Party Bag ideas on a Budget

Last Spring as I was planning Milla’s birthday party with a friend the guest list including siblings came to about 60 children. As I was in charge of the party bag element I felt a little weak at the idea of even £1 per child. Add to that my hatred of waste and I was ready to call the whole thing off. Luckily for Milla I calmed down and started coming up with some alternative ideas which wouldn’t break the bank.

For Milla’s party we grew sunflowers for the few weeks before her birthday. I used cardboard pots which could be planted straight into the earth and with a few bags of seeds I had more than enough for every child at the party for under a tenner.

When Monty’s, more Wintry, birthday rolled around last month I made mini craft packs for him to give out (feathers, pom poms, wiggly eyes all in a cellophane bag tied with a couple of pipe cleaners. I did pop them in a striped paper bag but as these were all discarded I’d say don’t bother!). Monty and Milla had a great time making them and again I had change from £10.

Both times we got a lot of feedback from the guests about what they had done with their gift. The sunflowers spent the Summer growing and in the Autumn we had a host of flower pictures while the craft packs were in action the following day which turned out to be very rainy.

Here are some other ideas I have come across for thrifty yet fun party favours:

  • Cut out pictures / masks / crowns or whatever you fancy and make this a craft activity during the party to take home at the end.
  • Sew fabric tote bags from fabric remnants or thrifted sheets and give this with a piece of cake inside.
  • Have a fun photo booth with accessories and print strips of photos for the guests to take home.
  • Download colouring pictures and create your own colouring books.
  • Catherine from Bristol Parenting Cafe made felt crowns from an old wool blanket and each child ‘won’ jewels to add to their crown after the games (you could apply this to action hero utility belts of pirate sashes if you like).
  • Bake biscuits or gingerbread then let the children have icing pens and decorations. Leave them to dry then pop in a cellophane bag and seal with a sticker.

I’m yet to decide on our next round of party bags but you can be sure  they won’t be something which will break quickly and go to landfill!


  1. I’m with you on that one. I always try to be original for under £1 all in. When you’re really stuck a bag of sweets is better than toys because at least they’ll get eaten and the traditional sweet stores will often package you up a pretty little striped bag parcel for 50p if you ask.

  2. Loving your craft package. I’m noting that one. I have done a make your own bracelet pack with beads and string too. xx

  3. Hi Kat
    For Lottie’s 4th birthday I bought books from the Book People – they do sets of 3 or 4 for under a fiver. Admittedly not quite as cheap as your suggestions, but we let the kids choose (I bought a few extra) and I stuck a small packet of StarMix to the back so the kids wouldn’t hassle their parents about the lack of sweets (there weren’t any at the party).

    • This is a super idea Lottie! I once found a set of ten Lynley Dodd books for £10 at the Book People – made our great addition to the present bag. I’m with you on the no sweets at the party (goes for crisps and squash as well) and so far only one child has had a problem with it.

  4. Fab ideas – love them. I usually give books as long as I can get them for £1 or less but never had a party for 60 kids (eeek) so £1 seemed reasonable!

    • I know, when I was looking at that number I was thinking: ‘What am I doing?’ It’s largely down to most of the children having a sibling or two and I hate to leave them out. I think this year will be different as school has kicked in.

  5. Absolutely LOVE the sunflower idea!

  6. Thank you for the wee mention Kat! I really agree with you on waste and expense of party bags – your sunflower idea is inspired! Also, great ideas in the comments. I’m already mentally planning Z’s 6 birthday in August, think I’m going to be making superhero capes!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *