Toddlers are always sad when the birthday party is over and it’s time to leave. The ritual of handing out goodie bags at the conclusion is a way to ease the sorrow of saying goodbye. Goodie bags are like the icing on the cake. Kids love to see what’s inside the goodie bags and usually can’t wait until they get to the car to take a peek. For the host, it can be tough to decide what to put in toddler goodie bags and adds party-planning anxiety.
Parents walk a fine line between filling goodie bags with items toddlers enjoy and things other moms and dads will appreciate, all while keeping the price tag budget-friendly. We have tricks to come up with birthday goodie bag ideas for toddlers that are fun, useful, and low stress for you.
Skip the candy
Parents are never thrilled when they see goodie bags filled with candy. Kids are already on a sugar overload from party cake and juice. Oftentimes, goodie bags packed with sweet treats get tossed and end up being a money-waster for the party host. If you want to do an edible party favor, head over to your local bakery and see if they can make an oversized cookie to fit the party’s theme — like a soccer-ball cookie, for example. Have the cookies wrapped in a decorative sealed bag for a cute and tasty take-home snack for another day.
Skip the prepackaged party goodies
It’s tempting to hit the local party store for those multiple packs of plastic tops, sunglasses, and other doodads for convenience. Just like candy, these items often end up in the trash bin and are a money-waster. A better idea is to try to find useful and fun items toddlers can enjoy at their home when the party is over.
What to put in toddler goodie bags
The best goodie bag items are practical things toddlers will get use from — gifts that keep on giving are the best kind. If the party has a sports theme like soccer, a size 1 soccer ball is ideal. For summer parties or anything with a water theme, rubber ducks are perfect. Rubber duckies can be used at bath time or in the baby pool. Bubble wands are super fun any time of year and are a good fit for toddler goodie bags.
Arts-and-crafts items such as crayons, markers, and watercolor paint sets are great goodie bag fillers. Add in a small coloring book, and you’ve got a super-fun goodie bag. Another popular goodie bag stuffer is Play-Doh. Play-Doh is relatively inexpensive, and toddlers love to play with it. Plastic cookie cutters and Play-Doh make an awesome goodie bag combo that definitely won’t be a money-waster.
It’s all in the presentation
When putting together a fun birthday goodie bag for toddlers, a bright and inviting presentation makes all the difference. If you’re going to use an actual bag, choose one fitting the party’s theme or take a plain white or colored bag and jazz it up with stamps or stickers. Otherwise, try to come up with goodie bag containers that can also be used for storage or play. Arts-and-crafts or dollar stores are great places to try when looking for multiple containers at budget-friendly prices.
Beach buckets are an excellent choice because they can hold goodie bag stuffers like bubbles and rubber ducks while also being a fun toddler plaything. Pails, pencil cases, and plastic baskets are perfect picks for goodie bag containers for arts and craft supplies or Play-Doh. The containers are attractive and double as storage for the craft items at home. Water bottles are another goodie bag container that will get a lot of use. Fill them with bubbles, squishy balls, or a Hacky Sack.
When using water bottles or beach buckets as stand-alone goodie bags, toddlers will be excited to get a new bucket for the beach or a cool water bottle.
Be sure to personalize
Toddlers are just starting to learn their letters and recognizing their name. So, they really do love seeing their name written on things. Writing a toddler’s name on a beach bucket or water bottle also helps with name-recognition skills. No matter what you decide to use for a goodie bag — whether it’s a bag, pail, bucket, basket, or bottle — take the extra time to personalize each one with the child’s name using a colorful permanent or paint marker. If you are pressed for time and can’t personalize, check out sites like Esty. You will certainly be able to find personalized items available in multiples.
Goodie bags are a birthday party staple. If you are putting time and money into creating an attractive and creative goodie bag for your toddler’s birthday party, you want the guests to actually enjoy and have fun with the contents. So, skip the candy and those prepackaged party-store fillers, and think about items your toddler enjoys like balls, bubbles, Play-Doh, and crayons. The best goodie bags are the ones that keep on giving.
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