If you throw your child a birthday party, she’ll want goody bags to give her guests.*
goody bag – noun
a bag containing candy, small toys, or other gifts given to party-goers or attendees of an event; also written goodie bag
Like it or not, assembling goody bags is a standard part of birthday party planning. Try to remember a birthday party when your child hasn’t left on a sugar high, clutching a bag containing candy and stuff. Small stuff. Plastic stuff. Junk to you, but FABULOUS TREASURES to your child that will wind up all over the backseat of your car or on your kitchen counter.
I’m not willing to be THAT MOM, the one taking a political stand against goody bags and possibly causing my daughters lasting social embarrassment. So, every year I try to find something for our goody bags that kids will like and moms may not loathe.
If you add up what you spend on bags of candy and tiny toys, action figures, silicone bracelets, and other treasures filling goodie bags, you could probably buy one or two items that won’t be tossed in the trash for just about the same cost.
Ideas of what to choose instead of standard Goodie Bag items:
Look for inexpensive board books with a birthday theme or that mirror the theme of your child’s party. One year we gave each child a copy of Birthday Monsters! by Sandra Boynton, one of our favorite authors.
Tunes are always a great idea. Look for something inexpensive, like a Kidzbop CD.
If you have a summer birthday party, consider having a bucket of pool noodles at the door for kids to grab on their way out.
Coloring books and crayons
Check the dollar store for coloring books and packs of crayons.
Stickers or craft items
Let your child pick out sticker books or small inexpensive craft items for their friends. Give them a budget and you’ll be surprised at how creative they can be choosing something “just right.”
Buy inexpensive plain t-shirts and have the kids decorate them with fabric paint at the party. Put the t-shirts in a bag for each child to take home.
Bucket of treats
My girls are turning 12 this year. With the budget that I gave them, they selected small buckets at Target’s dollar spot, hand sanitizers on sale, inexpensive nail polish, and two sharpie markers (out of an inexpensive pack of 24) to give their guests.
Hopefully these suggestions get you thinking “outside the bag.”
*With apologies to Laura Numeroff, author of one our favorites, If You Give a Pig a Pancake