Ask Amma

10 Ideas for Simple Fun Party Favors

In What on 5 January 2014 at 1:05 pm

You’ve already done everyone a favour by throwing a party.  Warm goodbyes are a fine way to see guests off after a party.

Stuff …

Stuff …

Why distribute stuff that simply contributes to the expectation that people are supposed to get stuff at a birthday party?  Anyway, balloons are bad for wildlife, noisemakers make, well, noise, and plastic boxes and trinkets clutter the house and ruin the environment.  All just more stuff – as in the Story of Stuff.

What should I do for party favours? 

So what do we do for party favors?  A parent who has attended a kiddie birthday party featuring wrapped presents given to every guest may worry about how to measure up.  In fact, I have found that if you do something simple, others genuinely appreciate it, because it is different, creative and also because it de-escalates the pressure and brings back the fun.

Here are some of the favours my daughter has given and received over the years:

1.  Baby Pictures – On our baby’s first birthday we gave wallet size photos to close friends and family.  To this day when we visit them, we see these pictures on their fridges.

2.  Fruits – Traditional gift for guests.  Good for kids 3 and below, since you will really be giving it to their parents.

Starting around age 4 or 5, kids can make the party favour – it’s part of the party!

3. Sock Puppets – One year, I asked everyone to bring lonely socks from home.  I supplied glue, felt and cloth scraps, yarn and buttons.  We made the puppets, and did a puppet show.  Afterwards, each kid took his or her puppet home.

Painted Jars

Painted Jars

4.  Paintings.  At one party I attended the hostess handed out pieces of paper to each child and also a set of water colors with a brush.  All the kids painted and got to take home their painting, colors and brush.

 5.  Painted Jars – Ask each child to bring an empty jar.  Supply the paint and voila!  Variations:  Wooden frames, clay pots, or blank T-shirts.
If you supply the object to be painted, you could ask the kids to bing their own paints and brushes.
6.  Photo exchange:  One year I took pictures of my daughter’s friends in advance.  (I actually asked them to make funny faces.) I made 2 x 2 pictures of each kid.  Each kid got a set of photos and they exchanged with all the other kids.
How to make  2×2 photos: 
– crop a square section of each photo
– copy and paste the cropped square 6 times into a 2 x 3 grid.
– save the file and print in 4 x 6 size.  Voilà, you now have six 2 x 2 photos.
(You can also use an “online passport photo maker” available on various websites.)
7.  Memory Books:  Take four sheets of letter size paper.  Cut in half.  Now you have 8 sheets.  Fold in the center and staple or stitch.   Have the kids decorate the covers and write in each others’ books.  They can also paste in the photos of their friends as they collect them.  I used handmade paper and covered the endpapers with cloth – instantly makes it look elegant.
Kids at Birthday Party plant flowers.

Kids at Birthday Party plant flowers.

8.  Seeds:  A neighbor gave out seeds at her daughter’s party, with instructions for planting.  Sweet, simple and long lasting!

9.  Saplings – Another neighbor recently  gave out pots and plants.  The party activity was filling the pot with mud, transferring the sapling to the plant and taking it home.  She wrote on the invitation, “prepare to get dirty.”
10.  Pencils and erasers.  In a pinch, you can’t go wrong with basic office supplies.   Ever seen a child grow wide-eyed over a new eraser?  Or a box of nice long chalk all lined up in a row?
When kids outgrow the thrill of a new eraser, you can phase out the party favour altogether.  You’ve already done everyone a favour by throwing the party!
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