There is a moment of panic that occurs when a child leaves a birthday party and a party favor is given. It is typically, for lack of a better term, a bag of junk. Sometimes it’s candy. Sometimes it’s a plastic toy that will inevitably break during the car ride home. Sometimes, it’s both!
Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. It is entirely possible for hosts to show appreciation for their guests by providing party favors that are practical, fun, and less likely to end up in a landfill. We've put together 19 of the best party favors for kids that aren't junk—and that will provide hours of fun long after the party has ended.
1. For a summer birthday: Beach towels
Having a pool party? Keep those drippy kids warm and dry with a towel they can get wet and take home. Towels also double as cleanup tools for party time spills, and they come in a large variety of colorful designs to work with any number of party themes.
2. For an earth-friendly alternative: Succulent plants
Kids love growing plants. Seed packets are quaint, but flowers are hard to grow from seeds. Succulents, however, are fool proof and drought tolerant. Just make sure your child doesn’t overwater!
3. For the sporty set: Personalized baseball hats
Personalized favors always give your guests something special to remember about the party. Baseball hats work for a variety of ages and are especially practical for sunny summer outdoor parties.
4. For kids of all ages: Baskin Robbins gift cards
One of the best party favors a child can receive. Baskin Robbins stores sell gift cards with denominations as low as $2. It’s like giving children money, but classier.
5. For toddlers: classic Little Golden Books
Party favors for the toddler set are tough. Bubbles are fun, but immediately get dumped out by kids who don’t realize that’s a one time pleasure. Everyone loves new books, and Little Golden Books, like The Poky Little Puppy, are classics.
6. For an outdoorsy vibe: Colorful kites
Opting for a Mary Poppins or Peanuts themed party? Kites are timeless. Plus, they can double as beautiful decorations throughout the party.
7. For the youngest guests: Stuffed animal hand puppets
Stuffed animals are great. Stuffed animal hand puppets are next level! This variety pack is cute, soft, and fun—plus kids can perform their own puppet show during the party.
8. For tweens and teens: Ice cream cone bath bombs
Fizzy bath bombs are always popular with kids, especially when they're shaped like ice cream cones. These are best for party guests who are old enough to understand they aren’t edible, as the bath bombs are scented to mimic real ice cream flavors, including Mint Chocolate Chip, Cookies and Cream, and Strawberry Parfait.
9. For kids who love dress-up: Stovepipe hats
These whimsical stovepipe hats work perfectly for a Dr. Seuss themed party and will remind parents of their old raver days from the 90s. Add them to the dress-up bin and re-use them later as part of a Mad Hatter, clown, or magician costume for Halloween.
10. For a favor that's good for the mind: Highlights Brain Puzzles books
Highlights, one of the brands most trusted by generations of parents, sells puzzle books designed for specific age groups. Sold in packages of four, these work for every kind of theme. Plus, they keep kids entertained long after the party ends.
11. For kids who love to play games: Decks of cards
Get older kids off of their devices and into some old school Solitaire or Go Fish. Print up and include the instructions for a few different card games as a thoughtful added touch.
12. For a pool party: Flip flops
Beach party? Flip flops. Pool party? Flip flops. Spa party? Flip flops. Pick a size larger than the average size of the kids attending the party because those with smaller feet can grow into them. Take your host skills to the next level and include some tips on how to clean them.
13. For a sleepover: Flashlights
Flashlights are the most utilitarian of party favors. They’re great for movie nights, slumber parties, laser tag parties, glow in the dark dance parties, camping-themed parties, and any party taking place after the sun goes down. You win with everyone: Kids will use it to read after bedtime or as a night light, and parents appreciate having extra flashlights on hand in case of emergencies.
Party hosts rejoice: these flashlights come with the batteries included.
14. For little bathers: Bubble bath
Parents appreciate anything that makes for a peaceful bath time. Will the bright pink packaging and silly mug of the OG bathing beauty, Mr. Bubble, encourage clean kids? Can’t hurt!
15. For kids who love sparkle: Reversible sequin pillows
These reversible pillows will serve as glamorous party decorations you can then send home with your guests. Sequins are festive, and kids love the tactile joy of flipping them back and forth to change colors.
16. For a Dino-riffic party: Jumbo inflatable dinosaurs
Every child attends a dinosaur themed party at least once in their life. Skip the action figure sized toys which inevitably end up embedded into the bottom of a foot, and go with inflatables instead. Blow up this variety pack ahead of time to create a Jurassic tablescape, and hang pterodactyls from the trees. Let your guests pick a fave when it’s time to leave.
17. For kids who dream of saving the world: Superhero capes
These capes come with masks and decorative stickers. What a great deal! Have kids decorate their capes during the party for an inexpensive and fun party activity. Meanwhile, you’ll get pictures of a team of heroes rivaling the Avengers.
18. For kids who like to craft: DIY snow globes
This favor doubles as an activity kids can create during the party. Take your guests’ pictures on a polaroid camera or have them make their own artwork to stick inside. It’s a great keepsake that works for any type of party, but it’s especially fun if you’re working with a Frozen theme.
19. For the ultimate practical favor: Personalized water bottles
Every now and again, a kid requests a birthday party theme so specific, parents are at a loss for party favor ideas. Enter water bottles. Every child loses them, so every child needs them. These can be personalized with each guest’s name to make your guests—especially those with uncommon names—feel special.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.