The 6 greatest cheap birthday party favors kids want

The 6 greatest cheap birthday party favors kids want

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On more than one occasion I have snuck my children out of a birthday party before they could get their hands on the plastic favor bags stuffed to the brim with red-40 candy, pencils, little stampers and ten cent junk. What 2-year-old even uses pencils? Zero, that's how many.

One time my kids got their hands on the favor bag at a party, and I secretly wished evil thoughts on the birthday boy's parents as I found doodads and whose-it-whats-its under the couch and in their car seats for weeks to come. While some choose to skip the junky bags in favor of nothing, I'm a fan of inexpensive, fun birthday party favors.

In fact, I've put together a list of my absolute favorites so you, too, will be known as having the coolest birthday party favors:

  • 1. Bouncy ball

    This is by far the best birthday party favor our of any we've ever given or received. Buy inexpensive bouncy balls, write each child's name on a ball with a metallic Sharpie, and you're done. Almost a year after my daughter's birthday party and we still see her friends playing with their party favor balls at the park.

  • 2. Beach pail and shovel

    Again, all you have to do is sharpie the name on there and the kids love it. We find these for less than $2/each during peak beach season, and far cheaper in the fall. If you don't live near a beach, you can also do tiny watering cans which are fun for outdoor water play. Target sells some by the Circo brand for $1 each.

  • 3. Box of crayons

    My SIL bought my son a massive box of crayons for his second Christmas, and I swear he still talks about his cool box of crayons. It's impractical to bring 64 crayons to a restaurant though, so I love crayon box favors.

    You can buy small boxes of just the basic colors for around $2/box, and they now sell different themed boxes. They even sell some fun themed crayons like Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Bonus points if you include a matching coloring book from the dollar store.

  • 4. Bubble gun

    If you look in the right places, you can find inexpensive bubble guns. These are so cool! They are great for toddlers and preschoolers who aren't coordinated enough for regular bubbles yet. I have found these everywhere from CVS to Walmart to the dollar store and in varying prices from $1-5.

  • 5. Book

    One friend, who always throws the best parties, always gives a book in the party theme as the favor. I am a firm believer that a child (or adult) can never have too many books. My kids get excited for book favors and love to flip through them right away on the ride home. Our favorites are the >Little Golden books for both the variety and the price point (around $3).

  • 6. Play-doh and a play-doh tool

    Play-Doh is the friend and enemy of many a parent. It is so fun to play with, but can also be so messy. We are huge fans of Play-Doh and I love the idea of giving Play-Doh as a party favor. Instead of buying a million and one of the tiny favor-size Play-Doh, buy a case of various colors and split them up. You can get one bin of tools too to split up for each favor. This is so inexpensive and so fun.

Party favors don't have to include a physical gift to take home. I think glitter tattoos are the coolest for all ages, and it's a great party favor! For my daughter's second birthday party I bought a whole glitter tattoo kit instead of spending the same money having someone come do an hour of tattoos. We've had fun practicing, and my kids and their friends keep begging their parents for more!

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

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