If your kid has ever received a whistle, a bunch of little sticky hands, or, God-forbid, a goldfish, you know that goody bags can easily go wrong! Instead, here are some birthday party favors parents won’t hate.
I recently threw our boys’ third birthday party. I wanted to hand out a simple party favor bag to all the kids at the party, so I took an informal poll of my Facebook friends to ask which party favors they liked and which they just hated. Here’s what I found out!
Let’s start with a few questions.
Do I Need Goody Bags?
Nope. Nope, nope, nope. You definitely don’t need to hand out goody bags or party favors at your party. If budget is a concern, you have concerns about the environment or food allergies, or if you just don’t want to do it, don’t. Let’s stop doing the things that we feel we must do, okay? And then let’s agree not to judge each other!
But if you want to put together goody bags, don’t feel bad either! I think it’s fun to send kids home with a little memory of the party. We had cute little dragon bath toys in ours and my neighbor said her daughter has had so much fun playing with them every night since the party.
You could also opt to make a small donation for every child at the party to a charity that is close to your family. This is also a good alternative if you don’t want guests to bring gifts—give them the option to donate to charity in honor of the birthday child.
How Much Should I Spend on Party Favors?
Parties are expensive! I can understand why goody bags are so controversial. Why spend even more money on a bunch of crummy little toys that will probably end up in the trash in a few days? For our favor bags, I ordered in bulk and spent less than $3 for the bag and two small toys that I included in the bags. Don’t go over the top with party favors—you don’t want to spend more on the favors than people might spend on a gift for your child!
Bad Party Favors
So what did the parents in my poll consider bad party favors? Here were the ones that topped their hate list:
- Chewing gum
- Sticky toys
- Anything with tiny pieces (someone called these “automatic vacuum food”)
- By far the worst: ANYTHING ALIVE (goldfish, chicks, sea monkeys, ant farms, etc.)
Mixed Reaction Party Favors
Here are handful that some parents liked, and some parents hated. A lot of them have a mess factor, but some parents liked the creative possibilities of things like Play-Doh and finger paint. Choose at your discretion!
Great Party Favors Parents Will Love
And finally here are the party favors that the majority of my friends didn’t mind their kids coming home with!
- Crayons / coloring books / coloring posters
- Notebooks / sketchpads
- Sidewalk chalk
- Small games (Mad Libs, UNO, Skip-Bo, etc.)
- Bath toys
- Small gift certificates to frozen yogurt or other local places
- Homemade gifts
- Healthier snacks (crackers, dried fruit, etc.)
- A craft from the party—see the next section
Party Crafts as Favors
One of the things one mom mentioned was that she liked when her daughter brought home a craft she made at the party as the favor. It was a good combination of party activity and goody bag.
- Painted mugs, ceramic tiles, or flower pots
- Friendship bracelets
- Puff-paint or fabric marker t-shirts
- DIY Kaleidoscope
- Decorated birdhouses, masks
- Name art with yarn or paint
- Watercolor artwork
What are the best (or worst!) party favors your kid has ever brought home? Let me know in the comments!
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