No More Party Goody Bags!No More Party Goody Bags!

Talk about a waste of money and teaching all the wrong lessons - goody bags just about take the cake. Since when do we need a 'bribe' to get kids to attend a birthday party?

My guess is it's since the party supply people realized they could get us to spend a good chunk of money on their plastic toys that no one ever plays with and candy that the kids shouldn't eat. At a minimum of about $2 per child, and often way more, goody bags are a birthday party expense you can easily eliminate. Spend your money on more important stuff - like the games to keep the kids engaged and having fun.

Granted- it's not easy to be the first to break the goody bag tradition, but you can do it without spending much money. If your party group would enjoy a craft activity as part of the party, then you're all set and can send their completed craft home as the party favor. But not all groups like crafts: boys and older kids are generally not into this sort of activity.

The next best alternative is the Do-It-Yourself party favor, but it doesn't need to be time consuming and a pain in the neck. Share the job with your birthday child and you'll even get some nice 'together time' out of the project. Any 'hands on' type chore can be done in front of the TV some evening, and the job will be painless.

Save your money, and break the goody bag tradition, with any of these 3 quick do-it-yourself party favors:

Play-date Give Away: These party guests are your child's friends, so you know they'll be around your house in the future. Chances are pretty good that you'll be taking these play-date duo's to the movies, for ice cream, ice skating, to the park, having a sleep-over... you get the idea. Pretty these activities up on a card you print out on your computer, even wrap the cards up with wrapping paper scraps, and you've got a delightful party favor. You can personalize the cards as you print them. Better still, since it becomes a simple activity to end your party, make it a grab bag!

Picture Perfect: You'll want photos from your child's party, so double duty them as party favors. Kids love pictures of themselves, and the sillier the better. Take a few digital frames of each guest with the birthday child, maybe wearing silly hats or striking a silly pose. Your party helper can choose the best of each guest, print them out, and glue them into you ready-made paper frames. Design and print out your frames ahead of time with WORD, and cut them down to standard photo frame size, so they're all ready to go. It costs a little extra, but using photo paper for printing the pictures really adds to it, and you can put 2 or 3 on each sheet so it's not so expensive.

More Show than Substance: They say that presentation is everything. Make your party favor so pretty that it matters little what's inside. A single chocolate candy in a reusable origami box, perhaps including printed instructions for making the box, is an inexpensive but delightful party favor. The internet is full of instructions for making origami containers, and you can make them with your birthday child. You don't need to buy origami paper if the container you make doesn't have too many folds: just cut your normal sized computer paper into an 8 ½" square. You can even print your paper with colorful clip art appropriately placed once you know where to place it for the folded container.

I think you'll agree that these 3 inexpensive party favors are a whole lot nicer than those plastic bags full of junk. Put on your do-it-yourself hat and you'll come up with many more party favor ideas that cost next to nothing.
by Leslie Lyons
References and Bibliography
Leslie Lyons is the Birthday Party Games Lady, selling down-loadable party packages for kids birthday parties for ages 6 to 13. Her mission is to make these annual celebrations stress-free and inexpensive for time constrained parents while still providing special parties that are good fun for the kids. To that end, you can find 4 free kids party favors to print on her website.
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