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20 kids' party favors that won't end up in the trash

Don't waste your money on bags of plastic junk

Credit: Amazon / World Market

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There is a moment of panic parents experience but rarely discuss that occurs when a child leaves the birthday party of a friend 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!

Parents of the guest begin to silently strategize how and when they’re going to throw it all away without their child knowing. Is a week long enough to allow the child to forget the bag of junk they now consider valuable worldly possessions? 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.

There are some incredible deals on great kids party favors when you think outside the box or buy in bulk. Favors that double as decorations or party activities are twice as nice. Surprisingly, lots of favors work with a variety of party themes and can be purchased without breaking the bank. We've put together 20 of the best party favors for kids that won't end up in the trash—and that will provide hours of fun long after the party has ended.


1. For a summer birthday: Beach towels

A little girl wrapped in a pink beach towel standing on the beach
Credit: Getty Images / Johnce

Having a beach or pool party? Beach towels make the ideal favor.

Having a pool party? For less than the cost of plastic party favors destined for the recycling bin, 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 come in designs to suit every theme imaginable.

Get colorful beach towels from Direct Textile Store for $2.06

2. For an earth-friendly alternative: Succulent plants

A flat of assorted mini succulent plants.
Credit: Lowe's

Plants are the ultimate eco-friendly party favor.

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!

Get 18 succulents from Lowe's for $67.98

3. For kids of all ages: Baskin Robbins gift cards

A boy holding an ice cream cone and very excited to eat it.
Credit: Getty Images / chuckcollier

Kids will love having their very own ice cream gift card.

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.

Get Baskin-Robbins gift cards

4. For toddlers: classic Little Golden Books

The Poky Little Puppy Little Golden Book
Credit: Discount School Supply

Add a classic to their bookshelf with a Little Golden Book.

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.

Get Little Golden Books from Bulk Bookstore for $3.39

5. For an outdoorsy vibe: Colorful kites

An image of six different kites.
Credit: Dollar Tree

Kites make great decorations and super fun favors.

Opting for a Mary Poppins or Peanuts themed party? Kites are timeless. Plus, they can double as beautiful decorations throughout the party.

Get a case of 36 kites at Dollar Tree for $36

6. For the youngest guests: Stuffed animal hand puppets

12 different animal hand puppets
Credit: Oriental Trading Company

Hand puppets are a great choice for baby's first birthday party.

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.

Get 12 stuffed animal hand puppets from Oriental Trading Company for $29.99

7. For tweens and teens: Ice cream cone bath bombs

A bath bomb that looks like an ice cream cone.
Credit: Amazon

Kids will love these whimsical 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.

Get Ice Cream Cone Bath Bombs on Etsy for $8.99

8. For the sporty set: Personalized baseball hats

An orange cloth baseball cap that says
Credit: Oriental Trading Company

Personalized caps will be worn long after the party is over.

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.

Get 12 personalized baseball hats from Oriental Trading Company for $39.99

9. For kids who love dress-up: Stovepipe hats

Striped stovepipe hats in a variety of different color combinations.
Credit: Oriental Trading Company

Silly hats are a hit with kids and tweens alike.

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.

Get 12 assorted stovepipe hats from Oriental Trading Company for $29.99

10. For a favor that's good for the mind: Highlights Brain Puzzles books

Highlights activity books
Credit: Highlights

Send them home with a book full of fun activities and mind teasers.

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.

Get a 4-pack of puzzle books from Highlights for $24.98

11. For kids who love to play games: Decks of cards

Two packs of playing cards, one blue and one red.
Credit: Dollar Tree

A deck of cards can be used to play a large variety of kid-friendly games.

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.

Get two packs of cards at Dollar Tree for $1

12. For a pool party: Flip flops

A pair of yellow flip flops
Credit: Old Navy

Kids can never have enough 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.

Get colorful flip-flops from Old Navy for $4.99

13. For a sleepover: Flashlights

Mini flashlights in four different colors: red, yellow, green, and blue
Credit: Amazon

Mini flashlights are practical and fun.

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.

Get a 16-pack of Mini LED Flashlights from Amazon for $19.99

14. For a little magic: A unicorn mug

A coffee mug with a gold handle and an image of a unicorn.
Credit: World Market

They'll love sipping hot cocoa out of these magical mugs.

Unicorns are all the rage right now! Cash in on the craze by filling this gorgeous mug full of allergen free candy, and call it a day.

Get unicorn mugs at World Market for $3.99

15. For little bathers: Paw Patrol bubble bath

A little girl in a tub full of bubbles
Credit: Getty Images / Jupiterimages

Inspire party guests to hop in the bath with a bottle of Paw Patrol bubble bath.

Parents appreciate anything that makes for a peaceful bath time. Will the furry faces of the beloved Marshall and Chase encourage clean kids? Can’t hurt!

Get Paw Patrol Bubble Bath at Target for $3.49

16. For kids who love sparkle: Reversible sequin pillows

A rainbow colored sequin pillow.
Credit: Dollar Tree

Flippable sequin pillows will be a hit with tweens.

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.

Get a case of 36 Reversible Sequin Pillows at Dollar Tree for $36

17. For a Dino-riffic party: Jumbo inflatable dinosaurs

A little girl sitting next to a batch of giant inflatable dinosaurs.
Credit: Oriental Trading Company

Turn party decor into favors with these giant 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.

Get a set of Jumbo Inflatable Dinosaurs at Oriental Trading Company for $19.99

18. For kids who dream of saving the world: Superhero capes

A pile of colorful kids capes and masks and a photo of a boy crouched on a rock wearing a red cape and mask
Credit: ADJOY

Kids can turn themselves into their very own masked crusader with these capes and masks.

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.

Get a pack of 20 Super Hero Capes with Masks and Stickers at Amazon for $39.99

19. For kids who like to craft: DIY snow globes

Five plastic snow globes with different pictures and drawings inside.
Credit: Discount School Supply

Guests will love putting their crafting skills to work making 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.

Get a set of 12 Create Your Own Snow Globes from Discount School Supply for $20.21

20. For the ultimate practical favor: Personalized water bottles

Four water bottles with names printed on them in white paint.
Credit: Etsy

Personalized water bottles can be used to serve drinks—and taken home as favors.

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.

Get personalized water bottles at Etsy for $5

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