Prizes can make a contest more fun and exciting for kids. Whether you are hosting games, races or contests of chance at your child's birthday party, a church function, or a school event, prizes can create motivation and make the event more fun. Prizes don't need to cost a lot of money. Small toys, games, books and other items that you can buy for under $5 or that you can make yourself all make excellent prize options for kids.
Kids of all ages love to get a sweet treat at any time of day. Candy, cookies, and other small sweet treats are excellent choices for prizes. Make or buy small boxes and load them up with chocolate, coated candies, gummies and other favorites. Tissue paper or small plastic bags stuffed with candy and wrapped in ribbon are also festive prizes. Make a batch of cookies, muffins or cupcakes and package them in small favor boxes. Decorate them with ribbon or stickers to make them more festive and celebratory. When making or purchasing sweets, steer clear of items that contain peanuts or other tree nuts, as these are common allergens. Some children have such severe allergies to peanuts that even being close to another children eating foods with peanuts can cause a reaction. Also steer clear of items like caramel or other very sticky candies that could be a choking hazard.
Toys are top prizes for many kids. With such a wide variety of options, you can find excellent prizes for kids of all ages for any contest. Stuffed toys are favorites for many kids, and they are safe for all ages. You can buy small stuffed toys for minor prizes or participatory prizes, and invest in a few larger stuffed toys for big winners or a grand prize. Choose stuffed animals or figures from popular TV shows and cartoons for prizes that kids will love. Interactive toys are also a good choice. Bubble wands, small games, Rubik's cubes, wind-up toys, balls and paddle balls are all good options. Beware of small, removable items that could become choking hazards for younger kids.
Help kids exercise their creative side with some crafty prizes. Pencils, stickers, erasers, crayons, colored pencils, markers, sidewalk chalk and finger paints are all inexpensive prizes that kids can use to express their creativity. Consider creating mini-prize packs that include some of these items plus paper, colored construction paper, glitter, glue sticks, yarn, colored string and other items that could be used to create something fun. Think outside the traditional arts, as well. Cookie cutters, baking mixes, and mini cake pans are good choices for budding bakers, and small instruments like the triangle, a recorder, or a small drum are good choices for the musically inclined. Be sure that all prizes, especially those that require the use of larger equipment like an oven, are age-appropriate.
Prizes can be enriching as well as fun. You can make a CD of learning songs, audio books, or educational videos for a prize. Just make sure you have the copyright permission to do so. Books are a great prize, and there are many options for all interests and ages. Pick a couple of choose-your-own-adventure stories, select a couple of chapter books in a popular series, or buy the first book of a popular young adult fiction series to get them hooked and encourage them to read more. You can also choose picture books that teach them about new things, like fun words in a foreign language, interesting facts about space, or new animals from around the world. Make sure that whatever books you offer as prizes are not only age appropriate but that they won't contain any material that other parents may find objectionable. A gift card of $5 to a local book store is also a good choice, as this will let kids get excited about choosing their own book and allow their parents to supervise their choice.