Kids love giving party favors or goodie bags at the end of their birthday party! It’s a fun way to spread the birthday excitement and tell friends that you are glad they came. Unfortunately, party favors can also be a treasure trove of sugar, cheap plastic, and “fun” that will be tossed into the trash almost as soon as possible. If you cringe at the thought of sending home another bag full throw aways, keep reading! Here you’ll find 50+ amazing party favors that are not junk.
Alternatives to junky goodie bags
If sending home a celephane bag full of cheap treasures seems inevitable, I want to reassure you that it’s totally possbile to find better party favors without pulling out your hair! Most of the party favors on this list aren’t expensive and can even be incorporated into your party. Double win! The goal is to get out of the party isle at the grocery store. I’ve found that most (but not all) of the party favors there are cheaply made and will break quickly. Here are my favorite party favor ideas:
Crafts that can double as a take home gift
One year my daughter chose to paint picture frames with her friends as one of her party activities. Those picture frames also made for a fun take home gift at the end of the party! Here are a few more examples:
Decorate a pillowcase—just get inexpensive pillowcases and fabric markers! I love this mermaid pillowcase below, but you could also snag some simple white pillowcases and let the kids have a blank slate.
Tote bag—inexpensive tote bags from the craft store, decorated with paints, or fabric markers. This 12 pack would be great for a party!
Art canvas—pick up a 3 or 4 pack and some paints. Kids love painting these blank canvases.
Paint your own pottery—go to a pottery painting studio, or DIY it yourself with pottery or ceramics from the craft store. I love this little set of owls!
Slime—slime is easy to make and our kids always love putting it together. This kit even has the fun mix-ins.
Picture frame—paint or decorate a blank frame with stickers.
Tie dye—this can be as simple or complicated as you want. Pick up anything from t-shirts to white socks and have fun tie dying your items together.
Cookie or cake decorating—bake or buy cookies/cupcakes and let the kids decorate their own. Encourage them to save it to take home at the end of the party.
Birdhouse—I’ve seen small wooden birdhouses for as little as $1 each at the craft store. Let the kids paint or decorate them however they like. You could even send home a small baggie of birdseed with them at the end of the party.
Take home craft—you don’t have to do the craft at the party to use on as a party favor. Some craft stores have pre-arranged crafts that you can send with the kids to do at home. Our family was gifted this set of crafts and it was so easy–each kit comes with everything you need to complete the craft.
Playdough—this is one of the more economical craft options. Playdough is so easy to make (see our recipe here) and it makes for a fun party favor.
Crayons—these are a useful and inexpensive favor. You could also get creative with the kids and melt “new” crayons into shapes with crayon molds.
Markers—every kid I know loves a new marker. These Reese’s markers make me laugh…my kids would want to eat them!
Watercolors—unless you are trying to find these during back to school season, these are easy to find and so useful for kids.
Stickers—get a large pack of stickers like the one below and break it out to give to several kids.
Just for Fun party favor ideas
Puzzle—my middle son LOVES puzzles. The dollar store has pretty great kids puzzles and they’ll get used again and again. Even this 12 pack doesn’t cost that much!
Balloons—whether you fill them up with helium or leave as ground floaters, balloons are always a hit. Bonus: you get to use them as party décor and send them with the kids when the party is over! We used some balloons like this for a glow in the dark party a couple of years ago and they were a hit!
Book—choose your child’s favorite book or just some that they like. If we were doing a party for my son, he’d want to give away this one because it’s his favorite!
Keychain—my kids love to hang keychains from their backpacks! These donut backpack keychains are fun!
Friendship bracelet—let your kids make the bracelets before the party. It’s a personalized party favor that gives your child plenty of crafting experience. Or if you are feeling brave enough to tackle it during the party, let each child make their own!
Nail polish—my daughter would flip over a new new polish!
Legos—this can be a little more tricky because Legos can get expensive fast. But sometimes you can find a deals for Lego men that keep them less expensive. This set of minifigures isn’t too bad!
Rubix cube—all of my kids love Rubix cubes!
Card games—Go fish, Slap Jack, and even playing cards can be inexpensive and fun.
Take home treats
Cookie mix and cookie cutters—I know it might sound silly, but they get a treat that they get to make later and you don’t have to make them!
Cookie decorating kit—add a sugar cookie, sprinkles, and a small baggie of frosting in a bag for them to frost their own cookie later.
Homemade treat—have your child help you make a fun treat to package up and send with kids at the end of the party.
Jump rope—you can even teach them your old tricks from elementary school!
Bouncy ball—kids love balls!
Playground ball—our playground ball gets so much use! From kickball to Gaga we’re constantly using ours. This option can be a little more pricy if you are buying several.
Velco ball catch—these come with two velcro paddles and a tennis ball that sticks!
Outdoor party favors
Bubbles—great for outside. You can even pass them out for the kids to use outside while you wait for parents to pick kids up from the party!
Sidewalk chalk—Every piece of sidewalk chalk my kids have ever had has been well-used!
Kite—make your own as a party craft, or just give out inexpensive kites as a party favor.
Frisbee—kids love chasing frisbees. You could even give them instructions on the proper way to throw a frisbee during the party!
Water balloons—great for summer parties!
Pool noodle—if you are doing a pool party, give each kid their own pool noodle to play with during the party.
Pool toys—these can range from squirting toys to diving toys.
Squirt guns—you know kids will use and abuse these during the summer!
Water bottle—let kids decorate their own with stickers!
Wearable party favors
Temporary Tattoos–Krissy Hadick, founder of The Hadicks, recommends temporary tattoos. Kids love the magical process of seeing the image transfer from the paper to their skin.
Sunglasses—just imagine these party pictures! So cute!
Superhero cape—my oldest son attended a party when he was 4 and the mom had made inexpensive superhero capes as a party favor!
Necklace—let the kids make their own with beads or snag these fidget bracelets.
Hat—decorate plain hats with puff paint.
Scarf—teach kids how to make their own fleece scarves using the cut and knot method.
Fun socks—who doesn’t love funny socks!
Tutu—perfect for a princess or ballerina party.
Other party favors
Joke cards—my kids would love this! Make your own or get the ones below!
Pokemon cards—get a large pack and break it down so each child gets just a few cards.
Ice cream gift card—ask your local ice cream shop if you can get several small passes inexpensively.
Fidget toys—there are so many great fidget toy options. These can be a great way to help kids focus.
Silly putty—did you ever try the newspaper ink trick with silly putty? My kids love blowing bubbles into their silly putty.
Silly string—grab a few cans of these at the dollar store and send them home to spread the party fun!
Plant to grow—give each kid their own plant to take home. You could even let the kids decorate a pot or can to take the plant home in.
Seeds—similar to a plant, help the kids plant a seed and let them take it home to grow
Finding party favors that are not junk can be tricky but it’s not impossible. Which of the party favors above have you tried? 😊