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Plastic free party bags that will save you money

Here's some easy money saving tips to keeping the costs down on party bags and saving on the excessive plastic waste too!

party bags

Cheap Party Bag Ideas

Love them or hate them, party bags or a take home gift can be a highlight of going to a party for some kids. The heady mix of excitement and expectation, combined with the sugar rush from a slice of birthday cake can make the end of a party quite an event in itself!

Organising a kids party is stressful enough when you simply take into account the idea of entertaining and feeding a group of kids for a few hours. And so having a list of great party bag ideas that are eco friendly and won’t break the bank will hopefully take some of the pressure off.

We’ve pulled together some ideas for you here that don’t involve using plastic bags or giving out bottles of bubbles, small toys that break within moments of use or single use plastic that we know isn’t doing any good for the environment. Instead, why not try a book or reusable item that your kids and their friends can enjoy, time and time again.


Books party bag gifts

Books are a lovely way to say ‘thank you for coming to my party’. Scouring your local charity shops is a cheap way to pick up a load of picture books, early readers and often, crowd-pleasing classics. This can obviously take some time but many of the charity shops now offer online shopping.

Check out Oxfam’s recent selection of kids’ books here (starting at £3) and there are children’s books starting at just 89p here on Thriftify

The Works also regularly run a 10 books for £10 offer or reasonably priced at £2 each. This list does work better for ages five and under and if you don’t need them for a party bag, they also make great stocking fillers! :

Depending on the age (and willingness!) of your child, they could write a little note inside the book for an extra personal touch.

Another lovely aspect of sending children home with books is that if they do happen to already have it, they can easily do a book swap with friends and family, or even re-gift it (admit it - we all do it!).

Crafts and Activities

My son was recently given a ‘Paint your own rocket’ kit. He’s not an especially crafty child but he was delighted and very eager to crack on. I put it aside for a rainy afternoon and it kept him / me happy for about 40 minutes - win! Other than setting him up with water / newspaper etc, he did it independently and had a lovely money box to keep in his room.

Baker Ross is a good online resource. Also, Hobbycraft usually have excellent deals from about £3 per item:

We’ve always found that many children are delighted with a new set of pencils and a little pad - and I often see parents squirrelling these away in bags in order to whip them out at restaurants or when waiting for appointments. Amazon sell cardboard boxes of colouring pencils here:

You could separate out the colours and tie a piece of string or ribbon around the set (there are 10 of each colour, and 18 different colours. With a little pad (like these cute animal ones:

in a paper bag, this is a really nice going-home present. It would work out at about £2 per person. There is also minimal waste and much less chance of mini plastic toys ending up broken / forgotten / in landfill.

Themed Presents

There are lots of clever, eco-friendly and low cost party bags ideas which can be based on the theme of the party. These work particularly well when the going home gift is one item that can be used again and again or easily recycled. Here are just a few ideas to get you started!

Outdoor equipment such as a torch is a great gift for any child, and you could attach them to a carabiner clip for an extra bit of fun. A magnifying glass is also fun and encourages kids to get exploring. Smaller kids may enjoy a bug box for finding mini beasts in the park and a pair of low cost binoculars will always find a use.

Water bottles (which can be personalised) are a great way to limit the use of single use plastics and promote hydration. Plus how many times have you gone to get a water bottle only to find none in the cupboard! Buy some bottles in bulk from low cost retailers and you could personalise them with name labels or stickers.

Sport themed items such as a tennis ball or football, hula hoop, frisbee or scatch are a brilliant takeaway and are reusable, promote a healthy lifestyle and also encourage working as a team. They are usually easy to source online or from low cost high street shops. You may also look at a bucket and spade for a summertime party.

Old jam jars filled with sweets or treats are a real crowd pleaser. Save your sauce / spread / jam jars from the recycling and buy sweet treats in bulk to limit the packaging used. Make sure you sterilise the jars before use by washing them thoroughly and pop them open side down on a tray in a preheated oven for around 15 minutes.

Baking equipment is also a brilliant option. Wooden spoons, cookie cutters and aprons are widely available and you might like to print out a recipe for each child to try and attach to the baking equipment with a piece of ribbon or string.

We know that parties and party bags can get expensive and at times, competitive. So we hope these simple ideas help to inspire you on how to make parties easier, cheaper and better for the environment.

Feel free to share any successes or ideas of your own over in our Facebook Group:


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