If you could do a post on cool favor ideas, that’d be great!  My daughter’s third birthday is coming up this fall, and I like to get children’s party favors for 3 year olds that won’t be thrown away when the guests get home! -CMP reader Monique, via email

Monique, I feel the same way exactly. The hardest part of birthday party prep for me has always been buying the party favors, because I tend to think the party itself should be the big treat. Especially if I’ve already dropped some money renting out the gymnastics studio or hiring a balloon artist, not to mention the cake and decorations.

Related: 18 easy cake decorating ideas that make a store-bought cake something special. 

But if I’m going to splurge on a little take-home goodie bag gift for the kids too, then I want to make sure it’s not just junk from the dollar aisle that the parents will toss as soon as they get back home. So we’ve put our heads together and talked to our contributors and friends about great party favors for 3 year olds that we think your daughter and her friends will love. Happy birthday! – Kate

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A craft activity kids can take home

Party favors for 3 year olds: Plan a craft activity they can take home, like this car-painting project at Project Nursery

When kids are this young, I love hosting a backyard birthday party that includes a craft they can make and take home with them. In fact, we’ve put together 10 fun birthday party craft ideas that can double as party favors for that very thing. Whether they’re painting wooden birdhouses or toys from the craft store (we love this race car craft idea from Project Nursery) or decorating their own t-shirts with tie-dye or paints, it’s a not just a favor, it’s a way kids can remember how much fun they had celebrating their friend’s birthday.


Art supplies like recycled crayons

Packs of recycled crayons found on Etsy make great party favors for 3 year olds and up

No, we’re not talking about handing out your kids’ used crayons here. Search Etsy for recycled crayons, and you’ll find hundreds of very cool crayons that have been melted down into candy molds that can fit any theme. We’re fans of Set Apart Creation’s tool set crayons; The Crayon Stache’s mustache crayons;  Coloring Sprout’s LEGO mini-fig crayons; and Scribblers Crayons’ heart crayon stick (above) just to get you started. And they’re all surprisingly affordable. Just be sure to check the sizes and age recos with young kids to be sure they’re safe purchases.

Fun bandages

Creative party favors for 3-year-olds: Bandages! Get a box and divide them up


To a preschooler — or even some of our older kids — bandages are basically just decorative stickers they wear on their skin. In other words, we’re constantly running out and any parent would appreciate a kid who comes home from a party with more. Fill up goody bags with some colorful Star Wars Band-Aids or Inside Out Band-Aids which we’re all obsessed with around here.

Party favors for 3 year olds: Ouchies for Others are fun bandages for a great cause

Also check out some of our favorite bandages that give back to charity, from smaller brand Ouchies. You can order online or find them in smaller boutiques like Ricky’s. Your kids will love them and the parents will appreciate it.


Temporary tattoos

Party favors for a 3-year-old: temporary tattoos from Tattly

Clearly there’s just something about sticking stuff on your skin that’s really appealing to kids, and temporary tattoos are no exception. We’re big fans of Tattly’s cool designs, especially because the dyes are such high-quality, last more than a minute, and are easy to take off. Buy one of their sets or get a bunch in bulk and split it up among your guests.


Fun office supplies

Party favors for a 3 year-old: buy bulk office supplies in bulk

Party supply stores have lots of fun brands and licensed characters, but they’re not exactly cheap. So consider buying one great item they’ll love, then fill in the rest of the goodie bag with colorful pencilswashable markers or mini notepads (these are just 12 for $6!) from Amazon or your local office supply store.


Small toys not likely to be thrown out

Small LEGO Duplo sets for preschoolers make great party favors for 3 year olds

We’re all big fans of brands like Playmobil and LEGO Duplo, which beat the generic cheap plastic tops or yo-yo’s that always seem to break as soon as you get home. The starter kits can make affordable, very thoughtful party favors; we found this cute Duplo LEGOVille Zoo Set in the $8 range with free Prime shipping at Amazon. Plus they’re rated for kids 24 months and up, unlike other building sets that your 3-year-old may not quite be ready for yet.


Personalized coloring books

Personalized coloring books from Frecklebox: Creative, affordable party favors for birthdays

If you’re hosting a smaller party, you can splurge a little more on what you give as treats to the kids. While you can personalize everything from pencils to t-shirts, we’re big fans of the personalized coloring books from Frecklebox. They run just $6.95 each and come in 35 different themes from mermaids to pirates to animals and flowers. Of course then you need to have the kinds of guests who are good at RSVP’ing because you need your guest list locked down a bit in advance to pull this off.


Stickers. Because, stickers.

Party favors for 3 year olds: instead of just regular stickers, try Mood Lighting stickers

Kids love stickers, and it’s so easy to buy a big package of them at the drugstore and cut them up to divide among your goody bags. Or for something a little more memorable, we think the Mood Lighting stickers are so much fun, and kids will love to take them home and use them in their bedrooms. Provided their parents are cool with that. But then, isn’t that always the party favor conundrum?