Birthday party favour ideas for kids under 8
August 6, 2009 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Birthday party favour ideas for kids under 8? I’m planning a party for my 5-year-old daughter. There will be about 18 girls and boys ranging in age from 4-8. What can I give them as party favours? I like to give one useful item rather than a goody bag filled with trinkets. I don’t want to spend more than $4 per favour. In the past I’ve given jigsaw puzzles, jump ropes, balls, Hot Wheels, and Polly Pockets.

We are hosting this party at a pretty pricey indoor playground, and I need to save where I can. But I do want to send the kids home with favours. I can get different favours for the girls and boys, but the average price should work out to $4 CDN or less.

Books are an option, but I don’t know where I could get nice-quality books for that price (and several of the same quantity).

I’m considering crayons and colouring books – but will those work for the 8 year olds?

Any other suggestions are welcome. The party is in 2 weeks, so I may have time to order online. Also, I’m fairly crafty so making the favours is not out of the question.
posted by yawper to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (35 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Er...books...I mean several of the same title.
posted by yawper at 10:17 AM on August 6, 2009

Silly Putty is the answer. Everyone loves Silly Putty.
posted by bondcliff at 10:20 AM on August 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

Oriental trading company!
posted by k8t at 10:20 AM on August 6, 2009

How about running a tombola/lucky dip? If you win your prize, it's much better than simply being handed it.

In my experience, most 5 year olds will like their gift just fine, but at $4, or even $10 it doesn't necessarily stand a great chance of competing with all the other toys they have.

Telling mom that they've "won" the prize, and letting them enjoy their moment of limelight in front of the other children is worth something in kids' currency, though.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:21 AM on August 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

For my daughter's fifth birthday a couple of months ago, we gave seed packets, along with small flowerpots and small bags of organic potting soil. Her name's Daisy, so there was a whole theme there, but you could choose any type of plant that suits your fancy.
posted by padraigin at 10:23 AM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

I love the idea of doing the tombola that Muffin Man suggested. Prize ideas that pop to mind for me include: yo-yos, kazoos, slinkys, paddleball, or silly putty. You don't have to make each prize unique, a few of each type would be fine. I think the coloring books would be too youthful for the older kids, but you could certainly include them among the mix.
posted by amelioration at 10:28 AM on August 6, 2009

Mix CDs. (Google free Star Wars mp3s for instance.)
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 10:30 AM on August 6, 2009

Best answer: Play-doh and a cookie cutter! Sixty (!) mini tubs of Play-doh are 14.99, 100 cookie cutters are 10.61. Definitely in your price range. Also, you could even make your own dough instead if you want, there are recipes online.
posted by misha at 10:31 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've never heard of a tombola? I looked it up on wiki and it appears to be a raffle, is that correct? I'm not sure that would work. You know how kids are at indoor'll be hard enough to gather them for cake! We're only at the playground for 2 hours, and they are going to want to maximize every minute of it. Sitting still to pay attention to a raffle will be difficult (remember the age group). Am I misundestanding it?
posted by yawper at 10:32 AM on August 6, 2009

Some kind of musical instruments? Oriental Trading Company has a 50-piece variety pack, or a few other options if you want to get all the same thing (whistles, kazzoos, etc.). Just give them to the kids on their way out...
posted by LolaGeek at 10:39 AM on August 6, 2009

A tombola is basically like a raffle, yes. If you wanted to do it, you could do something like hide the prizes behind something and make little envelopes with colored paper in, where a color related to a type of prize.

It would probably take 15-20 minutes to do, so if that isn't possible it may not be a good idea.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:44 AM on August 6, 2009

Squirt gun.
posted by Diablevert at 10:47 AM on August 6, 2009

Little bottles of bubble soap are crowd pleasers. Also seconding squirt guns.
posted by jquinby at 11:02 AM on August 6, 2009

Best answer: I have two children in your age range. Their favorite party favor: a flashlight (and it's useful!).
posted by Sassyfras at 11:02 AM on August 6, 2009 [4 favorites]

When i was small, my mum made hundreds of little origami jumping frogs in all sorts of different colours. We had a lot of fun with those.
posted by stillnocturnal at 11:14 AM on August 6, 2009

A word of caution about squirt guns: Even though most of us think they're harmless fun, a few parents consider them Toy Guns and will not allow their children to play with them. Even the ones that don't look like realistic guns are sometimes forbidden because OMFG they're still guns. These same parents will think you're horrible for giving out toy guns.

So just give then kids Silly Putty or Play Doe and let 'em make their own guns.
posted by bondcliff at 11:16 AM on August 6, 2009

You could put the tombola numbers on the bottom of paper plates, for cake. That way you can use it as an incentive for the cake gathering, too.
posted by Jilder at 11:19 AM on August 6, 2009

OH, and yes, i agree with jquinby - blowing bubbles never seems to get boring
posted by stillnocturnal at 11:19 AM on August 6, 2009

There is a party store in northish Mississauga that is an Oriental Trading outlet that has saved me a few times. If you want I can look it up (I know how to drive there but no idea of street names.) I've had great success there. If you are crafty look at getting the books/DVD called Kid Concoctions from the library because it has really clear instructions on how to make a tonne of really good crafts that kids love really cheaply (but they look nice, not thrown together). My five year old had his birthday party at a local park and I gave out Ribbon streamers from dollerama, army people with parachutes that you throw in the air, windmills .... and my mind is a blank - there was a couple of other things too. Other years I have given Eggs with playmobile people (bought at the playmobile outlet for $2 each on sale), ikea frames with foam decorations the children do themselves (about $2 a frame). If you had a photo printer with you and photographed each child as they arrived with your daughter you can print them out as they are playing to put in the frame, little webkinz are cheap and still popular, sparkly notebooks from the dollarstore (there is an awesome one in Oakville with a great selection...) with pencils, a large envelope with basic scrapbooking supplies - again from dollarama and I kept the cost to $4 per child, a sheet of stickers and a keychain in a bag would run about $3, lego sets if you can get them on sale, some dollar stores sell straw summer hats - buy a bunch of artifcial flowers and ribbons and use a low temp glue gun to decorate their hats (tight on the two hour timeline I know). Anything that can have the children's names is always popular - so personalising the cover of notebooks for example is a great idea. My eldest daughter's fifth birthday was lemony snicket's "series of unfortunate events" themed so I went to the local children's bookshop (where yes, they do know me by name) and they gave me tonne of free givaways from the publisher promoting the last book.

Crayons seem babyish to me, even for five year olds but maybe my kids skipped over that stage.

God, I had better stop. I've clearly hosted too many parties. Eighteen children ain't nothing - you'll have lots of fun!
posted by saucysault at 11:46 AM on August 6, 2009

Or, go the opposite direction. Opt out of the "gift bag" race entirely. What purpose does it serve other than to make the already expensive party that you're putting on even moreso. The party is to celebrate your daughter's birthday, right? Why does everyone else need a gift?
posted by Irontom at 11:50 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great ideas!

saucysault...I bow down to you :) Yes, please let me know about that party store - if you can give me its name I should be able to find it, right?

Irontom, I understand the sentiment; I myself often tire of material hype that surrounds young children these days. However, I feel differently about party favours. Having attended birthday parties where few children attended, I've come to realize that the most important thing is for people to actually show up. Without attendees, a party is no fun (and can be quite heartbreaking for the birthday child). So a favour is a way of saying "thank you for coming, we appreciate your effort".
posted by yawper at 12:17 PM on August 6, 2009

Party Machine - (website seems down - call to make sure they are still in business!) at 6465 Millcreek Drive at Erin Mills Parkway, Mississauga, (905) 821-0938‎. South of Meadowvale GO station. Have a great party!
posted by saucysault at 12:59 PM on August 6, 2009

Best answer: I once gave out hula hoops. They were really inexpensive (less than $5) and they were AWESOME.
posted by Edubya at 1:00 PM on August 6, 2009

I'm not a big fan of the "goodie bag" thing myself -- it really seems to have escalated to insanity in recent years -- but I love giving presents. As a result, I give guests something that's marginally meaningful or references the guest of honor. If my kid has really been into soccer or pirates or racecars lately, I'll hand out some soccer or pirate or racecar stuff.

Items that are worth handing out:
Temporary tattoos.
A book.
A superball.
Silly putty and/or play-doh.
A hot wheels car

Items that are NOT worth handing out:
Little plastic molded trinkets (unless it's a freakin huge bag of plastic spiders, which would be freakin awesome)
Crappy disintegrating toys
Little rattly BB puzzles.
Boxes of crap-ass crayons that don't write, like the ones at the chain restaurant
Anything you're not sure what a kid would use for, but omg it looks so cute!
posted by majick at 1:05 PM on August 6, 2009

plastic balls -- the big bouncy kind -- were a big hit at a party I was at. Also, harmonicas (although the parents weren't thrilled).
posted by dpx.mfx at 1:44 PM on August 6, 2009

My nieces favorite trinkets are harmonicas, those whizz whistles, bubbles and flashlights.

oh and stickers.
posted by meeshell at 2:28 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

IME, boys will not be as excited about bubbles, or about stickers at all--though temporary tattoos would probably go over all right. Flashlights and whistles are cool, though.
posted by misha at 3:40 PM on August 6, 2009

Best answer: Temp tatoos. They have great ones for kids.
posted by nax at 4:53 PM on August 6, 2009

Another idea: glow sticks. Oh my gosh, my kids can't get enough of them (and they're so cheap!).
posted by Sassyfras at 5:19 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

From Ms. Vegetable:

A deck of cards. They're just about getting to the age where they think cards are worthwhile.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:42 PM on August 6, 2009

Seconding hula hoops and flashlights. Decent quality sunglasses, slinkies and glow-sticks go over well, but NOT the kind sold specifically as party favors - they're not good for anything but the trash. Little kits with instructions for things they can make or learn to do themselves - magic tricks, paper airplanes, origami, etc. can be a lot of fun.

Stickers, cheap playdough and even Silly Putty from goodie bags have ruined more things around my house than I care to think about (ever try to get Silly Putty out of a four-year-old girl's hair after she went to sleep with it? I don't recommend it). The kids like them, but many parents are not happy to see them. Ditto with whistles, harmonicas, kazoos and other noisemakers.
posted by Dojie at 7:03 PM on August 6, 2009

Best answer: I like the hula hoops (maybe not so much for boys) and flashlights ideas too, as well as the suggestion of big bouncy balls.

I once made frosted sugar cookie initials of each party attendee (Williams-Sonoma has alphabet cookie cutters, or did a couple of years ago) wrapped in a cellophane bag with pretty curly ribbon.
posted by lakeroon at 7:58 PM on August 6, 2009

Best answer:
Marmalade Cake Company's decorated cookies are certainly in your price range, and are gorgeous, taste delicious, appropriate for all ages - and my favourite part: they disappear. I know your loot bag stress, and can empathise. But even my five-year old daughter is tired of dollar store crap, and asked (thankfully quietly and discreetely) after a recent party "Why do people give this stuff?" My husband had some at a work party, and I thought they were amazing.

The Samko & Miko Toy Warehouse sales coming up are a good time to stock up for things - they have pretty good book section, with tons of activity books appropriate for the older kids. So, there's my suggestion for next year, if you're going to!

In our loot bags from last year, we gave out one of those old-fashioned pretty stripey candy sticks (via Bulk Barn); a stuffed-animal key chain that made a kissing noise and the cheeks lit up when squeezed (monkeys, tigers or kitties - from Sears, at 70% off after Valentine's day original price of $2.99 ea) (and, as they older boys soon discovered - in the dark, the red cheeks glowed like awesome evil eyes!) and a scented lip balm in a "candy" flavour (I busted up six-packs bought at one of those accessory stores in the mall, at buy one get/one half-off (and I kept all the extra chocolate scented ones for myself!). We had fifteen boys and girls from ages 3-12 at a craft space - and each bag was about $3, including the cello bags from Bulk Barn. I saw the toys coming to school the next day and for weeks after clipped on backpacks, so I'm pretty sure that was an okay choice in terms of lasting enjoyment. But I swear, it's the last time. Next time, only consumables. And if we get another plastic ruler with the alphabet stencil cut out, or another bouncy ball that my dog can choke on, or - and this is both our least favourite thing - a homemade CD with the birthday kid's favourite songs ("Mommy, it's nice to know what his favourites are, but I don't want to hear them again.") - I promise that this is the year I'm going to tell that mom, and every mom there, let's stop the madness, PLEASE! (Sorry - ended ranty!)
posted by peagood at 8:23 PM on August 6, 2009

I made dinosaur eggs. You can find simple recipes online, but it's basically sand, coffee grounds, flour and salt. I put a little dinosaur in the middle of each egg, but you could use something else to match your theme. I also included some dinosaur fruit snacks, dinosaur oatmeal, and a sheet I made up with a pic to colour, a maze, some jokes, etc. I then put all the items into a dinosaur bag that we'd made out of felt remnants. (The bag looked like a dino.) Aside from the tiny plastic dinos, it was basically all stuff that was going to be eaten up or decompose and none of it was really junk food either.
posted by acoutu at 10:21 PM on August 6, 2009

Best answer: Kites - you can get kid's versions for less than $4 each. We have them at our local general merchandise stores, but you can find them online too, for example: Wind Dance Kites and Everything Elementary.

Of course, it would have been even cooler if the party was outside...
posted by tuxster at 8:24 AM on August 7, 2009

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