The goodie bag. The little memento, take-home gift, gesture of thanks or aid to the party’s frivolity, the goodie bag has become commonplace. Kids of all ages love them, even adults, but what type of items work for certain age groups? It really depends on the theme you are creating for the birthday party. Your theme is really the driving force on how to design your goodie bag because often items that you would assume are only for the young set might work for older kids, too. For example, if you are doing a nostalgia party for teens, items like a yo-yo, army men, or a wind-up toy work great as these toys stick with your theme and there is a novelty aspect to these toys for teens. (Now, if you are doing a Mario Cart theme and you gave out these goodie bags, you may need to relocate!)
For the wee ones, goodie bag items don’t need to be complicated. Heck, fill the bags with candy and you have a home run on your hands, but we know that may not be the best option. What are some other options? Let’s look at some popular party themes for kids seven years of age and under and some homemade goodie bag fillers.
A simple polka dot craft bag would be the perfect vessel for a handmade Mickey. Take a Rice Krispie treat, then use a circle cookie cutter to cut out a circle. Add two marshmallows to the top on either side for the ears, dip it in chocolate, and voila, Mickey Mouse! For a healthier option, use apples instead of Rice Krispie treats.
For the Frozen lovers, build a snowman kit comprised of three white pom poms, mini black felt circles for the eyes, and an orange felt triangle for the nose placed in a cellophane bag with a blue ribbon.
Colored craft bags in superhero colors can easily be turned into superhero goodie bags by buying a comic book, cutting strips out, and applying the strips to the bags with glue to create a collage. Fill the bags with ‘super’ fruits like blueberries, cherries, grapes, or even mini pomegranate juice.
For the superheroes that have day jobs, they need disguises like glasses, hats, mustaches, and maybe even a wig. To add to the fun, hand out each goodie bag, thereby assigning each superhero their official daytime disguise. You could even incorporate this into a game at your party!
For kids between ages six and 12, here are a few popular themes and some goodie bag gold!
Brown craft bags can be given an aged look by using tea bags. Dab a wet tea bag around the edges of each bag and then print out the emblems from each house, cut them out, and pop them on the front of the bags. Your Harry Potter transformation kit could include black pipe cleaners, so kids can build their own set of Harry glasses, a lightning bolt sticker, and burgundy and gold felt to create a scarf.
Every kid wants to have their very own magic wand. With this goodie bag item, they can create spells and magic - well, a magic wand for sure! For the wand, include brown clay or playdough and a chopstick for each kid as well as a little baggy of gems, stones, leaves, and twigs. You could turn it into an activity at the party or something kids can take home to create on their own. All the kids need to do is cover the chopstick in clay, press in the decorations of their choice, and then let it dry.
For this goodie bag, you could use bags, aprons, or metal buckets that look like paint cans, or small toolboxes and fill them with any number of art supplies: brushes, markers, paper, a small canvas, or a mini paint palette.
Goodie bags for the older kids might be a bit tougher, just because this is a tough crowd at the best of times. If your tween or teen chooses a theme like a Black and White Party, Alice in Wonderland, or an ‘80s theme, here are some great goodie bag options:
Notepads, black or white water bottles,‘Chill Pills’ (assorted black and white candies), chapsticks, and body sprays all in black and white.
Visit a second-hand store for this goodie bag item, a tea cup and saucer and, of course, no two will be alike so each guest can have their own vintage tea cup for your Mad Hatters Tea Party!
If you are going ‘old school,’ might as well go all the way with a mixed tape - well, CDs in this case of chart toppers from the ‘80s.
To recap, it’s all about the theme that will really guide you on your goodie bag choices. With a little creativity, they don’t need to be expensive and can still be crowd- pleasers! Your kids will never have it so good(ie)!
Tanya is the Head Curator at Menagerie Parties & Cakes, handcrafting boutique party experiences through custom décor, engaging activities, and show-stopping sweets for people living full, productive lives wanting to celebrate life to its fullest. It’s a Party in a Box! For more information, visit menagerieyyc.ca and follow her on Facebook and Instagram @menagerieyyc.
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