Goodie bags have become a staple at kid’s birthday parties but as every parent can attest, tiny whistles, plastic toys and tootsie rolls can pile up or soon fall to disuse. With these simple, affordable favor ideas the kids will play (or read, or wear) long after the favor fever has worn off. Scroll down for our ideas.

photo: kaenie via pixabay

1. Books

You can’t go wrong with books. They come in all shapes, sizes and reading levels. Theme them with your party: knights? cars? princesses? There are no shortage of options. Check public library book sales to get volumes on the mega-cheap: each child doesn’t have to get the same book, mix it up! Put a little ribbon on it and tag and you’re good to go.

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2. Sunglasses or Hats

Plain, brightly colored baseball hats, sweet straw hats or cool shades are not only memorable, they are pretty practical too. Look online to order in bulk or check out a local shop for customized hats: places that do business advertising are often an affordable option for doing a dozen or so hats.

photo: Scara via pixabay

3. Post-It Notes and Pens

Slip these two items together in little baggie and you’ve got an little entertainment pack they will use. After the party slip the pack into your own bag to have on hand when you’re heading out. It’s like a mini journal or drawing pad and a sticker combined.

photo: ponce_photography via pixabay

4. Paper and Markers or Crayons

A simple and useable gift, small pads of paper with a colorful starter pack of crayons or pens is as exciting as it is useful. Or sub a coloring book for the paper. Giving the crayons out in a cute little mason jar can make it even more “gifty” and we promise parents will be just as pleased as the kids.

photo: Tess Watson via flickr

5. Seeds

Seed packets can be scored for about $1 a pack. Let your kiddo choose the type but opt for something that’s seasonably appropriate and relatively easy to grow.

Want more useful party favor ideas? Check out this awesome list of 11 favors that double as activities.

What are your favorite favor gift ideas?

—Amber Guetebier