Party bags have become a staple of children parties. When you’re young, it’s always exciting to be able to bring a bag of goodies home.
Party bags, party favours or goody bags are small bags that contain a small selection of gifts for your guests to bring home.
It’s a nice touch to add to any kid’s party without breaking the bank. The problem is that assembling them together can be time-consuming.
For this reason, we’ve compiled our top tips for putting together amazing party bags:
What to put in party bags?
The main tip, when it comes to filling party bags, is not to overfill them. Choose 3 or 4 fun items that kids will enjoy.
1. Bubble Blowers
This is a classic party bag item but they tend to be messy. We recommend taking a few precautions:
- Wait until the kids are a bit older.
- Make sure you choose a brand of bubble blowers that don’t stain! In most cases, they are easy to wash but you’ll make your life easier by just checking the labels beforehand.
- Avoid getting spills in the living room by getting the kids to go outside to play with the bubbles.
Stickers are another staple of children party bags! They’re fairly easy to find and they come in all shapes and sizes which allows you to choose some that match your party theme. They also don’t perish so kids can keep them for a long period of time.
3. A themed item
Adding an item that matches your party theme is a great touch! For example, if you host a princess party, you can add a small tiara or a princess wand. It makes the party bags special and the kids tend to remember the items for longer.
When you’re a kid, nothing beats candy (the same applies to grown ups and chocolate…). Instead of buying additional sweets, the easiest solution is just to add those left over from the party. This also means you won’t have to hide the sweets from your highly resourceful and investigative kids!
If you have some leftover cake from the party, add a slice to the party bags. No one wants dry cake, so sharing will help reduce waste.
Pro tip: If the cake has icing, stick a toothpick in the top before wrapping it in a napkin. It will prevent the wrapper from sticking to the cake.
6. Costume items
If you have a themed party, why not include a costume item in the party bags? These can easily be found in stores or made at home. Keep it simple. For example, an eye patch or a bandana is perfect for a pirate party.
7. Fun party masks
Consider adding themed masks to all the party bags. For example, superhero or animal masks. These will make for great group pictures! Look for masks that don’t cover the mouth area as kids don’t find these comfortable to wear.
8. Mini torches
This item is ideal if you’re having a sleepover party. When you’re a kid, using a torch in the dark is extremely entertaining. You can usually find some cheap ones in the local pound shop (look for keyring torches).
9. Joke/prank accessories
A whoopee cushion is an old favourite, but there are a number of other prank items that you can add to a party bag as well. Look out for them next time you go shopping; you’ll be surprised at how many there are.
We favour bracelets over necklaces for obvious reasons. If your guests are a bit older, a nice idea is to include the beads for a DIY bracelet. It’s always a fun activity for kids to do.
11. Scoubidou Strings
Typically, these are associated with girls but from our experience, boys enjoy making them just as much. They are great for getting kids to relax and focus on making something.
Pro tip: quickly google “how to start a scoubidou” before the party as the kids will inevitably ask you the question.
12. A cooking item or ingredient
A memory I have as a child is bringing home a spatula from a cooking party. Wooden ones are very cheap and they will most likely be in use for years. In my case, my parents used it much more than I ever did… but it was still “mine”.
13. Seeds for the garden
If you’re hosting a spring party, why not add a small pack of seeds for the kids to plant and watch grow?
Pro tip: if you have a younger audience, choose seeds that grow fast and don’t require too much attention. Lentils are a classic example.
14. A group picture
For this one, you’re going to need a printer and some planning. During the event, take a group picture of all the guests, print it and add a copy to all the party bags.
Pro tip: keep in mind that printing 15 pictures can take 20 to 25 minutes. You’ll need to keep the kids busy during that time. If you have an entertainer coming, then you’re all set. If not, plan a party game for the kids that doesn’t need too much supervision.
15. Puzzles or Jigsaws
In most shops, you should be able to find small puzzles or jigsaws. These are a great addition to any party bag. Just make sure the difficulty of the puzzle is appropriate for the kid’s age.
16. Pens, crayons and rulers
If you’re looking for presents that will be used, pens and crayons are a great option. You can find some very fancy ones in most stores. If they are very cheap, double check that they write properly!
17. Yo Yo’s
Surprisingly, Yo Yo’s don’t seem to fall out of fashion. At a young age, learning how to use one is extremely entertaining. Just beware of the tangles that, as parents, you will have to undo.
18. Bouncing balls
Bouncy balls are another classic of party bags. Just be warned: if they are bounced indoors “with passion” they can break things.
Including some nice balloons is an easy way to add colours to the party bags. These are really cheap and fun for kids to play with.
20. Hair slides or hair scrunchies
If your birthday guests are predominantly girls, adding hair slides or hair scrunchies will make everyone happy. This is perfect if you’re having a pamper party or a princess party.
There are plenty of simple mini-games that are perfect for party bags. Think along the lines of ‘Tic Tac Toe’ or ‘Snakes & Ladders’. You might want to check online for these as your local shops might not have any.
22. Small wallets
When you’re a kid, owning a wallet makes you feel grown up. This makes it a great gift to include in any party bag. If it’s big enough, it can even be used as the party bag itself.
23. Colouring pages
This is an easy DIY option as you can print off free colouring templates at home. It’s perfect for a younger audience.
This idea was given to us by a Mum: If your child and his/her friends are avid readers, instead of getting a party bag, simply get them your kid’s favourite book.
We think this is a great idea. It won’t apply to every group, but it’s great when it does.
What NOT to put in party bags?
To assemble an amazing party bag, it’s just as important to exclude certain items.
1. Party whistles & Party recorders
You’ll thank us later…. party whistles get loud fast! Unless you want to prank the other parents, we suggest avoiding these altogether. This piece of advice is shared by most entertainers.
If you have (or your guests have) carpets at home, avoid these at all cost. They get everywhere and the stains aren’t fun to remove. Slime also accumulates (sticks to) dust which means it gets dirty fast. If you do want to add slime to the party bags, make sure you have some adult supervision.
Things to keep in mind
Toy swords & guns
There isn’t anything inherently wrong with adding a sword, or other toy weapons to the party bags. Just make sure everyone knows the boundaries of these toys. Even foam can hurt.
Projectiles & flying toys
If you want to add items that are designed to be thrown, propelled or launched, make sure you establish a clear firing range. Some toy rockets fly surprisingly high so make sure they have a clear flight path.
If you include food in the party bags, keep an eye out for allergies. Past a certain age, kids will know for themselves if they are allergic. For younger kids, the easiest solution is to chat with the other parents beforehand or ask for this information when they RSVP.
Plan a few spare toys
If you include items that the kids are going to use during the party, plan a few spares.
Choose toys that are safe for the age group
It sounds obvious but makes sure the all the items are safe for the age group. For example, if you have a younger crowd, avoid small plastic items that they might swallow.
Avoid plastic bags
It isn’t always an option, but if you can, opt for paper or fabric bags instead of plastic ones. They look and feel nicer and the kids can re-use them later. For example, here at PartyWizz, we favour organza fabric bags.
Avoid the overfilled party bag “trap”
As we said at the start, don’t go overboard with the party bags. It’s better to have 2 or 3 nice items than 10 cheap items that kids don’t even play with. Keep it simple and keep it fun!
If you want some more party planning tips, check out our article on the ultimate kid’s party checklist.
Where to buy party bags?
With a few exceptions, all items mentioned in this article, and the party bags themselves, can be found in most supermarkets and variety stores.
If you’re based in Ireland, we sell pre-filled party bags in our online PartyWizz store, so there’s no need to hunt for the different items and assemble them yourself. We cater to every major party theme and the best part is: they are delivered straight to your door.