Ideas for Goodie Bags at a Kids Party

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They’ll think they struck gold

No goodie-goodies here

By Virginia Frischkorn

You've made it this far—you hosted a kids party and you. Have. Almost. Made. It. Through. There's just one last step: the goodie bags. What if you saved yourself a step (okay, we're listening...) and switched things up from your standard goodie bags? 

Introducing: the goodie bag station

ideas for a kids bday party

Effective for three reasons:

  1. Save yourself one more bit of time instead of pre-stuffing bags before the party. 
  2. It helps you when the guest headcount changes… last minute life continues to happen.
  3. Kids get to fill their bags with goodies they individually like.

Genius. So here are ideas of how to do it:

Goodie bag station

Give kids the gift of DIY goodie bags. Set up the table with bowls of goodies for kids to choose from. The key here is enforcing some sort of 'fun' system—the last thing you need is a slough of greedy kids flocking with empty bags to fill. Or if doing a craft, release kids in pairs to pick 3-5 items from the station. A favorite trick of ours is to remind kids to take only one item per basket. This way it's up to the kids if they skip one, and the most desired basket doesn’t run out before everyone gets to it.  

Ideas of goodie items:

  • candy
  • toy cars
  • temporary tattoos
  • stickers
  • sunglasses
  • mini notebooks
  • crayons
  • hair clips 
  • bouncy balls
  • Slinkeys
  • gooey grabbers
  • slime
  • playdough
  • water guns
top ideas planning a birthday party


Doubles as entertainment and a source for goodie bags. As simple as…

  • Have kids take turns swinging at the pinata.
  • Once the pinata breaks, kids swarm the scene and collect items into their bags.

 Scavenger hunt edition

Make the kids work, we mean hunt, for their goodies. Similar to the pinata, kids will develop a bit of a competitive spirit here.

  • Scatter goodies around the designated area—tie each with a colored ribbon to indicate they belong to the goodie bag scavenger hunt.
  • Kids are released to scour the area and find items.
  • As they find items, they collect items in their bags.
  • Have kids trade, mix, and match after the hunt to solidify their goodie takeaways.

Pro tip: make sure to have extras "hidden away" for the littles who walk away with’s bound to happen, so here’s to planning a solution in advance.

 Not feeling the goodie bag thing? We're all about switching things up, and sending kids home with less sugar or—dare we be frank—"junk".

ideas for goodie bags

 Alternatives to goodie bags:

  • Balloons: Not that you want the other parents to hate you...but every kid does love walking home with a helium balloon floating from the ribbon in their hand.
  • Picture books: Pick up from your local thrift store or $0.99 store.
  • Craft: keep kids busy with a guided craft during the party. At the end of the party, their completed painted picture frame, playdough cupcake, or is theirs to keep.
  • Take home activity: Give them something to keep them busy at home, like cookie cutters to use for playdough, pipe cleaners to make shapes out of, or stickers and felt pieces to arrange.
  • Charity: the real ‘feel good’ moment. Pick a charity of choice and have kids draw pictures or write notes to kids in said charity. Send kids home with charity stickers or a  postcard to reflect on what they did and remind them what they were part of.

Remember, if you’re sending kids home with something, you can’t go wrong. We hate to say it, but they likely won’t be able to find it tomorrow (the hard truth!) so we don’t want you overthinking this one. Give them a little something they’ll smile about, and you are set. Their bag will be full…and so will their heart. We’re not crying, you’re crying!

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