The Tension of Fun & Junk: 20 Great Ideas for Junkless Party Favours

September 19, 2014 3 min read

Last week, my second daughter turned 4, and let me tell you, this event has been a Long. Time. Coming. As happens with an older sibling and lots of pre-school aged buddies, birthday parties are on the radar BIG TIME.

For me, kids’ birthday parties bring me one, massive dread: party favours! Or, in our house, where piñatas are king (queen): piñata contents.

You see, if my kids return from a lunch with Grandma at McD’s (or similar), the prize/toy/doohickey generally goes directly from our car into the curbside garbage bin. And while I way prefer that no-fuss solution to the build up of clutter in our home, I cringe at the waste of it all! Now, take that concept, multiply it and concentrate it and repackage it once per year at a larger scale: Party Favours be thy name.

I love fun, and I love celebrations, so I actually like the abundance of an exploding piñata, and my daughter loves creating a treat for her friends to take home. My problems are that A) I don’t want to spend an excess of money on a pint-size birthday party, and B) most of what is marketed for this purpose is, in my opinion, well, junk.

My definition of junk would include:

  • A “toy” that will fall apart within 1 week or 1 day of the party
  • Candy that does not seem to be made of food (see: those foil chocolate Easter eggs)
  • Something that seems like a good idea, but isn’t (plastic toy whistles or any noisemaker, erasers shaped like things, tiny or extra large versions of something – frisbees, pencil crayons, teeny notebooks – that simply don’t work as well as their full-sized version and simply don’t get used… etc.)

I hear again and again from friends, or read online, that parents loathe party favours, but feel obligated to buy them. I suspect that for many of them, it’s that same tension which I have experienced. You don’t want much expense or hassle, so you buy something that is simply packaged and cheap, but then feel irritated at having spent any money at all on items you don’t like.

I feel you!

Here are 20 ideas to help you fill your party favour bags or piñata with some great value, reasonable quality, well-received contents:

Best Value:
  • Un-inflated balloons
  • Glow in the Dark Stars
  • Stickers
  • Army Men (or astronauts or knights or animals or any other hard plastic play figure that comes in a bag)
  • Novelty Bandaids
  • Bulk Bin Candy: lollipops, gold coins, mini Nerds, Kisses
  • Crayons – loose* (see alt below)

As you can tell, I favour (so to speak) things that come in multiples in a bag or larger package, but aren’t packaged as favours, per se.

Classics:
  • Whoopee Cushion
  • Spinning top
  • Parachuter guy
  • Fake, sticky mustaches (cut up individually)
  • Hot Wheels
Consumables/ Things that will be Used & Gone Before You Know It:
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Glow stick
  • Bubbles
  • Candy: candy bracelet/necklace, ring pop, mini chocolate bars
Useful (sort of):
  • Twistable Crayons or Pencil Crayons / Markers – loose (*way more pricey than crayons, but in my experience far better longevity)
  • Hair Paraphernalia
  • Swirly Straws
  • Seeds for planting 

Personally, I would avoid bouncy balls & marbles (choking hazards), anything noisy (sorry, slide whistle), or anything that might annoy the parents (like the coloured bubbles I already apologized for sending home last week).

Any more ideas? What are some of the best party treats you have ever sent or received from a party?

 


Leave a comment


Also in Shop Good Blog

Time Out on New Input!

July 30, 2020 3 min read 2 Comments

A friend recently asked on Facebook for “the most challenging and enlightening resource you have read/watched about the problem of racism in America”. This question received numerous responses within the day: half a dozen films, dozens of books, podcasts, courses, and other hubs of information resources (as well as the astute reply, “Conversation”, which is, of course, the most relational and human of “resources”).

I think that this experience was shared by most people in early June (as protests & concerns over racial injustice had reached a critical volume): so many resources, so much to learn.

But now, 2 months later… what have we done with the magnitude of worthy, fascinating, perspective-altering information & insights that have been brought to our attention? 

And this it only in the area racial injustice. In other interests & concerns: How much do we know? How much have we learned & read & listened to already?

Read More
How to Live Generously

July 24, 2020 4 min read 1 Comment


Approximately 25 years ago (in March 2020), we did a customer/reader survey. I asked what you like to read on the blog & one of the respondents suggested a post on "living generously". What a fabulous idea and perfect for this time in history!


[The title of this post implies some kind of authority or expertise — ha! Nope, no experts here... just some thoughts on generosity from a fellow human, trying to make my way!]

Read More
What Were We Spending Our Money On?

July 18, 2020 2 min read 1 Comment

A few weeks ago, I bumped into another grade 1 parent at the park, an acquaintance I knew from school events. As we chatted about our strange time since mid-March (working from home; restless but resilient kids; he hadn’t stepped foot in a store for 3 months...), he made an interesting remark:

We’ve looked at our bank account at the end of each month and thought, “what were we spending all that money on?!”

Read More