31 Practical and Useful Kids Party Favors For Every Age Group

Jul 24, 2023 | Party Planning Tips

With the minimalism movement in full swing these days, many parents are cutting the clutter and discarding their kids’ knick knacks and cheap plastic toys in favor of higher quality playthings.

While that’s great for parents and the environment, it can make shopping for party favors a pain in the butt. You want to get something the kids will like, but you also don’t want to waste money on trinkets that will just end up in the trash.

What’s a parent to do?

Enter the practical party favor (and yes, there is such a thing!).

Our list of goodie bag gifts ideas contain toys that are fun, clever—and best of all—won’t live out their lives in the back of a junk drawer.

Practical Party Favors for Babies:

Babies may be too young to even know what a party favor is, let alone have an opinion about it, but that doesn’t mean they can’t participate in the fun.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Squeeze pouches

Goodie-bag standards like candy and animal crackers can be a choking hazard for infants, which is why squeeze pouches are often a safe alternative. Go with pouches made from USDA certified organic ingredients, such as the ones sold by Cerebelly or Once Upon a Farm.

2. Waterproof books for the bath

Bath toys provide hours of fun, and waterproof books have a couple things going for them that other bath toys don’t. 1. They’re not as common, so the child is less likely to have 20 of them sitting in their bathtub at home and 2. They’re inexpensive. You can often find them at the dollar store.

3. Beach/sandbox toys

Sandbox toys are something you can never have too many of. Plus, you can use beach colorful buckets in place of plastic gift bags.

Practical Party Favors for Toddlers:

Toddlers are the perfect age for practical party favors, because they’re still young enough to be impressed by anything you give them. So give out all the socks and toothbrushes now while you still can!

Below are 10 ideas to get you started:

4. Colorful band aids

Toddlers are naturally accident-prone, so parents will love getting some extra bandaids for the first aid kit. But toddlers love bandaids, too, especially fun ones that feature their favorite TV or movie characters.

5. Bath bombs

Parents will appreciate having a fun, colorful bath bomb on hand when their toddlers are in the middle of a “I don’t wanna take a bath!” tantrum. Some popular ones include “Dino Egg” bath bombs that have little dinosaur toys in the middle of them or bath bombs that turn the water into “rainbow clouds.”

6. Playdough jars

So this item isn’t so much “practical” as it is entertaining, but it’s definitely a party favor that’s likely to get used and not thrown out in the trash. You can make these yourself by taking a tiny jar and filling it with playdough and cute little toys and trinkets that match your party’s theme. Or you could purchase some adorable ones from this Etsy Shop.

7. A cute vintage book

A kid can never have too many books, and parents will appreciate being able to swap out “Goodnight Moon” for something new to read at bedtime. The Little Golden books from the 1960s offer an adorable vintage twist to this idea.

8. Homemade cookies

You can trust that a cookie will never go to a waste—not if there’s a toddler around! Most kids love cookies, and their parents will appreciate the thoughtful touch of a home-baked gift.

9. Toothbrushes

A child’s toothbrush needs to be replaced every three to four months, so even if the kids  already have a stack of them in a drawer at home, they can always use one more.

10. Silly socks

Toddler socks are another item you can never have too many of because they’re always getting lost! To make this item more fun, go with designs that match the party’s theme or socks with silly patterns like aliens or pizza.

11. Sidewalk chalk

While crayons and paints make great useful party favors, sidewalk chalk is even better because it gets the kiddos playing outside.

12. Piggy banks

Toddlers love collecting change and practicing counting, which is why they’ll enjoy getting a new piggy bank. Personalize the piggy bank (or unicorn bank, teddy bear bank, etc.) by ordering one with their name on it. The best part? Small, plastic piggy banks won’t, well, break the bank! These pink and blue piggy banks cost less than $3 each.

13. Nightlights

Nightlights have gotten pretty clever these days, with ones available to match nearly every party theme imaginable. They’re not too expensive, either—You can get a small ice cream cone or baby chick-shaped night light for under $3.

Practical Party Favors for Kids:

With this age group, you may have to mix the practical party favors in with a few non-practical ones (like candy!) in order to keep them excited.

14. Clever fridge magnets

Parents need magnets to hang up all their kids’ artwork and children will love getting a personalized name magnet like the ones they sell on Etsy, or you could go with a cute one that matches your party’s theme.

15. Gift Cards

Many don’t know this, but you can actually buy small-dollar gift cards. Baskin Robbins gift cards, for example, are available in amounts as low as just $2.

You could give gift cards for an ice cream parlor, movie theater, or dollar store.

16. Cool bars of soap

On the surface, this idea may sound practical but super lame, but hear us out: Kids soaps have gotten super creative in recent years and they come in a wide variety of shapes and colors to match even the most unique party themes. Bulldozer and dinosaur soaps are awesome for boys parties, and gummy worm or pizza soaps are fun for both genders.

17. Flashlights

Flashlights make for a clever and useful gift for a sleepover or movie-themed party. They’re also just a pragmatic gift in general.

18. Personalized water bottles

Have each child’s name printed on a water bottle for a unique yet practical gift. Water bottles are almost certain to get a lot of use, especially during the summer months.

19. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a great practical party favor idea for a pool or beach-themed party—or just summer parties in general. Just make sure to pick one that is a minimum of 30 SPF, though 50 SPF or higher is ideal. Here’s a helpful list of dermatologist-recommended kids sunscreen brands. 

20. Flower seed packets

This is a perfect party favor idea for a garden or tea party-themed event, but it’s also a cute addition to more general birthday party themes as well. Wildflower seeds are a great choice because they’ll grow most anywhere—even in sidewalk cracks.

Practical Party Favors for Tweens and Teens:

Tweens and teens may act like they’re too old for party favors, but trust us, they’ll never turn down tech or beauty products. When in doubt, go with phone accessories, like these trendy ones, which are all under $25.

21. Nail polish

This is an ideal party favor for a slumber party or spa-themed birthday party, but it also works for general girl party themes as well. Choose nail polish colors that go with the party’s theme or just buy a wide variety of colors and let each girl pick out her own.

22. Beach towels

You may be thinking: Beach towel? Really? But this is a gift many tweens or teens have never received before and it’s something they can use at the pool, beach, or at home. Go with a creative one that matches your party’s theme, like these artsy ones on Society6 that are so pretty, they almost double as works of art.

23. Flip-flops and sunglasses

Another great party favor for a summer birthday girl or boy. Teens can never have too many flip-flops or sunglasses. Compile a variety of sizes and styles and let the tweens or teens choose their own.

24. Keychains

This is a fun and practical party favor idea for a Sweet 16 party, because now that the teens are driving, they’re going to need somewhere to store their car and house keys. Etsy has a lot of cute keychains that are a step above the typical swag, like keychains made with pressed flowers or tiny replicas of music album covers. 

25. Jewelry boxes

This party favor is great for a tween or teen girl party, especially a jewelry, spa, slumber party, or arts and craft-themed party. Small, travel-sized jewelry boxes l(ike these cute ones available through Amazon), are under $5 each.

26. Hair accessories

You can’t go wrong with hair accessories for a girl’s birthday party, as even girls with short hair can use fun clips or barrettes. Got some boys attending the party, too? Gift them hair gel or small, travel-sized bottles of shampoo.

27. Lip balms

Boys will love getting lip balm too (even if they’d never admit it). You could even have the kids make their own. This website provides 15 DIY recipes you can easily replicate at home.

28. Personalized luggage tags

Anyone who travels needs a luggage tag, yet so often it’s something that gets overlooked during the trip-planning process. Personalize the luggage tag with the child’s name or go with something that matches the theme, like a Paris luggage tag to match an Emily in Paris-themed party.

29. Portable USB chargers

Since tweens and teens are always on their phones, one of the most practical gifts is a portable USB charger, so they can charge their phones while on the go. These cost more than the average party favor, but they’re definitely something teens will make good use of.

Practical Party Favors for Parents

Because why not? Parents often get left out when it comes to party favors, but they deserve a little gift—especially considering they’re the ones stuck shepherding their kids to and from the party.

30. A bottle of wine

Parents might be surprised by a bottle of wine—but pleasantly so—especially if you splurge and get them a decent brand. After a long afternoon spent running around after their kids, they may just need a glass of wine or two.

Don’t drink? Give the parents a bag of gourmet coffee or tea instead.

31. Breath mints or fancy chocolates

Parents so rarely get to treat themselves, so they’ll likely love getting some fancy, gourmet chocolates in their goodie bag.

Not sure if they like chocolate? Try breath mints instead. You could even go fancy and put them in a personalized tin or baggie (like they do with wedding party favors).

Two Balloons: Party Planning Made Easy

Two Balloons is the number one local kids’ birthday party directory. We’ve done all the hard work of scouting the best kids party venues and vendors, so you don’t have to. Browse our directory and book everything you need for your next party.

Start planning today.


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