Kids Birthday Parties: 10 Loot Bag Alternatives

loot bag

I don’t know about you, but for me, I find the loot bag to be a nuisance! I actually really dislike them and for the past few years of doing them for my kids’ birthdays, I have found loot bags to be the one thing I dread most when planning and prepping for their parties.

For the most part, I just think that the items available to put in loot bags are useless, frivolous junk toys that end up cluttering our already cluttered toy bins. After my children’s birthdays last year I decided that I want to come up with some other ideas as little party favours/thank you gifts to give my kids’ friends, and with my son’s birthday right around the corner (and my daughter’s not too long after that) I have rounded up some of my favourite ideas that I’ve come across on the Internet and at other birthday parties this past year.

I haven’t made a decision yet on which ones I will pick but here are my top 10 loot bag alternatives and why I love them!

  1. Mini Jack-o-lantern kit: With both of my kids’ birthdays being in the fall I thought this was such a cute idea! Simply buy some mini pumpkins and provide stickers, googly eyes, felt and some markers or paint (the washable kind, of course) for the kids to make their own Jack-o-lantern! You could send the kids home with the kit or they could all enjoy doing this craft together at the party and take their completed creation home with them.
  2. Books: In my experience putting together a traditional-style loot bag can cost between $5-10 per child. You can easily find books in this price range, or less. My kids love to read! I would much rather give a book that can be enjoyed over and over again to my kids’ friends than give them little plastic toys they will get bored within a few minutes.
  3. Gift cards: A friend of mine gave the kids Dairy Queen gift cards at her son’s birthday. You could also get a $5 or $10 gift card for places like Chapters, Toys R Us, Tim Hortons, McDonald’s or even a dollar store.  The kids will enjoy picking out a treat for themselves!
  4. Little stuffed animals: My friend gave out Ty Beanie Boos at her son’s birthday party earlier this year and it was a hit! Each child got to pick a new snuggly pal to take home.
  5. Art kit: Put together a bag with a variety of items for the kids to do crafts, such as construction paper, stickers, crayons or markers, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, glue stick and child-safe scissors. All of these items can be easily found at the dollar store, making it more affordable. A kit like this is a great way to encourage getting creative!
  6. Ornament: If your child is having a birthday close to Christmas you could get plain bulbs that can be painted or clear ornament balls from the dollar store (they can open in the middle to put things inside for decorating) and buy items to decorate them, such as beads, stickers or glitter.
  7. Baked goods: Bake cupcakes or sugar cookies ahead of time (or buy them if you’re not into baking) and provide icing, chocolate chips or sprinkles for the kids to decorate them!
  8. Beach toys: If your child has a birthday close to or during the summer why not hand out to each child small buckets filled with shovels and other items to build sandcastles! Or send kids home with a new beach ball.
  9. Play-Doh: Get each kid a couple of small containers of Play-Doh and provide small cookie cutters they can use to make shapes!
  10. Deck of cards: My son has gotten into learning to play different card games this past year and really enjoys it! You could give out a traditional deck of playing cards, or another type of card game, such as Uno.

There were countless other ideas to find but these were my favourites as they are items I know my kids would really enjoy, and I liked how most of them encourage getting creative and having fun! Now I have loot bag ideas to last me a while 😉

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