Party bags, party favors, or goody bags – whatever you call them where you live – are little bags packed full of treats and other goodies that give your party guests something to take home with them once the day’s festivities are over.
They’ve long been a staple of kid’s parties, and we all remember both receiving them and all the excitement they brought, being the cherry on the cake to a fantastic day of food, fun, and play.
From coloring books, pens, and crayons, to masks and even mini torches, we’ve created a round-up of what we think are some of the best picks to include in your party bags that won’t break the bank.
As well as our picks, we’ve also included a few messy, loud, and dangerous choices you should avoid, making it easier to put together the perfect keepsake from your little one’s big day for all their friends.
12 excellent party bag fillers, and 6 to avoid
So, let’s jump right into it – here are 12 excellent party filler ideas for your next party, as well as our list of 6 items that are to avoid.
1. Dinosaur figures
If you’re hosting a dinosaur party, you can’t not have a couple of dino figures in your party bags – it’s pretty much expected, and your guests will be pretty disappointed if they don’t take home a few with them.
The great thing about this pick is that party fillers don’t get much cheaper. You’re not going to be buying expensive, hyper-realistic collectibles like Schleich dinosaur figures – you’ll be looking at the kind that you buy in bulk.
You can buy these figures by the bag full, with a 100+ piece set setting you back no more than $10-15 bucks.
2. Coloring pencils or crayons
If you’re looking for party bag gifts that will be sure to be used – then coloring pens and crayons are an excellent choice. Kids love to draw and color in, and sets of these items are inexpensive and plentiful – being available in individually packaged, bulk sets for no more than a few dollars.
It’s always best to avoid pens – they have great potential to be much messier than pencils or crayons – often leaving permanent stains all over walls, tables, and other furniture.
If you decide to go for pencils over crayons, you might always want to include a sharpener and eraser to complete the set.
3. Coloring books
You can’t go wrong with dinosaur coloring books – kids love to color, and this pick will keep them entertained for hours, without any mess or noise – the parents of your little guests will be thankful for this choice!
This also makes an excellent option if you opted to include our last pick – coloring pencils or crayons – in your party filter bag, with these two options being the perfect match.
If your party is on a tight budget, and you’ve got access to a printer at home – you could always substitute a coloring book for pages. There are plenty of great, free dinosaur coloring pages to be found online with a simple Google search.
4. Ink stampers
Like pencils, crayons, and coloring books – dinosaur ink stampers another good creative pick, giving your party-goers an activity that is light on mess and noise, making them the perfect party bag choice.
This filler is great and affordable – you can buy self-inking stampers in sets of 24 for no more than $10 a box, or less than 50 cents each.
Whatever you do – don’t opt for a traditional ink pad – these are arguably one of the worst options when it comes to stains and making a mess. Always stick with self-inking stampers, as these are designed specifically to avoid these problems.
Kids love stickers! Tablets, books, and even their dinosaur toys – they’re great for customizing pretty much anything.
Perfect for themed parties, you can get stickers of pretty much everything. So, whether you’re hosting a dinosaur, unicorn, or any other themed party, there will be many excellent sticker set options to choose from.
They’re also super cheap, being offered in bulk sets for just a couple of bucks, giving you more than enough to stuff a few dinosaur sticker sheets in each of your party bags – enough to keep each child occupied for a while.
6. Party masks
There’s not much that kids love more than dressing up – whether as their favorite superhero or superhero, dress up makes creative, imaginative play all the more exciting and engaging for little children.
This is another excellent option that you can pick up for next to no money in bulk, making them pretty affordable – great for anyone creating their party bags on a budget.
These masks also make a great alternative to face paint for parties, which can be great if you lack the art skills required to pull this activity off – as many of us do.
Balloons are another perfect party item that no party bag would be without. They’re cheap, come in all sorts of colors and shapes – with plenty of dinosaur balloons on the market that will match your dino-themed party.
And let’s face it, if you’re hosting a party, you’ve probably got plenty of these leftover after decorating – meaning keeping a few aside to go in party bags is going to have no additional cost, making this pick a no-brainer.
Always go for latex balloons, avoiding foil ones – they’re cheaper anyway and don’t come with the electrical hazard that foil balloons present.
8. Mini torches
Perfect if you’re hosting a sleepover party – mini torches are another great party bag filter option. And it doesn’t matter if you’re not, as kids love these torches just as much at home, making shadow puppets at bedtime as they do at a sleepover.
These are another good budget pick, being sold separately or in bulk – with decent options available priced at around a buck each.
Just make sure to check before you buy whether or not the mini torches you pick come with batteries – the last thing you want is a batch of useless, unpowered torches for your party.
9. Plush toys
You can’t really go wrong with plush toys – they’re soft, cuddly, and won’t make any noise or mess-making them a great pick as party bag fillers.
The trick here is to pick out inexpensive options – thankfully, there are plenty of affordable plush dinosaur toys on the market to pick from – either bought on their own or, to maximize the bang for your buck, pick up a set.
While you’re not going to be sending everyone home with a high-end TY flippables dinosaur toy or a 4ft tall giant dinosaur plush, there are plenty of low-cost picks on the market that are reasonably good quality that won’t break the bank.
10. Puzzles or Jigsaws
Whether you’re throwing a party for toddlers or older kids, puzzles and jigsaws are a great option.
If you’re hosting a party for older kids and intend to give out your bags during the party, you might want to consider multi-player mini-games – as these can double up as an activity.
However, stick with puzzles or jigsaws if your party-goers will be taking them home with them, giving them a fun, solo activity they can complete independently.
11. Yo Yo’s
It’s surprising just how relevant Yo Yo’s still are – they never seem to go out of fashion. For as long as I can remember, they’ve been a staple of kid’s party bags, being an excellent, low-cost item.
They can be incredibly entertaining – especially if you’re young and have yet to master how to use them. As we’ve already mentioned, they’re super cheap – you can pick up a bag of these things for no more than a few bucks.
You’ll want to avoid overly complicated options – stick with basic Yo Yo’s. Avoid professional ones used for tricks – they’re more expensive, and I doubt your little party guests are going to be “walking the dog” or pulling off a “gravity pull” anytime soon.
12. Key chains and charms
While your party guests are unlikely to have any keys yet, dinosaur key chains are a great choice, as they can be attached to just about anything – making them an excellent, cute way to make a dinosaur backpack or other item their own.
You can get key chains in just about any theme – not just dinosaurs. So, whatever party you intend on hosting, there are a great range of these nifty little keepsakes to choose from.
And just like plush toys – there are plenty of cheap, soft, and cute dinosaur key rings to choose from – many of which retail for no more than a couple of bucks.
6 things you’ll probably want to avoid
Just as important as picking out the right items is knowing what to avoid.
As you’ll see from the types of product that follows, generally, you want to avoid anything messy, noisy, or that has the potential to be just plain dangerous.
So, here we go – 6 things that should be avoided when assembling your party bags.
While slime is something all kids love – it can be a nightmare to clean up if it gets dropped in the back of the car on the way home, or worse still, on a carpet.
Sure, you can have slime at your party – with adult supervision, of course. But when it comes to picking out items for your party bag fillers, avoid dinosaur slime at all costs.
2. Bubble wands
Bubble wands are great, but if they leak, they can be messy – and something the parents of your little party guests won’t thank you for. Many also play music – which will be sure to irritate when the thing is lost down the back of the sofa turned on.
Like slime – dinosaur bubble wands are great for use at the party – especially if you’re hosting in your backyard. They’re just best avoided as a party filler, both for the mess potential and their noisy nature.
3. Party whistles, recorders, and other instruments
No – just no. Unless you want all the parents of your kid’s little friends to hate you, avoid anything used to create loud, irritating noises.
In general, you want to avoid anything that makes a load of noise – not just whistles and instruments. Our previous no-no – bubble wands – are a great example of another loud, irritating toy that no parent will thank you for.
Recorders get a special mention here. We all remember them from our days back in junior school – but let me ask you – have any of us ever heard anything played on a recorder that wasn’t 100% grating, awful noise? That’s right – we didn’t think so.
4. Projectiles, flying toys, or bouncy balls
Gliders, toy rockets, blasters, bouncy balls – or pretty much anything that is thrown, launched, or propelled, is a bad idea.
These options can be dangerous – not just to children but also to the interior of your party guest’s homes.
Generally, if it’s something that – if used indoors – has a pretty high likelihood of doing damage, then give it a miss. You don’t want the guilt of being partially responsible for someone’s big screen tv having an “accident” thanks to one of your party bag picks.
5. Face paints, or kind of any paint
Face painting is a great party activity – especially for a dino-party – as your little guests will love nothing more than being done up as their favorite dinosaur. But keep it at the party – don’t put it in the goody bag to take home.
This goes not just for face paint, but really any kind of paint. Like slime, it can be incredibly messy, and if parents don’t know that their kid has it – this can be a recipe for disaster.
The safer option – and one of our earlier picks – are party masks. They’re just as good and don’t pose any of the same risks to carpets and upholstery as paints do.
6. Dinosaur eggs
We’re talking specifically about those dino dig eggs – the ones, usually sold by the dozen, that you hammer and chisel away at until you get to the mini dinosaur figure it contains within.
While they make a great party activity – in fact, they’re arguably one of the best for a dino-theme party – they’re pretty messy, so best avoided.
There are other options you could consider – provided they aren’t the excavation-style dinosaur egg toys. This could include all-plastic dinosaur egg toys that contain figures or mini construction sets – just avoid the dino dig ones, and you’ll be ok.
Well, there you have it, our picks and ideas on what – and what not – to put in your party bags.
While it’s tempting to go overboard, stuffing your bags until they’re overflowing with cheap, low-cost products – resist, instead pick out 3-4 good quality products to go with all the candy and cake.
It might sound obvious, but also remember to pick out age-appropriate items. If you’re hosting a party for toddlers, watch out for small parts that present a choking hazard, and if your party is for older kids, don’t pick out products designed for younger children.
Most importantly, it’s a party – make sure you and your little party guests have fun!