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Best Goodie-Bag Ideas For Toddlers And Preschoolers

With all the planning it takes to coordinate a spectacular toddler birthday party for your little one and his pals, the goodie bag can feel like a bit of an afterthought. But stuffing a favor bag with trinkets that self-destruct after five minutes is a money-waster for you and disappointing for the critters. Wow them instead with these smart suggestions for what to put in a goodie bag.

Bypass junk. The prepackaged favors sold at party stores seem like a great deal: 12 sunglasses for $2.99! But they’re inexpensive because they’re junk and will probably break before your wee guests are buckled into their car seats. And the toys that do survive are the ones that aren’t fun to begin with. Instead of relying on cheap plastic filler, choose one or two small, better-crafted toys to put in your goodie bags, like an activity book with a colorful marker or a LEGO miniset.

Craft together. A well-thought-out party favor can be a two-fer — something for your preschooler’s playmates to take home as well as an activity at the party itself. Some great goodie-bag ideas: Decorate T-shirts or kid-sized aprons, paint wooden birdhouses or jewelry boxes, or create wee wizard (or fairy) wands. Then when the party’s over, place their craft into a gift bag (hey, they can decorate those too!).

Skip the sugary goodie-bag treats. From the snacks to the juice to the cake and ice cream, sugar often plays a starring role at birthday parties. So cut candy from your goodie-bag must-have list — you’ll save money and you’ll save the other parents from having to deal with their cranky cuties’ sugar crash. If you need to pad the goodie bag, try a healthier snack, like a chocolate-milk box or a mini-pack of graham crackers.

Give them something to do. The best gifts are ones that keep kids occupied over time, so when you’re searching for what to put in a goodie bag, think in terms of longevity. Art supplies — stickers, cool pencils and erasers, crayons, markers, watercolor sets, coloring books — are all kid-pleasers. So are large balls, notepads, puzzles, and books.

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