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Teachers can encourage friendship among their young students by organizing a pajama party in their preschool classroom. When arriving at school in their favorite pair of pajamas, preschoolers will be prepared for a day of "slumber party" entertainment that includes games, activities, and snacks.
After choosing a day for the party, preschool teachers can send each student home with a "You're Invited To A Classroom Pajama Party!" invitation. The invitation should request that the children wear pajamas to school, bring a sleeping bag/blanket and pillow, and bring a favorite stuffed animal "bedtime friend".
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On the day of the pajama party, the classroom should be divided into several different areas. The rest area should be large enough for all of the children to spread out their sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows, and should also include a comfortable chair for the teacher. The activity area is a "free space zone" where the preschoolers can dance and play games in their jammies! A large table can be set up in the snack area so that students can sample some popular pajama party treats.
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Teachers can encourage preschool children to socialize and communicate with one another by planning some pajama party activities. In the tradition of an actual slumber party, these games include elements of both energetic activity and relaxation:
Get the party started with a classroom pajama dance session! Preschool teachers can set up a CD player and provide a selection of upbeat children's songs for the students to enjoy. The partygoers can have fun dancing, play a game of "freeze dance", or try to do the "limbo" in their pajamas.
After settling in on their sleeping bags, preschoolers can rest on their pillows and listen to the teacher read some bedtime stories. A few book suggestions for a pajama party theme include:
Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
If You Give a Pig a Party, by Laura Numeroff
Have You Ever Seen a Llama in Pajamas? by Kristie S. Casler
Meet My Bedtime Buddy Game
The children can take turns introducing their classmates to their special stuffed animal "bedtime buddies". Teachers can ask questions such as "What is your friend's name?" and "What makes your bedtime buddy special?"
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No pajama party is complete without "midnight snacks"; so preschool teachers will want to make sure that a variety of tasty treats are available for the children to eat. Remember to consider any food allergies that are present among the students in your classroom. The following foods work well with a pajama party theme and can be donated in advance by parents:
--Graham crackers (plain or dipped in chocolate)
--Cookies (chocolate chip, sugar, oatmeal, and other flavors that most children enjoy)
--Fresh fruit (apple slices, banana slices, grapes)
--Hot chocolate (lukewarm for safety reasons) with marshmallow
--Plain, chocolate, or strawberry milk
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A preschool pajama party theme is a fun classroom activity that provides young children with the opportunity to develop their social skills in a large group setting. By experiencing the concept of a "slumber party", preschoolers are introduced to an activity that is enjoyable for many children in elementary school.
Brown, Margarert Wise. Goodnight Moon. Harper Collins, 2005.
Casler, Kristie. Have You Ever Seen a Llama in Pajamas? Publish America, 2008.
Numeroff, Laura. If You Give a Pig a Party. Harper Collins, 2005.
Ideas and activities come from the author's twenty-five years of teaching experience.