Birthday party favors seem silly. You’re hosting a party, providing entertainment, food, drinks, and cake, AND you have to give the little guests something to take home? I have no idea where the tradition started for parents to give out birthday party favors, but it’s one of my least favorite things as a parent. As a parent of 4 it can also add up, and fast! Most kids could care less about the bag of junk food and cheap toys that come home from a birthday party. They may devour the lollipops or play with that tiny marble maze for 5 minutes, but it’s likely most of your favors (and your money) will end up in the garbage.
When my sister and editorial assistant, Brittany, texted me to ask about frugal but ‘not junk or candy’ favors I was at a loss.
Can’t you just not hand them out? While that’s certainly one option, and one we have used in the past, it may not be popular with your social circle or the birthday kid themselves.
So, Brittany challenged herself to create a party favor under $3 (the price the venue wanted to charge her for a cup + a coupon for a future visit). Below you’ll find her awesome idea along with 6 other options for a frugal, easy, and ‘not junk’ party favor.
Where To Shop:
Walmart, Target, and your local dollar store all probably have options that will work on a budget. If you prefer to shop outside of a big box Amazon offers pretty much everything, plus you can get it in two days with Prime shipping. Other ways to save: you can shop ahead on clearance to save more dough, or shop a seasonal sale for big savings. Most of these ideas will come in under Free to $5 if you do some shopping around. Where possible I’ve linked to products for your convenience.
7 Frugal + Easy Non-Food Birthday Party Favors
1. Make + Take Art
If your child loves art like mine do, have the kids get their hands busy creating miniature works of art to take home. It’s a great arty party activity. You can have a friend, family member, or even hire someone to help the kids do art, or host it at one of many venues that venues like your local art center.
Options include: clay pinch pots, small canvases, rainbow loom creations, watercolor paintings, or origami art. Or send them home with a small favor bag with a mini notebook, crayons, or mini colored pencils.
Party theme ideas: Art Party, Mini-Picasso Party, Paint Party, Rainbow Loom party, or art venue.
2. Tie Dye
Who doesn’t love to tie dye? This is a great outdoor activity (hint: not for winter) where kids can have messy fun and take home their very own creation. Stock up on white tees at an art supply store (coupons could make these even cheaper), and pick up dyes on sale.
Party theme ideas: That ’70s Party, Tie Dye Fun, or a sleepover.
3. Build Your Own LEGOs
Have a LEGO lover in the house? Why not have the kids create their own LEGO creation from a bin of spare parts (you may have these on hand, can buy a bin of classic LEGOs, or can pick them up at a yard sale for cheap). The kids will have a blast building and have a unique party favor to take home.
Party theme ideas: Everything is awesome, LEGO fun, or any indoor/winter party.
It seems simple and silly, but bubbles are a great birthday party favor! They are affordable, you can print up a cute label, and they go with tons of themes. You may think kids would outgrow this but my tweens and teens still love bubbles. Mostly because the dog likes to eat them! Try party packs or giant bubble wands.
Party theme ideas: Under the sea, bubble it up (all about bubbles), or any party.
5. Frozen Fun
Do you want to build a snowman? Make an easy Olaf-building kit for a Frozen or winter birthday party with a carrot or fake carrot, large buttons, an inexpensive scarf (Old Navy has them for cheap every winter), and more into a bag for party guests. Queen Elsa’s magic: not included.
Party theme ideas: Frozen or any winter party.
Minecraft is a huge hit among kids of all ages, so I had to find something that would work! These Minecraft paper crafts from Amazon are a great fit! Affordable, an activity to do at the party, and the perfect thing to take home. Minecraft lovers will adore these! If you have extra planning time or a LEGO store nearby you can use this tutorial from Five Marigolds to create LEGO Minecraft Steves for all your guests to take home!
Party them ideas: Minecraft.
7. Outdoor Play Stuff
Brittany’s kids are big fans of the outdoors so it made a lot of sense to build on that with some outdoor fun. She paired an inexpensive frisbee with an equally cheap jump rope and added in sidewalk chalk for even more outdoor fun. They came in a variety of colors, so she mixed them up.
Party theme ideas: backyard fun, old school backyard party, or at any venue.
Have other ideas for frugal and easy birthday party favors? Share in the comments!