Party Planning: Prizes & Party Favors

When considering whether to give prizes for games, keep in mind that some children (and this often depends on age) will be upset if they don't win anything. Competitive games are enjoyable only for the people who win. A party should be *fun*, so avoid tears by selecting games where there is no defined "winner" or all benefit from the success of one (e.g. with a piñata). Better yet, plan a few cooperative games, in which the whole gang faces a challenge, such as following a treasure map; then each member of the group will receive a prize or split the treasure evenly.

If you do provide prizes, try to give one to each child for his/her effort. For example: award a prize to each child who completes an obstacle course, not just to the child who completes the course in the least amount of time. Prizes call be small items, such as stickers, award ribbons, coins, etc. or you can keep a prize basket with an assortment of little items and allow the child to pick the item he or she wants.

Handing out party favors for everyone at the end of the party can be a great way to send everyone home with a smile. The choice of favors will likely be influenced by the party theme, age of guests, etc. There is a plethora of pre-made party favors available for purchase, but they can be expensive and it's usually better to spend more time and creativity than money.

Some popular ideas for non-theme favors include: McDonald's gift certificates, T-shirt that all guests have signed, crayons and a large cartoon of the guest of honor to decorate (requires an artistic parent to prepare), or a mix of candy, stickers, trading cards, etc. Have the guest of honor hand the favors out to their guests as they leave, remembering to thank them for attending their party as well as for any gifts they may have brought.

Princess and Pirate party favors