Creative goodie bag ideas for toddlers

What is a goodie bag?

A goodie bag - also known as a goody bag, gift bag, loot bag, or party favor bag - is a small gift bag traditionally used to hold candies and other treats. Goodie bags are typically given at children's birthday parties as party favors to be taken home by the guests.

At what age can a child have their own goodie bags?

In most venues, it is acceptable for children from birth through 8 years old. In some countries, 7th Birthdays are celebrated with joint birthday/graduation parties which means that grades one through eight attend together and usually only eighth-graders receive gifts in goodie bags. It varies from nation to nation and school district to school district too. If you aren't sure look it up for your area.

What items should you put in a goodie bag?

If you are hosting the party yourself then you get to decide what goes in it and how much candy is appropriate based upon the age of the child. Some ideas include coloring books, crayons or markers; small board games; bouncy balls; bubbles; stickers; tattoos; temporary gems, and body glitter (make sure they're washable); small pencils and erasers, and fruit-flavored straws.  You can also add coupons such as "IOU one free back rub" or "one free babysitting night" etc.

Make them themed like all about monkeys, princesses, pirates...whatever the theme of your party is.

If you are the guest of a party and want to make a goodie bag for a child at the party then gather small items from around your house that will fit into an envelope or small bag. Some ideas include pencils, stickers, bouncy balls, bubbles, temporary tattoos, etc. Might as well throw in some loose candy too while you're at it!

What is a must-have in goodie bags?

Candies and small toys and games - the essential goodie bag items. The non-candy stuff is nice but if you want to buy 3 bags of M&M's and a couple of little things then that's fine too!

What NOT to put in a goodie bag

  • Nail polish and lip gloss- these can be purchased separately and given only if the intended recipient is old enough to use them properly with adult supervision.
  • Candy cigarettes - most schools don't allow these for this very reason.
  • Water guns - again, most schools don't allow them for this same reason.
  • Glow in the dark anything - can be a choking hazard and may not be allowed at school depending on the age of the child who will receive it.

How do you make a goodie bag?

Include items from around your house or items you purchase from your local dollar store if you wish to give more than one item in each bag.  Toys from fast food restaurants are also another inexpensive option. Be creative!

All bags should contain name tags so that they don't get mixed up with all the others being passed out at party time. You can print out labels using MS Word, Publisher, or even if you're a Mac user! If the child is old enough to write then you can just give them a pen and let them write their name.

What materials will you need to make a goodie bag?

  • Cardboard box or brown paper bag, ribbon or curling ribbon, clear cellophane (to cover contents), scissors, and tape.
  • Items you've gathered up from around your house like pencils, stickers, bouncy balls, etc.
  • Printed name tags if you are giving more than one item per bag (see above)
  • Tissue paper or tissue streamers to line the inside of the goodie bags before putting in the goodies...because nobody likes it when their candy gets squished! (optional).
  • Some venues don't allow children to take home any sort of packaging so check with your host first.
  • A pair of kid-friendly scissors if the kids are old enough to use them safely by themselves (cutting the ribbon, opening packaged items, etc.)

How to make it step by step?

  1. Cut paper or cardboard into desired size and shape (typically rectangular).
  2. It's nice to have a twisty tie at the top of each goodie bag so that it will be easy to open when the time comes.
  3. Cover box/bag in cellophane or tissue paper to cover contents then seal with tape, ribbon or curling ribbon, etc.
  4. Print name tags if you are giving more than one item per bag otherwise just let children write their names using's not messy!
  5. Label your packages appropriately "first grade" "second grade" etc so they don't get mixed up later on during distribution at party time!

Are goodie bags made only from paper?

They can be made using paper or cardboard boxes, brown lunch bags, etc. If you are giving more than one item in each bag then you should use a little bit of tissue paper to line the inside to prevent crushed candies and so on.

Of course, you can try fabric or plastic bags too!

What sizes to choose?

Goodie bags are typically rectangular in shape. Sometimes they have handles made of curling ribbon connected on the sides like lunch bags if you want to make them that way!

How many items can I fit in one goodie bag?

It really depends on the age of the child who is receiving it...typically more than one item but not too much more because kids get overwhelmed easily with all that's going on at parties and some parents prefer to control what their children eat anyway! Why use gift bags?

They save time, money, and hassle. Also, some venues don't allow children to take home any sort of packaging so gift bags are perfect for this situation. How cute would it be to put candy bars or small toys directly inside a lunch bag made from brown paper?

Top-20 creative ideas for goodie bags

  1. Fill small brown paper bags with 2 Hershey's mini chocolate bars; several packets of the hot cocoa mix (there is a Halloween themed one at the grocery store and you can find others all year round too); some candy corn and of course a plastic pumpkin full of gummy treats!
  2. Fill little boxes with dried noodles, pasta shells, etc. Add some tomato sauce and cheese shakers from your local dollar store for a quick "pasta" snack.
  3. Filled shoeboxes with popcorn, Skittles, M&M's, or even fun-size candy bars in keeping with the theme of your party!
  4. If you have children who love Hot Wheels then fill a box with new Hot Wheels, crinkle paper, and tissue paper for an instant "race track"!
  5. Fill mason jars with jumbo marshmallows and candy corn...a Halloween-themed version of your average cup of hot chocolate!
  6. Small boxes filled with animal crackers, graham crackers, or Teddy Grahams are fun treats to share on special days.
  7. Fill small mini CD cases (make sure they're empty before you start) with suckers/lollipops and miniature balls of playdoh wrapped in cellophane. You may also fill these boxes with plastic spiders or other items that can double as craft supplies later on if the intended recipients are old enough to handle them safely.
  8. Small boxes with a few new crayons, a tiny coloring book, and a 4 pack of erasers make the day a little brighter for lots of kids!
  9. Keep it simple...small boxes filled with Smarties or Pixie Stix!
  10. Fill small boxes with jelly beans wrapped in tissue paper and tie them with curling ribbon for an instant party favor bag that won't take you hours to put together!
  11. Fill small brown paper lunch bags or buy white lunch sacks from your local dollar store that can be decorated as easily as the goodie bags themselves using markers and several packs of fruit snacks inside and seal them up!
  12. Small boxes or envelopes filled with a few new crayons and a candy bar make great prizes for the winning team at Halloween games and are easy to hand out.
  13. Little cardboard tubes can be decorated with markers, stickers, etc..slide in some lollipops, suckers, or candies of any kind...easy peasy!
  14. Fill small boxes/bags with animal cookies...washable paint, paper plates, and brushes can keep busy little hands occupied for a while!
  15. Panda Express is offering free kids' entrees all day on Halloween so fill brown paper bags up with orange chicken, chow mein noodles, fried rice, etc. Close the bag with a twisty tie and you've got yummy food for a playdate or party time!
  16. Empty tissue boxes, a few spools of curling ribbon, and a jar of playdoh make great crafts for kids of all ages!
  17. Fill mason jars with small jelly beans or m& a few spooky stickers on the outside to make them festive!
  18. Shoe boxes filled with bags of mini applesauce cups, packages of dry spaghetti, and fruit snacks wrapped in cellophane are perfect for snacks on the go!
  19. Fill empty paper towel tubes with your choice of candy and seal them up with packing tape and decorations that match your party theme if you like!
  20. Kids love donuts so why not package some Halloween cookie decorating kits with donut holes inside? Place all of the ingredients into a nice little carrying case along with a pack of frosting and kids can dress up their own treat as they eat it!

What makes a goodie bag great?

Quality over quantity. If you're going to spend the money (and it can add up quickly!) make sure everything inside is high quality and will be played with by the kids.

Maybe even ask them what they think would be cool things to put in there. You may try selling your extra "goodies" door-to-door which might bring in some extra cash for your party fund (give out candy as samples).

When should you hand out goodie bags?

You can hand out goodie bags at the end of your party...or you may want to give them to people as they leave since it's easy for parents to forget these items if their little ones are so excited about receiving gifts. You may even consider making bags specifically for each child/guest attending and waiting until the very last minute so no one will feel cheated.

How much should a goodie bag cost?

Price them according to what is in them. Most dollar stores have really inexpensive goodies so most boxes of smarties or small packs of candy corn with a few other items are thrown in will only cost you about 50 cents. Save money by going through your kids' old toys and junk drawer and filling up empty containers from around your house with items you already have on hand.

It is a great idea to spend time together with your toddler

If you want a DIY goodie bag, doing it together with your child is a great idea.

It is recommended to spend time with your child even if they seem uninterested in the project. This will help them learn how to follow instructions, and also teach them about working together as a team. Be sure to praise their efforts even if you think it doesn't look perfect because that is what they are learning too!


  • Make sure everything inside is clean and in "like new" condition!
  • Use paper grocery bags and try and find creative ways to decorate them (gluing on stickers etc..)
  • If you're giving away candy then be generous, but if you're thinking of filling goodie bags with a few pieces of candy then make sure it's high quality! You want the kids' parents or guardians to feel like they got their money's worth when they go home with the loot from your child's party.
  • Don't forget about younger siblings who will probably see some of these goodies at home and will want their own.
  • Don't underestimate the value of a joke or magic trick! You can find inexpensive items like this at your dollar store.
  • Finally...don't spend hours trying to make these babies...turn on some music, get out your glue gun and let the good times roll!