So you’ve been at a party and your kids have eaten their weight in treat foods (well that may be a slight exaggeration but you know what I mean). The last thing you want them to eat in the car on the way home is more lollies in those traditional lolly bags. So these days, non-food party bag ideas are a really good option, but then again you don’t just want a bag full of “instant junk” that will probably end up either broken on day 1 or thrown away. I’ve found some fantastic, practical, fun, easy and affordable party bag ideas for you to try.
Start by considering your budget per child and the party theme and go from there! Use your imagination – and think outside the box!
Whether you make it yourself or buy a whole heap of little tubs – play dough is a great option for party bags. You can even add instructions and extra materials (such as cookie cutters, pipe cleaners and google eyes) for party guests to create their own monster, butterfly or other creature! This will keep them busy when they get home from the party (or the following day) and their parents will be thanking you for the quiet time.
For a budget take home gift option make your own play dough. Place it in a snap lock bag and tie a ribbon around it with a cookie cutter attached. For young children use an edible play dough recipe.
Bubbles are great for any age! Sometimes it can be hard to know what to put in party bags for under 1s – either the little mini bubble packs are great, or large bubble wands are usually only $1 from most shops. We tape ours to the verandah posts so that the mixture doesn’t get tipped out and it certainly keeps my 20 month old toddler happy!
Lots of shops sell packs of books – all different sizes and stories. Keep your eye out for when they’re on special and snap up enough for each child to have one book. They work out a lot cheaper when you buy them in a pack. Shops like Costco can be a good place to try if you’re a member.
Bath toys are a good little extra gift for baby and toddler party bags. A little rubber duck, a boat or something that sticks to the side of the bath and they’ll be happy!
Another thing you can buy in bulk and divide is stationery. Get some special pens, texta, pencils and/or crayons and pop a few in each child’s party bag. You can also include stickers, paper, post it notes, and stampers.
Lego or Duplo
Buy a large generic box/tub of Lego or Duplo and divide into little packs for each party guest. Give them some ideas of what they could build – a house, a person, the letter their name starts with.
Toy Cars or Animals
I’m sure you’ll agree, you can never have too many toy cars or animals in your collection so if these fit your theme or budget they’d make a great addition to the party bags. “I wheelie like you” is a sweet little message to include on the thank you cards to go with a toy car gift.
You can buy a lot of different craft kits for a few dollars or make up your own. This could fit to your theme or could be a variety of cute craft. Examples include small canvases with paints, mosaic sticker craft, small modelling clay sets etc. Check to ensure these are age appropriate.
Buy each child a water bottle, label and fill them so the child can use it during the party. This becomes the child’s take home gift. This can also work well with a cute cup. Make sure to label them so they can be used during the party.
Watering cans. A cute watering can from Ikea is only a few dollars and makes a great gift. Attach a thanks for coming card around the neck of the can and you are done.
Bucket and spade
Bucket and spade. A cheap bucket and spade gift can make the perfect party bag.
Home made party bag items
Bath bombs, homemade play dough, slime can all be made cheaply and on a budget.
Some final thoughts…
One final idea is to get the birthday boy or girl to decorate their friend’s party bags before you pack them – if you buy white or brown paper bags, paint goes on really easily. I did this when my daughter was 2 and it was a really nice touch. It gave her a special job to do to help prepare for her party. You can also wrap up the goodies in cellophane and tie with a ribbon, use a cup, or purchase party bags from the shop to suit your theme. Make sure you label them with each child’s name who is attending your party – and ALWAYS do a few spares just in case you miscounted or someone’s little brother or sister comes along unexpectedly! It’s also lovely for the birthday boy or girl to actually hand them out as their friends are leaving, remind them to thank their guests for coming and thank them for their gifts. Manners are important!