When I was a child [mumble mumble] years ago, we went home with nothing, or a piece of cake if we were so full of savoury food that we had no room for desert! But today party bags are usually more elaborate affairs, in fact they can verge on the ridiculous with gifts inside to rival the party bags at the Oscars!
But i want to reassure parents everywhere Party bags are not a Right, they are Not Essential. They are nice, but you are not duty bound to provide them!
With that in mind, IF you plan a party bag, here is the thing. Sweets are not the best (and certainly not the only!) thing that should be in the bag.
- the children have just had a huge junk tea, of crisps, cake, sausage rolls, cake, biscuits, cake, marshmallows, cake, grapes, cake, and one carrot stick
- some parents (myself included) limit the amount of sweets their children are allowed, and therefore empty the bag straight in the bin.
- some children (mine) are not that keen on sweets, and empty the sweets straight into the bin (wonder where she gets that from!?) She loathes Haribo.
So what? what should you put in a party bag? Well it needn't be expensive. Here are some ideas, most of which I've used at some time in the past, they may also be useful as 'class gifts' instead of sweets at a birthday or end of term.
Powerballs - can be bought in job lots of 30 or so on eBay - work out at pennies each and the kids love them!
Pens, Gel pens, pencils - buy a pack at the £ shop and divide them up
Temporary Tattoos - another favourite, again check eBay for job lots
Key rings, all manner of themes here - again eBay is you friend - in fact eBay is great for party bags so I'll stop saying it, just assume it!
Rubbers (OK for the Americans I mean erasers, I'm not advocating sex for the under 5s LOL) £ shops often sell packs of funky shapes and colours of these too
Hair Scrunchies, clips etc
Cheap and cheerful Jewellery, Claire's Accessories sometimes has bits in the sale
Small toys - Hawkins Bazaar is fabulous for odd things under £1
Sliding Puzzles - the sort with a picture or letters etc that you have to slide to complete
Toy Cars (can often buy a pack of 10 or so in a £ shop)
Glow in the dark bracelets
Stickers, can be bought or rolls or on sheets
Bubbles - yes it's been done, but kids love them, they don't last forever and they are cheap!
A Balloon - get a crazy shaped assortmeant, or some of the 'punch ball' variety on elastic, or the screamers that fly around the room!
Pencil toppers, you know the crazy little things that go on the end of a pencil!
Practical Jokes - who wouldn't love 'fake dog turds' or 'nail through the finger' or even a 'mini fart cushion'!
Badges are fun too for older children.
Packet of seeds
Oh and why not buy plain white or coloured bags and let the children decorate them before filling them with goodies! Or for a real eco friendly (and keen! parent) you could sew some cloth bags from left over material, with ribbon ties.
A great selection of bags and boxes here
Another option is to dispense with the bags all together, buy some cheap books or cuddly toys (Pound Shop again I'm afraid!) and wrap them, then have a 'lucky dip' by the door as the children leave, most children love this!
If you are totally lazy - try the ready made bags available prefilled from various online suppliers.