Over the last few years my attitude to giving going home gifts after a kids party has gradually changed, but there has been one constant. I have tried to avoid buying plastic cr*p or sweets to give out after the party.
- Homemade bean bags. My theory behind them was that I used fabric that had been sitting around unused in my home for a long time and some out of date barley that would have been chucked otherwise (more because none of us were going to eat it, than because it was past it’s best before date). I also felt that they would be long lasting and could be useful for years instead of minutes like the average party bag toy. In case you are wondering what the orange thing on the bean bag is – it was a monster themed party and it was meant to be a monster :).
- Homemade notepads. I used card and paper that just like the fabric had been loitering in my home for ages. I thought the kids might like having little notepads to draw or write in. I don’t know if they did, but I found the left over ones really useful and now make myself notepads regularly. (They looked a lot like the superman cards pictured above with paper inserts sewn into them – can’t find a picture of the ones I made though!)
- Lucky dip I got my kids to give me all the sweets from their going home bags after each party they went to last year and put them in a jar in a cupboard in the kitchen. I then rationed them and let them have something from the jar once a week. I also got my son to go through his little toys e.g. farm animals, toy cars etc and choose a load he didn’t want any more (one for each party goer). I then wrapped up in newspaper a toy and a sweet for each child and put them in the lucky dip box (a cardboard box filled with shredded scrap paper). The kids seemed happy enough and at least they only actually took one toy home with them – not a bag full of stuff they don’t need or want!
- The last minute party bag solution – This year I wasn’t going to do party bags, but I had a last minute loss of confidence in that idea and decided to throw something together. I looked round my home for little things that would appeal to kids that we don’t need. I found a load of bangles that had been given to me by my mum when she was having a clear out. I found some colourful elastic bands shaped like animals that my son had bought a few packets of in a car boot sale a few years ago and I found a sheet of spiderman stickers which had come with a sticker book or something like that, which I chopped up into individual stickers. I also took sweets and chocolate from the party bag sweet jar. (Instead of letting my kids have a sweet once a week, I now swap the sweets for little gifts – things I find in charity shops). Each child had 5 little things. For the party bags I chopped some envelopes in half (they were the long rectangular ones), cellotaped up the sides and stuck a spiderman sticker on each of them for decoration. None of the kids complained, so I’ll take that as a good sign!
I will admit that some of these gifts take longer to make than others and as time has gone on, I have definitely veered towards the quicker solutions! I did enjoy getting creative though and making things like the notepads and the beanbags.
I’d be really interested to know what all you readers out there with kids do for going home gifts and if you have any zero waste party bag tips. Do you make them yourself, buy them from a shop or do you think that the party is enough and kids don’t need going home gifts?