6 Birthday Party Favors Kids (and Parents) Actually Want

posted: 11/03/15
by: Blythe Copeland
Little birthday boy with birthday presents.

Next time you're putting together a birthday party for your kids, think twice about the goodie bags: A collection of breakable plastic trinkets, handfuls of choking-hazard candies, and non-washable art supplies is a waste of your money. Instead, give out favors kids and parents will use and enjoy long after the leftover cake is gone -- or even consider not doing them at all.

1. Books

Check your local dollar store for small children's books that won't break the party budget, or look for beginning reader paperbacks at Barnes and Noble or Amazon; these are often priced at under $4 each and highlight popular characters like Thomas the Tank Engine, Peppa Pig, Mickey Mouse, Doc McStuffins, and more.

2. Art Supplies

Kids break crayons so quickly that small boxes paired with coloring books from the dollar store -- or free coloring pages you can print from the Internet to match almost any theme -- will always be a hit. Other crafty ideas: Small containers of Play-Doh, sidewalk chalk, watercolor sets, individual jars of paint and brushes, sticker sheets, or colored pencils. The under-$1 section at Target also often has small kits that come with a mini coloring book, stickers, and crayons in an assortment of cartoon characters.

3. Outdoor Toys

Look for low-cost playtime classics like inexpensive balls -- we've seen versions of these for under $1 at the party store, or you can splurge on sturdier soccer balls, footballs, or kickballs; or jump ropes, hula hoops, bubbles, or water shooters. Instead of a bag full of small, fragile toys, choose a single item the kids can use outside all year.

4. Anything Edible

Kids leaving a birthday party have probably already had enough sweets to last them the rest of the day, but sending home a cookie decorated to match the party theme or an individually packaged snack like Goldfish crackers, Teddy Grahams, or fruit snacks is a small thank-you that won't add to the sugar rush that comes later.

5. Something to Use at the Party

Hosting a superhero-themed bash? Look for masks or DIY capes that kids can take home. A farm party? Send kids home with bandannas and dress-up cowboy hats. A princess tea party? Let them decorate their own teacups and use those as a favor. You'll be saving money by making decor and activities do double duty, and dress up clothes or small toys will have another life at home with the party guests.

6. Nothing

Trust us: Most parents will have no problem leaving your party without a bunch of candy, snacks, or toys. (Many will prefer it!) You provided a whole afternoon of entertainment and snacks; you are under no obligation to send home a goodie bag, too, no matter what the other moms in the class have done. If you really can't send your guests away empty handed, then give each child a ballon; consider it party cleanup and a favor in one.