Party favours

For parents who are keen to avoid handing out the usual bag of sugary-artificially coloured and flavoured junk that seems to be the main-stay of the take-home party favour bag, we have got together a few alternative suggestions.

kidding around cd

Firstly, the Kiddley reader who triggered the idea for this post is Carol of Kidding-around. Instead of letting her kids distribute sweet-bags or donuts to class mates on birthdays (their preschool, like our preschool, has a no-homemade-treats policy), they put together mixed music CDs of their favourite tracks. The kids design the cover art (above) and make a copy for each class mate. This would also be a wonderful gift to hand out at the end of a party to each guest. Check out (sm)all ages for some tunes to include that go beyond Barney and the Wiggles.

I also happened upon a list of favours for a 1st birthday party on Sprout. Rubber ducks, bubbles (to watch rather than playing with alone), sand toys (pails, shovels, rakes, molds etc), homemade t-shirts, egg-shakers and beach balls.

Other ideas for things to include in a favour bag (of varying expense):
Coloured chalk
Rubber balls
Water squirters
Coloring books
Novelty erasers
Mini paint sets
Pocket flashlights
Balloons or balloon animals
Plastic animals
Plastic, paper or shell leis (flower necklaces)
Packets of mixed flower seeds (for a spring party)
Gift certificates (such as passes to movies)
Polaroids of the party
Disposable cameras
Crayons or colored pencils
Beaded necklaces
Lip gloss
Plastic costume jewelry
Temporary tattoos
Hair bows and clips

Clever ways to packages up party favours:
How to make a party cracker
Make a surprise ball – Megan’s were made for Valentine’s Day – but you could fill these with lots of different things

Tiny Pinatas
Tiny Pinatas (all from Not Martha)
Decorate a small tin (a small potato chip or nut tin would be perfect) and fill it.

Update: please respect your country’s applicable copyright and fair-use laws when putting together your party favours CDs.  Thanks!

27 Responses to “Party favours”

  1. Penni

    Party favours get extraordinarily over the top these days, don’t they? I don’t know, I feel like some people spend more on one bag of party favours than I would on my child’s entire haul of birthday presents.
    But it is nice to send the kids home with something. For our daughter’s 3rd birthday we bought tiny terracotta pots (about 80c each) repackaged up some seeds and made tiny little cutout scarecrows which we stuck on icypole sticks. A lot of the guests were older siblings of new babies, so it was nice to give them something to DO, a gentle structured home-based activity.

  2. Adria

    Thanks for the great ideas! I really cannot stand all the candy and crap that comes with goodie bags.

  3. Melissa

    Thank you! My husband usually eats the lolly bags, because I don’t want my sons too!

  4. Anne

    Just finished up a party for my son’s 3rd birthday. He & I assembled washcloths in bright colors, each filled with a magic washcloth (the kind that expand in water), a little play-doh, and bath dye tablets. Cheap, easy, fun. Tied the whole thing together with ribbon.

  5. Kristin

    Brilliant! We are having a pinata party soon and I’ve been looking for more idea of what to put in the thing. These are good Halloween ideas too.

  6. eden

    Zipper pulls are another good one. My daughter had a Lilo & Stitch 2nd birthday and we had surfboard-shaped zipper pulls that even I still use. We also had small packs of crayons/markers. Tagrte’s Dollar Spot had tons of great stuff for her favor bags and since the paryt was small it didn’t cost much.

  7. Julie

    I made the surprise balls using the cheap rolls of crepe paper from the party supply store and all kind of little toys and candies for my daughter’s 5th birthday last year and the kid’s loved them! I made them huge, so it took them a while to unroll the whole thing. Just give them little decorated paper lunch bags to put their treasures in after they unroll the balls!

  8. Maryellen

    We love to go to Chinatown and find out-of-the ordinary things for my daughter’s friends like little embroidered slippers, parasols, or rhinestone hair clips–most of which are under $6.

    re: the gift ball–are the crepe paper strips taped together into one long strip? These look like they’ve been made into tiny pinatas.

    thanks for the great ideas!

  9. Lily

    My little munchkin is coming up to her first birthday and has already been invited to several parties, all of which resulted in her being given a lolly bag to take home! She’s not even one yet. Needless to say, like Melissa, we had to … ahem… eat them to save our daughter from ‘having’ to. Who gives lollies to babies?

    Thank you for the ideas.

    (PS Hope you’re getting some sleep and so is the bub!)

  10. surfingfree

    Oh yes, those party bags are waaay too ridiculous sometimes. A tired child on the way home from a party does not need more lollies.
    I try to put sultanas, little bags of nuts, etc in with a few lollies.
    Also kids love discovering lots of things in those bags so I often put in colourful cheap things like buttons, beads and some string, magnets, pencils, rubbers, hairclips, rubber stamps, etc …. any little ‘exciting’ things that I can find. And I have had good reports back 😀

  11. Mary

    At my daughter’s 3rd birthday I wanted something that was useful to give out so I bought small water bottles at the dollar store, they were in packages of 2 then filled with stickers and a little bit of candy and tied on a ribbon with a tag saying thank you for coming. They were a hit!

  12. Lucinda

    Oh thank you, thank you, thank you. So many times I have been tempted to blog about how much I hate the tradition of lolly bags at parties but I always feel like I’m being a real spoil sport about it all. I’ll be using your ideas when my girls celebrate their combined 5th and 7th birthdays in mid-August.

  13. Debbie

    We like to get something fun to play with DURING the party that kids can then take home. We’ve done lots of different things: big inflatable animals (a zoo party), dollar-store inflatable beach balls (an outdoor party), dollar-store golf balls and clubs (a golf party) – we made big flags as well for the different “holes”, dollar- store spray bottles (personalized with children’s names and used in a squirt fight at the party, giant crayon-shaped banks that were the decoration at an “Elmo’s World” party, dollar-store Tiki statues the kids painted at a “Lilo + Stitch” party, foam visors kids decorated at a “video game hero” party. It’s fun making a memory first with the favor, and a dollar per kid can get you plenty, and it’s usually something the kids won’t throw away! -Debbie

  14. Amy

    I just hosted a slumber party for my 8 year old stepdaughter and 3 of her friends. Sleepover goodie bags were a must! Here’s what a packed each one with:

    a cute notepad (4 for $1.00), a pen (3 for $1.00), sleeping masks with big cartoon eyes (2 for $1.00), a princess sticker/activity book ($0.50), a tube of bath confetti ($0.50), kitty shaped glycerin soap ($0.50), and glow in the dark glasses (3 for $1.00).

    The girls loved their goodie bags and it didn’t cost me a fortune!

  15. van

    can’t wait to see what you guys’ve been up to!
    long weekends, long sessions of baby staring, love sharing… all that.
    i hope all is well, is it ok to get a little worried that there’s not even a tiny weeny post letting us know you’re just enjoying your first month?
    maybe you’re just sleeping when she’s sleeping and laughing and “awwwww”ing when she’s awake. yes, all is wonderfull in loobylu land!

  16. Mother-of-C

    Oh my, Claire – thankyou !!

    I must admit I was very lazy with my child’s 2nd b’day .. and we gave out .. NOTHING !! ( We were moving house at the time, is my excuse .. )

    Now I have to wait another year … but I can’t wait to make up some of these ideas 🙂

  17. /Karen/

    Umm … making mix CDs is breaking copyright. Is that really a good thing to be modelling for kids?

  18. Maureen has tons of little cheap toys – almost more affordable than candy, and it’s easy to find something to go with many themes.

    They’re also a great source for stickers, which every kid seems to enjoy.

  19. Phil

    Hi Karen, making mix CDs of copyrighted material does break copyright in some countries, but is regarded as acceptible fair use in others, so readers will need to follow their local laws. I’ve updated the post to reflect that. Thanks!

  20. Robin

    Last year, I gave out boxes of character band-aids for my daughter’s 5th birthday. Practical, and fun. The kids love them! The year before art sets from a craft store that were on sale for $3.99, and the year before that playground bouncy balls with their names on them in Sharpie. next year, I’m thinking of making them coloring books with my niece’s lovely anime style mermaid drawings!

  21. Snowbear

    This is a great post and one to return to often!
    Any diary free suggestions for parties are welcome in this household. Too many times we go to kid’s birthday parties where ice cream and milk chocolate rule and my kid goes without!
    Thanks for the tips!

  22. Spring

    What excellent ideas!

    Last year for my daughter’s birthday I made pillows for the girls out of orange wooly fleece fur. Easiest, cheapest and most practical gift I thought of in 11 years of birthday parties.

    This year is Egyptian themed. Last Saturday we went to an Egyptian exhibit at the Kimball where I bought some necklaces (even made in Egypt – hurrah) that I’ll use as favors. If I can find the time I’ll make pyramid boxes to hold them. The necklaces were only $4 each, too. Hurrah some more.

  23. joyflea

    My daughter is turning 7 this weekend and is having a Rockstar party. Each child gets to make a pet rock, which will go in their goody bag along with a photo of them printed before the end of the party. We have also made medallions with each childs name, like “Musical Matt” and “La La Lizzy”, they they get to keep.

  24. Ingrid

    we did a fishpond for my child’s third birthday, so all the favours were fish-themed: little fish-shaped notepads from the dollar store, Go Fish card games (also from the dollar store), and of course a few Swedish Fish candies. The kids fished for their favours with bamboo garden stakes with string and clothespegs attached. we let them take the fishing poles home, too.

    It was such a big hit and so much fun that we’ll include it in every birthday party until the kid begs us not to.

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