Nobody wants to be a kill joy when it comes to kids’ parties. There are boxes that just have to be ticked. Cake? Tick. Balloons? Tick. Pass the parcel? Double tick. And party bags? Tick, tick, tick.
While you can spend a small fortune on caterers to create the best – and healthiest – treat in town, or book the most popular entertainer and biggest, most delicious cake, at the end of the day it’s all about the party bags. They’re the thing the children take home, that the entire family examines, and that says: Hey! this was my child’s party and what I want your child to remember us by.
So it needs to be good. No more plastic tat, right? Wrong. Most of them are full of sugar-rush sweets, teeny spinning tops, rings and bracelets that scratch skin, bubbles that end up drenching clothes, and dinky slinkies. Yep. Tat. So shall we eliminate them? Tell our children to toughen up? Give them guilt trips about how this split second of joy is contributing to global environmental issues? Of course not.
But at the same time, don’t overwhelm yourself with endless browsing for the best eco-friendly trinkets on offer. It’s wonderful that they exist (in abundance, actually). But organising children’s parties are stressful. You have enough on your plate. So here are some simple tips on how to create a super-fun sustainable party bag. It will require minimal browsing, keep costs down, and you might even have a giggle while making them. You’re welcome.
1. Paper Bags that fold
Buy the paper party bags that fold at the top. Not plastic bags, even if they do have your child’s favourite character on the front. Nor the paper bags with paper handles. They snap too easily when favours are stuffed inside. Order the folding ones without doubt. Some even come with a fancy sticker. Bonus!
2. Plant and Grow
You could plant a tree for every guest with organisations such as One Tree Planted for just £1(AED5) each. Pop the details in the bag for the children to look up later and follow their tree’s progress. Or, for as little as 70p (AED 3) you can get a little bag of wildflower seeds from a supermarket or plant nursery. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving – what could be more special than children growing their own flowers or plants? You can tie a ribbon around each packet and add a card name label, too. It will help save the bees – and you can watch both flowers and children bloom.
3. Life’s a Puzzle
Don’t allow the power of the iPad to lure you into a world where paper puzzles aren’t cool anymore. They are. Screens serve us well, until the battery runs out. Plus, puzzle books can be small and slim. They can slip into any bag and be taken anywhere to alleviate boredom and get the brain stretching. Children love them. And parents love watching their children trying to solve anything off grid.
4. Slab of Cake
Tradition. Millennials will remember party bags always stuffed with a slice of birthday cake wrapped in a serviette. It was fun to peel the creamy cake apart, slightly squashed but still so yummy. Kids eat enough treats at parties. Let them have their cake and eat it…at home.
5. Say cheese!
This one requires a bit of prep, but all can be done from the comfort of your phone. Find a photo of your child with their friends. Maybe arrange to take some pics a few weeks before the party. Get theimages printed and slip a photo into each party bag. They will have a memory to cherish and frame in their bedroom.
6. There’s Nothing Better…
Than a homemade cookie. You know you’ve got all the ingredients in your cupboard. So get baking. Not only will your kitchen smell divine, but your kid’s pals will be getting the ultimate treat to snack on during the journey home. Really! There’s nothing better and your little birthday boy or girl can help you make them in advance.
7. Scribble, Scribble, Scribble
Give a child a pencil and a memo pad and their imagination will jump to life. Pages of dragons, monsters, mountains and suns, the start of a story…Kids don’t see blank pages. They just see possibilities. So if you want to buy anything in bulk for the party bags, buy some pencils and memo pads. Belive us, you can’t go wrong.
8. Take Flight
Paper aeroplanes were around in our time (and before) but are more popular than ever. They’re also a wonderful alternative to taking sweets into school to give out to the class on a child’s birthday. Plus, they’re so light, they slip into the paper party bag perfectly. Plus it’s fun for all the family to sit and make them.
9. Behind the Mask
It’s only me! Cardboard superhero and animal masks are a winner. They can be used immediately and worn on the way home. Kids can draw around the shape and make more with just a pen, pair of scissors and a piece of string. They’re light and won’t weigh down the paper party bag either.
10. Beads are Beautiful
Bracelets and necklaces have always popular party favours, but all too often they’re made from plastic. Thankfully, you can now get wooden beads which also look more appealing. From yo-yos to key-rings, it’s possible to find any little trinket made from wood these days, but you don’t need to break the bank. A few colourful beads together with elastic is long-lasting and a lovely gift.