Party bags are a great way to send your little one’s friends home with a token gift of the birthday fun they had. Traditionally, party bags are filled with candies, chocolates and other sweets as well as small, inexpensive plastic toys that usually get lost or break within a day or two. But takeaway birthday baggies can be so much more fun, engaging and unique with a bit of effort and creative thinking.
Think Outside of the Bag
Skip the themed cellophane bag and opt for a brown paper bag that kids can decorate and personalise at the party – this is a fun way to add an activity to the overall event with just a few crayons, markers, glitter and glue. You can also consider using mason jars, and inexpensive baskets and plastic containers that can be reused in the kitchen and home by both children and adults. Consider pre-ordering bundles of small gift boxes that are easy to assemble or use a refillable kid’s cup as a replacement for the customary party bag. Go the extra step and tie a cute ribbon or raffia around the lid of containers to differentiate between boy and girl gifts or create labels or name tags that complement your child’s party colours or theme. You can also consider attaching a coloured balloon to each bag as an extra takeaway souvenir that is always a crowd pleaser.
Fill it Up!
This is the fun part so have fun with it. Do a bit of research on the Internet (Pinterest is a wonderful resource for ideas) and visit popular children’s stores and party and décor suppliers to inspire you. Here are a few creative ideas to get you thinking about uncommon filler items:
Spa in a Jar: Fill a mason jar with a bottle of nail polish, toe separators, an emery board, sweet smelling lotion and a few cotton balls for a cute and girly gift. Add a few temporary or flash tattoos, hair clips, lip gloss, mints or a small packet of chewing gum to the jar for something extra special.
Give the Gift of Reading: Ignite the imagination of a child with the gift of reading. If you personally know the children who will attend the birthday party, you can hand-pick books that suit each of their personalities. You can also pair these with a colouring book – many are available in the dollar aisle at local supermarkets – and a handful of crayons. Bind them all together with a fun ribbon and name tag.
Make a Mixtape: CD Pull a playlist together with your child’s favourite songs to play during the party then give each child a CD of the songs to take home. Chances are they will have the same musical interests. Add stickers to the CD sleeve to make it cool and colourful.
Sweets, with a Twist: If nothing else will do but sweets and candies, you can still make it interesting. For instance, add crushed Oreo cookies to a jar and top with sour worms for an amusing treat that will go over well with the boys. Baked cookies in a plastic or paper baggie, cupcake poppers or mini-cupcakes are always a big hit as well.
Great Games: Puzzles and playing cards like Uno, Old Maid and Go Fish are a great giveaway in a party bag. Throw in a few marbles or Lego blocks for a good time long after the party is finished. Also, firework poppers are pretty inexpensive and are generally safe for children to use.
Gift Certificates: Gift certificates at popular kid’s stores are a great trouble-free gift and can be purchased in denominations as little as $5.00.
Donate to Charity: Instead of handing out party bags, you can consider asking your child to choose a local charity that means something to him or her and make a donation in the amount of what you likely would have spent. You can also ask parents to make a donation to the same charity instead of bringing a birthday gift.
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Published: Cayman Parent Magazine, Spring 2016