It’s the rort of the century isn’t it… you work long and hard on a kids birthday party, getting together food, games, entertainment, more food and then you are also expected to send home a favour bag with all the guests???!
And the thing is, most of the time, the party bag contains some cheap toys that break in 5 minutes, and a whole heap of sugar that your child DID NOT need to have after just being at a kid’s birthday party for 2 hours!
Over my time of hosting parties, I have come to learn little tips and tricks to create a party bag on a budget that both kids and adults love (i.e. not just a whole dose of sugar!).
So below, I am going to give you some tips and ideas for party bags that provide you the most bang for your buck! And at the end of the article, I will show you how I used these ideas to create a party bag for each of my kids birthdays this year for as low as $1.80 per bag! Yep, that's about the cost of one cheap ‘party favour’ toy.
Seriously, what kid doesn't love playdough?? I use my super simple recipe from Real Kids, Real Play, chose the appropriate colour that we want to make it and we sprinkle in some glitter for good measure!
We package ours in little takeaway tubs (you know, the ones they put sauces in) but you could equally just wrap it up in some cellophane with a ribbon. I had this coming out at a whopping 28c per child!
I can assure you that making playdough is super-easy. But if you simply can’t get your head around doing it, then look around you… I found mini tubs of playdough at the Reject Shop for $5 for a pack of 12… still not a bad price per tub at 42cents.
Kids. Love. Slime.
Yep there are recipes out there and I’ll be sure to share one soon, but many do rely on items that you may not readily have on hand.
Instead, I just bought a mega tub at the Reject Shop and divided it into smaller containers… This was the most expensive item in my party bags at 88cents per child.
Edit: Slime is a hit with kids but not so much adults. I recommend that this is used for party bags for kids 5 and over... it is very hard to get out of hair and carpet (which younger kids seem to have a knack of doing!)
3. Colouring In
This is such a no-brainer. Find a colouring in image online that matches your theme and print it off. Even better, make it totally free by printing it off on the work printer (shhhh… I didn’t say that)…
Every child loves going home with a colouring in activity.
These have always been a hit in our party bags. Simply buy a bulk pack of stickers and give each child 1 or 2 sheets from the pack. At $2 a pack, that's 17c a sheet!
5. Bargain Bulk Packs
I always keep my eyes out in the lead up to our birthday season. You can pick up a bargain on the clearance racks. In our supermarket recently there were kids pencils and textas reduced to clear and these were perfect for dividing up into the bags.
And a regular favourite is a pack of 8 stamps at Kmart for $2 that I can then divide up into the bags.
I have found that kids only need, say, 4-5 lollies in their bag and they are content. So too, are the parents that are taking them home! Using a bulk pack of lollies, I got this down to 60cents per child with a Milky Way, box of smarties and 5 lollies each.
7. Dancing Ribbon
For my daughter in particular, this was a hit for her 2yo party. She loves music and they are so easy to hold. Simply get some ribbon and tie it around a hair tie and it is perfect for a dance party!
Unless you are having a big party (and therefore able to buy in bulk), the ribbons may cost you $1.25 per child. But I have found that they are wonderful for younger age parties where you may not want to have lollies and a lot of trinkets are too dangerous.
So on to our party bags for this year…..
Firstly, my 5-year old son’s TMNT party.
Each kid received a tub of ‘Ninja Dough’, a tub of ‘Sewer Slime’, 2 sheets of stickers, 2 colouring in pages, a cool pencil, a box of smarties, a milky way, a mini lolly pop and about 5 lollies (I have found that this is plenty of lollies for the lolly bags after the sugar hit of the party itself).
This came out at $2.59 per party bag including the bag itself! The slime was the most expensive item at 88 cents a serve, so if you wanted to eliminate that you could get it down to $1.80 per party bag!
My 3-year old daughter is having a Frozen-themed party.
Once again, she had a tub of playdough, a tub of slime, some stickers, a pencil, a box of smarties, a milky way, a mini lolly pop and about 5 lollies. I was lucky enough to also find some My Little Pony eggs reduced at the Reject Shop from $2 to 50c which I added into the bags and I also added in a dancing ribbon.
This came out at $4.67 per party bag (including the bag) which I was still incredibly happy with (and she was having a quarter of the guests my son had so I could justify the extra spend). Once again, removal of the slime would bring it down to under $4 per bag.
(As of writing this blog, I had not yet made the labels for her playdough and slime but I will create something to fit in with the theme).
So there you have it, my DIY budget party bags. A hell of a lot more bang for your buck!
Final Tip: Have you thought about giving party bags at the START of the party?! My son went to one 'movie night' party where the kids were given their bag at the start... It had some popcorn in it, lollies, glow sticks and a drink. Essentially, it doubled as the party food itself!
Checkout our blogs on hosting a TMNT party on a budget and making your own piñata and if you are looking for some good old fashioned party games to play, be sure to checkout our guest blog for Kiddipedia here.