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“Do I have to do party bags?”

It is a question that probably goes through most mum’s minds as they plan their child’s birthday party.

In my experience, it takes a brave parent not to give party guests anything.

But if the idea of filling party bags doesn’t fill you with joy, giving a single party favour to each guest is a great alternative.

Over the last few years of hosting and taking my daughter to birthday parties, I’ve noted that ‘thank you for coming to my party’ gifts go down incredibly well with kids and parents alike.

Plus, it’s so much less of a time soak giving out gifts instead of sourcing and filling party bags.

Plus. if you’re clever, it can also be very cost-effective.

Related: Just want party bag filler ideas? Browse my list of the best junk-free fillers

A selection of kids party gifts that you can give out as alternatives to kids party bags


If you’ve been looking for things to give out instead of party bags at your child’s birthday party, you will love some of the clever and cute party bag alternatives I’ve put together.


My favourite budget-friendly party favour hack is to buy a book set and divide the books up for individual party favours.

If you’ve got the time and the inclination, you could gift wrap each book for an extra flourish. Here are three box sets that are super popular with Mums Make Lists readers for use as party favours.

  1. Mr. Men Complete Collection Box Set (48 books)
    £239.52 £31.95

    There are 48 books in the set, which makes it great value for money.

    Amazon Buy from Argos
    02/19/2024 01:53 am GMT
  2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
    $69.95 $36.30

    The Diary of a Wimpy Kid is super popular for eight-year-olds and upwards.

    Amazon Waterstones
    02/19/2024 01:53 am GMT
  3. Horrid Henry the Complete Story Collection

    This box set of 30 books is ridiculously good value.

    Buy from Amazon
    02/18/2024 03:33 pm GMT
  4. Hairy Maclary and Friends: 10 Kids Picture Book Bundle

    Hairy Maclary is a much-loved kids' favourite. This ten book bundle is great value for breaking up as individual party favours for kids.

    The Works


These cute little keepsake tins from Cotton Twist can be personalised with each child’s name and a message. They are perfect for kids to keep little treasures in.

You can buy the tins empty and give them as they are. Buy them empty and then fill them with sweets or you can buy them prefilled with chocolates.

  1. Pastel Keepsake Tins
    £4.50 each (at time of publication)

    Choose from eight pastel illustrations.

  2. Character Keepsake Tins
    £4.50 each (at time of publication)

    Choose from 12 character, hairstyle and colour options.



Journaling is a great way to encourage kids to write when they spend so much of their time on screens. So, giving journals instead of party bags is a great way to please both kids and their parents.

My ten-year-old daughter received a gorgeous All About Me journal as a party favour and started writing in it immediately. This journal is now a favourite party favour idea with Mums Make Lists readers.

The You Are Awesome journal is another good one. It’s full of fun stuff to help each kid to be awesome!

  1. The You Are Awesome Journal
    £7.99 £6.49

    This journal is full of life hacks, tasks and challenges.

    Amazon Waterstones
    02/18/2024 04:33 pm GMT
  2. All About Me Journal
    £7.99 £5.59

    The journal is packed with quizzes, fill-in sections, doodle pages and activities.

    Amazon Waterstones
    02/18/2024 04:33 pm GMT
  3. Hey Girl! Empowering Journal for girls

    An empowering that helps kids develop gratitude and mindfulness feels like a lovely thoughtful favour to give.

    02/19/2024 03:18 am GMT
  4. Happy Confident Me Journal
    £13.99 £12.05

    This is a lovely positive journal with ten week's worth of journaling to help kids develop a positive growth mindset. All the buzz words in one journal!!

    02/19/2024 03:23 am GMT
  5. Boy, You are Strong! A Mindfulness Journal for Boys

    This is a super journal for boys, in an always-on-techy world, it's great to have something that calmly encourages mindfulness and confidence.

    02/19/2024 03:29 am GMT


Girls in particular seem to love a notebook to doodle and write their thoughts in or to use for homework. There are some really cute looking notebooks around and they usually don’t cost very much, so they make a great cost-effective party favour.

  1. Johnlewis
    £8 (at time of publication)

    This is a really cute notebook really does have a positive vibe and 240 pages to fill with doodles and thoughts.

    John Lewis
  2. Personalised Notepad Book
    £9.99 (at time of publication)

    This cute notebook has 50 blank pages and can be personalised for each party guest. There is a optional small extra charge for lined paper.



Three and four-year-olds LOVE stickers, and sticker books are a great way to keep the stickers off of furniture, so fellow parents love them too!

Here are some of the loveliest sticker books around for little kids.

  1. First Sticker Book Jungle
    £4.99 £4.49

    This was literally the first sticker book my daughter had and oh how she loved it! There are 100 plus stickers and an array of jungle scenes to get to work on.

    Amazon Waterstones
    02/19/2024 03:53 am GMT
  2. Galt Toys Sticker Fun Pad

    There are 12 pages to stick and restick the 300 reusable stickers in this cute Galt sticker pad.

    02/19/2024 03:59 am GMT
  3. Little People, BIG DREAMS Sticker Activity Book

    The Little People Big Dreams series is utterly delightful and super popular, so this activity book with 100 stickers will go down very well as a party favour. It's recommended for kids aged 4-7.

    Amazon Kidly
    02/19/2024 04:13 am GMT
  4. Magical Shiny Sticker Art (Mosaic Sticker by Numbers)
    £7.99 £5.95

    We've had a couple of these mosaic sticker books, they offer a different level of creativity for kids and are really rather beautiful. This unicorn book will be a winner for many kids' parties and the dinosaur version is also really gorgeous.

    02/19/2024 04:18 am GMT


I know that sweets/candy can be a little controversial, but it’s hard to deny that it always goes down well with kids!! Prefilled also equals TIME-SAVING, so what’s not to love?!

So, if you are happy to risk a post-party parental WhatsApp tirade, how about thrilling little party guests by giving them a party cone choc full of goodies or yummy special treat?

The Little Lulubell boutique on Notonthehighstreet has the most gorgeous prefilled party cones and keepsake tins.

  1. Pre Filled Party Cone
    £4.95 each (at time of publication)

    You can add a thank you note so they double thank you. NB: Minimum order of 15.

  2. Unicorn Coated Oreos
    £7.25 (at time of publication)

    There are two hand-decorated unicorn icing-coated Oreo cookies in each gift box.

  3. Personalised Treat Pots
    £4.95 each (at time of publication)

    The lid has enough space for a name and a few more party details.

  4. Gingerbread Dinosaurs
    £16.99 for ten (at time of publication)

    Each cute dino is individually wrapped. Super cost-effective!

  5. Retro TV Candy Treat Box
    £5.99 (at time of publication)

    These treat boxes are retro style and contain all the penny sweets from yesteryear, so kids will have to fight to keep their parents' hands out!!

    Wicked Uncle


Grow-your-own kits are delightful alternatives to party bags. They are perfect for kids ages five years and older.

  1. Wild Scenes Grow and Play
    £12.99 (at time of publication)

    Grow a habitat for these endangered species using real seeds - and know you're supporting a wonderful wildlife charity.

  2. Grow Your Own Mini Magical Garden
    £8.50 (at time of publication)

    This kit comes complete with pop-up unicorns. What's not to love?!

  3. Chia-saurus Rex Planter
    £15.99 (at time of publication)

    Cover him in the seeds provided, add water and sunlight and watch the Saurus grow.



Craft and baking kits are great to give out instead of party bags. You can even use them as an activity at the party, and the party guests get to take their creations home.

  1. Tap a Picture Art Kit - Baker Ross
    £6.95 (at time of publication)

    This corkboard set is a quirky way to let kids create their own scenes and patterns.

    Board size 22cm. Age 5+.

    Baker Ross
  2. Make Your Own Model Aeroplane Kit
    £3.50 (at time of publication)

    This model aeroplane kit is a lovely party favour for boys and girls who love planes and crafting.

  3. Colour-In Pencil Case

    This pencil case can be coloured in, washed, and then coloured-in again. AND used for storing pencils!!

    02/18/2024 11:54 pm GMT
  4. Make Your Own Paper Birdcage
    £12 (at time of publication)

    It's SO EASY to make; there's no need for glue or scissors and it's made from recycled cardboard.

  5. Melissa & Doug Butterfly Necklace Craft Bead Set
    £12.99 £12.34 (£0.10 / count)

    120 pretty wooden beads and five cords for making wonderfully creative necklaces.

    02/18/2024 09:58 pm GMT
  6. Chocolate Biscuit Mix Personalised Thank You Gifts
    £6 (at time of publication)

    This chocolate biscuit mix comes with easy-to-follow instructions. The recipient just needs to add butter to make a batch of scrumptious biscuits.
  7. Make Your Own Personalised Letter Keyring Kit
    £3.95 (at time of publication)

    Ideal for kids aged 3+, this kit allows kids to design and customise their own fashion accessory, personalised with the letter of their name.



This Write Your Own Storybook is another party gift that my daughter was given at a birthday party. It’s a delightful book that helps kids flex their imaginations and write stories.

Write Your Own Story Book
£8.99 £8.15

There are tips, tasks, and story-theme prompts to help kids write amazing stories.

Amazon Waterstones
02/18/2024 09:54 pm GMT


I am fond of portable games kids can take when travelling or playing at the table when eating out. 

Here are some little games that work really well as party favours. 

  1. PASS THE PIGS Dice Game

    The aim is to be the first to 100 points by throwing the pigs and seeing how they land. All the kids I know LOVE it. 

    Amazon Argos
  2. Dobble
    £13.99 £9.99

    A speedy observation game, where players have to race to match the identical symbol between cards.

    Amazon Boots
    02/20/2024 04:01 pm GMT
  3. Marvel Universe Playing Cards
    £3.50 £3.17

    Why go for classic playing cards when you can have Marvel playing cards?!

    Amazon Waterstones
    02/18/2024 10:53 pm GMT


Now, this is super old school, but also a great way to double up on party decorations and favours. 

Use the balloons to decorate the party space and then hand one out to each child with a slice of cake in a napkin as they leave the party. The key is to go for fancy balloons if you really want the wow factor. 

Jungle Animal Foil Balloons
£8.99 £6.99 (£0.20 / count)

There are five foil balloons that can be filled with helium. This is the helium that I suggest using.

02/18/2024 11:03 pm GMT


Parents will always appreciate their kids receiving something to keep them gainfully occupied. There are some brilliant art, craft and science kits around that kids will be excited to receive as they leave a party.

  1. Top Banana Set Of Mini Stamps
    £6.95 (at time of publication)

    This set features a bunch of brightly coloured icons including ice cream, rollerskates, cherries and hearts. Plus, two water-based ink pads in turquoise and pink.

    Rex London
  2. Set of 4 Fingerpaints
    £7.74 £7.10

    This set of four fingerpaints is a great party gift for toddlers.

    02/19/2024 12:14 am GMT
  3. 4 Pots Of Glittery Play Dough
    £10 (at time of publication)

    What is better than play dough? Glittery play dough!! You can buy this gorgeous Djeco play dough in sets of four pots. Give every child a set, or divide them up, pop each pot in a cellophane bag, tie it with a fancy bow and give as individual party favours.

    Buy from Kidly
  4. 16 Colours of Modelling Clay (3 sets per pack)

    These modelling clay kits have 16 bright colours. With three sets in every pack, they make great-value party gifts.

    02/19/2024 12:33 am GMT
  5. Bubble Lab Science Kit

    How about this as a great alternative to simply giving a bottle of bubbles? It's a complete bubble-making lab.

    Buy from Amazon Buy from Waterstones
    02/19/2024 12:39 am GMT
  6. 4M Lemon Clock

    These lemon clock-making sets are great little science projects and great STEM party favours.

    Buy Now
    02/19/2024 12:48 am GMT


The water bottle and insulated cup trend is still going strong. So here are some really lovely ones that would make great party favours.

  1. Personalised Stanley Style Insulated Cup
    £15.99 (at time of publication)

    Given it would take a very generous budget to bestow cult trend Stanley Cups on every party guest, these Stanley style cups will surely go down a treat as an alternative... and what's more, they can be personalised.

  2. Personalised Sports Bottle
    £9.95 (at time of publication)

    These personalised sports water bottles are great value and would work well for a sport-themed birthday party.
  3. OLDLEY Insulated Water Bottle with Straw

    Oldley does some super cute designs on their stainless steel water bottles, there are rainbows, unicorns, racing cars and this lovely transport design.

    02/19/2024 04:34 am GMT
  4. Contigo Gizmo Flip Autospout Kids Water Bottle

    Contigo water bottles are great for younger kids, they are BPA-free and come in several fab designs, including a dancer, superhero, nautical and dinosaur.



I’ve always got my eye out for really special things that catch my eye that I know kids will love. Here are a couple of my favourite finds.

  1. 4 x Large Special Effect Bath Bombs

    These bath bombs are super duper charged with special effects. They're also eco-friendly and the colours won't wreck baths!

    02/19/2024 12:43 am GMT
  2. Japanese Paper Balloons
    From £15 (at time of publication)

    Each balloon is individually packaged. PERFECT for ready-made party favours.

    There are sets of four or sets of 10.



Grow your own seeds gifts make a lovely alternative party favour for kids of all ages, plus they’re the gift that keeps on giving. 

  1. Grow Your Own Sunflower Kit

    The kit is eco-friendly with a bamboo seed tray and peat-free compost.

    02/18/2024 11:33 pm GMT
  2. Pre-Filled Bee Party Bags (Set of 10)
    £39.99 (£4.00 / count)

    Each party bag contains a pulp paper pot, a compost pellet, a wildflower seed ball, a personalised 'Bee Happy' tag, a leaflet with instructions and interesting information about the components, and a bee-shaped chocolate treat.

    02/18/2024 10:43 pm GMT

Or… if you have time, how about putting together your own grow your own gift?

Grow Your Own Seed Kit
Yield: Seed Kit Party Favour


Here’s what you’ll need to create a set of beautifully presented grow-your-own seed kit party favours.


This is a list of all the items you will need to assemble some super cute seed kits for party favours.

    • Seeds – cress seeds are a great idea for little kids because it’s super easy to grow cress, AND it grows quickly.  Pansy seeds are a lovely idea for older kids, as are peppers
    • Terracotta pots – I love these from Hobbycraft because they’re classic and great value for money. 
    • Paper napkins – napkins are the perfect size to wrap seeds in, whether they’re in a packet or loose.
    • Ribbon – I’ve got a thing for grosgrain ribbons for gifts.
    • Paper gift tags –  I suggest using traditional paper tags because they come with a tie and are the perfect size for writing kids’ names. 

    I hope you’ve found something that will work for your child’s party.


    But what if you do want to give out party bags? What can you put in them that isn’t just junk?

    In fact, I’m a little obsessed with finding creative, unique, junk-free party bag fillers and party favours for kids. So browse the complete archive of Kids Party Favours posts for inspiration.


    Monday 24th of January 2022

    These are super cute. Love them!!

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