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Create the ultimate goodie bags for your toddler’s birthday party

Need goodie bags for your toddler's birthday party? Try these awesome ideas

Four red goodie bags
Max Fischer / Pexels

Hosting a birthday party for your toddler is a fun way to celebrate the milestone of them getting older. Getting together with your closest family and friends is fun, but the preparations for the party can also be stressful. Parents know that planning for and buying the perfect toddler birthday goodie bags is almost as important as planning the party! The ritual of handing out toddler birthday goodie bags at the end of the birthday party isn’t necessary, but many parents like to give their party guests something small to go home with as a token of their appreciation. Goodie bags are like the icing on the cake and kids love to see what’s inside. Usually, they can’t wait until they get to the car to take a peek.

Parents walk a fine line between filling goodie bags with items toddlers enjoy and parents will appreciate while keeping the price tag budget-friendly. Here are some tricks and ideas for toddler birthday goodie bag ideas that are fun, useful, and low-stress for you.

Toddler birthday party decorations
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Tips for the best toddler birthday goodie bags

Skip the candy. Parents are never thrilled when they see goodie bags filled with candy because their 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 pre-packaged party goodies too. 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 homes when the party is over.

child playing with playdough
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What to put in toddler goodie bags

The best goodie bag items are practical things toddlers will use. Gifts that keep on giving are the best kind and are easy to find with a little creativity. 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. The best part is that most of these items are low-cost, so they won’t break your party budget.

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.

unicorn birthday party
Arina P Habich / Shutterstock

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 crafts supplies or Play-Doh. The containers are attractive and double as storage for 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.

Nautical birthday cake at themed party
Mouaad Jaaidi / Shutterstock

Be sure to personalize

Toddlers are just starting to learn their letters and recognize their names, so, they really do love seeing them 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 Etsy, where you will certainly be able to find personalized items.

Toddler girl celebrating summer backyard birthday
Natalia Kirichenko / Shutterstock

Timing is everything

Kids will be kids which means they can get excited when it comes time for the birthday child to open their presents. This can often lead to some tears and frustration because toddlers are often too young to understand why they don’t get to open presents with the birthday child. Toddler birthday goodie bags are often given at the end of the party, but they don’t have to be.

Some parents opt to give out the goodie bags to their guests at the same time the birthday child opens their gifts, that way everyone feels special and gets to open something at the same time. If you have some extra time on your hands you could even wrap a few of the goodie bag gifts so every child gets to open something. The kids get to enjoy their toddler birthday goodie bags for the rest of the party and the birthday child gets to enjoy opening their presents with their friends.

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 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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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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