day activities! Continue the fun as you read Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle, Pancakes for Breakfast, by Tomie dePaola or If You Give a Pig a Pancake, by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond.
Preschool children love to participate in craft projects – especially ones that will help them remember what may have been their first of many pajama parties! Two activities you may wish to try are this pillow craft or this art project to coincide with the book Bedtime for Frances.
Here are two games you might wish to include during your Pajama Day activities:
10 (More or Less!) in the Bed
This game should be played on a soft, carpeted area or in a large-muscle room using gym mats. Have the children lie next to one another as if they are sleeping. Begin by singing "There were (insert number of children) in the bed, and the little one said 'Roll over, roll over." So they all rolled over and one fell out." As you sing the part "So they all rolled over…" encourage the children to carefully roll in the same direction until the child closest to the edge of the mat or carpet "falls" off. That child will then join you in singing the next round. Play will continue until all of the children have had the opportunity to "fall" off the "bed."
Ask the children to sit on their pillow, blanket or mat. Turn off all of the lights. (You may wish to keep a shade up slightly, so that the room is not entirely dark.) Using flashlights brought from home, let the children shine the light around the room looking for objects which begin with the "P" sound. Don't forget to also find any children whose names begin with "P"!
Finally, end your pajama day by spending some time sharing your favorite bedtime poems and nursery rhymes. You may wish to choose one or two for the children to memorize, or even illustrate. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Hush Little Baby
- Rock a Bye Baby
- Good Night Sleep Tight
- Wee Willie Winkie
- The Land of Nod
- The Man in the Moon
- Winken, Blinken and Nod
- Good Night Sleep Tight
Have fun with your special Pajama Day! Activities and time spent together make memories to last a lifetime! If you take photos, send them home for families to enjoy – and please remember to be cautious about posting them online.
This post is part of the series: It’s Pajama Time!
- Sleeping in School? Plan a Fun Pajama Party in the Classroom
- Activities for Preschool Pajama Parties
- Activities for Goodnight Moon for Preschool Students
- Bedtime for Frances Art: Activities for the Preschool Classroom
- Preschool Pillow Craft Ideas: Cuddle Up to Some Fun!