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Party bags have evolved from being a slice of birthday cake and a balloon handed to kids at the end of a birthday party into goodie bags full of loot.
They are possibly the most anticipated element of a party for the kids at the party and equally one of the biggest headaches for the parents throwing the party.
Here’s a quick parents’ guide to party bags, what you can do to fill them without breaking the bank or contributing to yet more plastic landfill and what you can do instead.
DO YOU HAVE TO GIVE OUT PARTY BAGS AT KIDS PARTIES?
It’s a brave parent who decides to simply not give out party bags. But it is an option. Especially if you know the parents of the kids well enough.
An alternative is to give out a single party favour, an idea that has increased in popularity over the last few years and works well for kids from age 8 upwards.
Another clever way to deal with party bags is to stock up on kids craft kits that can be used as a craft activity during the party and then double-up as the party favour that the kids leave with at the end.
This is a great way to cut down on time spent preparing for a party and the cost of having to provide entertainment and party bags.
WHY DO WE GIVE PARTY BAGS AT THE END OF A PARTY?
Party bags, loot bags, goodie bags, lolly bags… whatever you call them, they are most definitely a thing!
So where did the whole party bag thing spring from and why has it become such a thing?
The whole idea of party bags is for them to be a lovely way of saying thank you to the party guests for coming along and bringing a gift.
But like many child-focused things, party bags have become a bit of an industry in themselves and can end up costing parents a fortune on top of hosting a party.
But if you are clever you can manage to put together really lovely party bags that don’t cost the earth (in more ways than one).
HOW MANY THINGS SHOULD YOU PUT IN A KIDS PARTY BAG?
Of course there are no laws around how many things you should put into a party bag. However, the consensus from speaking to other parents and my own experiences of hosting kids parties is that you should aim for around 5 fillers.
The party bag fillers don’t all have to be the same value, in fact I’d suggest you go for two higher value items and then supplement with much cheaper items like sweet treats.
WHAT IS A GOOD SELECTION TO PUT IN A BAG?
Sometimes it’s the little things that tip you over the edge when planning a kids’ party and having the brain bandwidth to come up with what to put in the party bags can feel like a complete grind.
So how about creating a mix of a toy or game, some bubbles (name me a child who doesn’t like bubbles…) something for them to stick, either on themselves (tattoos always go down well) or stickers and then some sweets or a sweet treat.
SOME USEFUL KIDS PARTY BAG TIPS
- Simply Don’t do party bags. It’s not the law to have them. But you have to be brave…
- Set an overall budget and work backwards from it to avoid overspending
- Buy sets of things and divide them up. Book box sets are brilliant for this – the Mr Men box set is a real favourite for doing this with Mums Make Lists readers – bulk sets of Play-Doh pots also work well
- Aim for around five fillers of varying value per party bag. Two higher value items and then three cheaper items
- On a tight budget? Go for the classic party-bag filler of a slice of birthday cake wrapped in a party napkin as the biggest filler
- Try and avoid cheap plastic future landfill. Here’s a list of eco-friendly ideas for party bag fillers
- Short on time (or will!!)- buy pre-filled kids party bags
PARTY BAG FILLERS
If you are going ahead with party bags and you’re desperate for an easy way to work out how to fill them, take a look at these lists of party bag filler ideas that I’ve put together.
All the posts are shoppable, so you can literally find what you like the look of, click and buy. Job done.
Luci is the founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, she has used her experience as a mum to create useful guides to organising family life. During that time, she has found the most joy in creating lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.