If the girls are beauty-loving teens, turn to the cosmetic aisle and look for trendy lipsticks, lip glosses, nail lacquers and eye shadows. Buy a cool cosmetics bag and fill it with the goodies. If you need to get several grab bag gifts, you might want to make your own beauty essentials, which will add a personalized touch. Pick up simple, sealable jars and fill them with a homemade cherry sugar scrub by combining one part olive oil, one cup granulated sugar, a few drops of cherry aromatherapy oil and a few drops of red food coloring. Decorate the jars with ribbon -- and the gifts are complete.
Jewelry and Accessories
Teen girls typically love fashion accessories and jewelry – and are likely to enjoy chunky necklaces, layered necklaces, beaded bracelets or dangly earrings. If it’s a winter grab bag, think scarves, cute little hats or fun mittens. If it’s a summer grab bag, look for barefoot sandals, sunglasses, toe rings and ankle bracelets.
Movies and Music
For teen film fanatics, you can wrap up a gift certificate to a popular movie theater or to a local movie rental shop. You can also purchase DVDs – with your own teen’s approval of course -- of classic films or favorite teen movies. For teens more into music than movies, try a gift card to an online music store, blank CDs or flash drives for storing more tunes.
Bags and More
Teen girls usually love all sorts of bags. You can purchase cute clutches at flea markets or street fairs – and keep them on hand for future grab bags. Shoulder-strap bags in bright colors are also fun grab bag gifts. Tote bags, messenger bags and fun backpacks are great ideas as well. If you want to get creative, buy a basic bag and jazz it up with rhinestones, bows or perhaps a bit of leopard print. Teen girls also like change purses and wallets to keep inside their bags -- and again, think fun colors and prints. You might also want to purchase a journal to put in the bag as teen girls often enjoy writing down their thoughts and experiences.
Enrich your child's pretend play by making sabertooth masks together. Start with a blank mask from a craft store or create your own by cutting eye and nose holes in a paper plate and attaching a length of string on either side. Offer your child an assortment of non-toxic paint colors that she can use to paint in the sabertooth's features, including the fearsome fangs. Smilodon was not striped like a modern tiger, so look for sabertooth pictures in books or online if your kiddo wants a more realistic look.
As your budding scientist learns more about sabertooth tigers, she may want to display her research in a creative way. Ask her to make a sabertooth tiger book with an illustration and one fact about Smilodon on each page. Or she can draw a poster representing a sabertooth habitat or food chain. Invite her to transform a shoe box into a prehistoric diorama with paint and markers.
Show your child how to make familiar games with a sabertooth theme. To create a memory match game, ask her to draw different parts of the prehistoric beast on index cards, such as fangs, tail and ears. Have her draw each part twice, creating a matched pair. Shuffle and place the cards face down to play. Or ask her to draw a sabertooth tiger on a blank puzzle and then work together to reassemble the puzzle. Change "Simon Says" into "Smilodon Says" and ask your child to do things a sabertooth tiger might do, such as stalking prey, hiding in the tall grass or drinking from a river.
Make sabertooth tiger puppets with your child using lunch-sized brown paper bags and construction paper. Turn the bag upside down with the rectangle that is meant to be the bottom of the bag facing you. Have your child draw the eyes and nose on this rectangle, and tape half circles of construction paper to the top as ears. Tape long thin triangles of paper to the bottom of the rectangle to create fangs -- don't tape the flap closed, as this will become the mouth. Invite your child to put her hand into the bag and put on a prehistoric puppet show for you.
Party activities can double as take home treats with jungle themed crafts. Make animal masks using paper plates, wooden craft sticks, glue, construction paper and scissors. Use brown paper bags, scissors and markers to make safari vests. Hunt animals with homemade binoculars made by attaching two toilet paper rolls side-by-side, looping a piece of yarn through the top for a strap and decorating them as desired.
Give guests an edible treat to enjoy later. Fill plastic baggies with animal crackers, gummy snakes or sour banana shaped candies and seal them with personalized bag toppers. Or, make cake pops decorated like monkeys, tigers or gorillas, then wrap them in plastic wrap and tie each one off with a thematic ribbon. You can also decorate jungle themed cupcakes and place them in personal sized boxes.
If traditional is more your style, fill the goodie bags with an assortment of jungle themed trinkets and toys. Items might include toy compasses, plastic, inflatable, stuffed or grow animals, key chains, tattoos, stickers, stampers, miniature safari jeeps, erasers, bookmarks, folding fans, animal clappers or animal candy dispensers.
Safari Wear and Accessories
If your guests are more into dressing up, select clothing and accessory designs that feature jungle animals for younger guests and animal print items for older crowds. Ideas include bandanas, coin purses, cosmetic bags, cinch sacks, headbands and hats. Pajama pants, socks or pillowcases are great choices for a sleepover. Or, design a one-of-a-kind party T-shirt to give guests, such as “I survived the jungle at Tyler’s 8th birthday bash.”
For a luau-theme container other than the typical paper or plastic bag, try a beach bag or sand bucket for holding all of the goodies. A basket with a bamboo look is another functional favor container for the kids' luau. Personalize the baskets with each child's name using markers or stickers.
The distinct attire at a luau offers inspiration for party favors. Let each young party guest look like a hula dancer by including a grass skirt and lei in the party favor bag. Offer up the party treats at the beginning of the beach bash so the kids get into the luau spirit. Another option for a wearable favor is a pair of custom flip flops for each guest. Buy inexpensive flip flops in bright colors for each child. Hot glue a Hawaiian-style artificial flower where the straps meet between the toes.
Make and Take Projects
Craft projects that kids make at the party can double as favors when they head home. You keep the kids entertained and they get a keepsake. A homemade lei is a simple kids' luau craft. Cut out flowers from paper with a hole punched in the middle and pieces of drinking straw about 1 inch long. The kids alternate the flowers and straw pieces on a string. A decorated picture frame is another option. Let each child decorate a frame cut from cardboard with items such as sand, sea shells, tropical flowers and the grass from hula skirts. Take a photo of each child at the party and print the pictures from your home computer. Each guest goes home with a framed photo to remember the luau.
Themed Toys and Gear
Little toys and gadgets related to luaus and beaches are ideal additions to the gift bag. Beach balls, sunglasses and sunscreen fit the theme and prepare your guests for a day in the sun. Snag cups decorated with hula dancers or tikis. Colored sand craft kits give the guests something to do when they get home. Any small items, such as notepads, pens, yoyos and decks of cards with tropical flowers or beach decorations can round out the gift bag contents.
Decorate the paper with whatever crafting materials you desire to create an engaging design on the paper. As you decorate, designate one long side of the paper to become the top of the bag, especially if you opt to write guests' names on the bags. Allow any decorations to dry completely.
Orient the paper with the wrong side facing upward and the top edge of the bag on top. Measure 2 inches and 4 inches in from the left edge and make marks at these points. Repeat the same process from the right edge of the bag. Fold and crease the bag at these points and unfold. This creates the sides of the bag.
Measure up 2 inches from the bottom edge of the bag. Fold and crease the bag at this point and unfold. This creates the bottom of the bag.
Bring the left and right edges of the bag toward the center with the decorated side facing out. Overlap the edges by approximately 1 inch. Glue this overlapped edge securely and allow the glue to dry.
Lay the glued bag so the bottom is closest to you. Collapse the bag by folding the sides in to make it flat.
Fold the bottom corners of the bag up to meet the fold line you created previously, located 2 inches from the bottom edge of the paper. Crease these triangle folds and unfold them.
Uncollapse the bag and fold the bottom edges to the inside along the triangle fold lines. This creates two flaps at the bottom of the bag, one on top and one on the bottom. Crease these folds to make them neat.
Fold the top flap down and the bottom flap up on the bottom of the bag. Glue the flaps securely and allow the glue to dry.
Things You Will Need
- Crafting materials (stamps and inkpads, markers, paints, glitter glue and sequins)
- 8.5-by-11-inch paper
- Glue stick
The 8.5-by-11-inch paper makes a small goodie bag, ideal for a few tiny trinkets. To make a larger goodie bag, use a sheet of of 11-inch by 17-inch paper. Make 4-inch and 6-inch folds from the right and left edges of the paper. Fold the bottom edge of the paper up 3 inches. Use scrapbooking paper or wrapping paper in designs and colors that match your party theme instead of decorating the paper. Make bags with white paper and allow children to decorate the goodie bags.
Party Favor Bags
Make your child's birthday party favors completely biodegradable by handing them out in eco-friendly bags. While cellophane or plastic goodie bags are here to stay, you can swap the standards out for a biodegradable version. Biodegradable bags might look like the regular versions, but are made from alternative sources such as plants and vegetable oils. Look for the ASTM D6400 specification certification that states that the bag is certified as compostable. If you can't find a bag that matches your child's party theme, go with a plain lunch-sack type version and add your own design with food coloring or vegetable-based paints.
Why give your child's party guests a party favor that they simply toss out when they get home? Instead of choosing plastic toys or a similar favor, opt for plant life. Toss a few seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin varieties into a biodegradable bag and give the kids instructions on what to do with them when they go home. Another option is to give each child a seeding that is already started and ready to transfer into a bigger pot or the backyard.
Filling a party favor bag with sugary sweet candy might delight the kids, but those plastic wrappers won't biodegrade. Between the birthday cake and other refreshments such as cupcakes and cookies your child and her friends are sure to get more than enough sugar during the party. Send the kids home with a goodie bag stocked with foods that are good for them. Choose a medley of traditional and completely biodegradable fruits such as apples, pears and bananas. For a slightly more exotic feel, pack the party favor bag with mangoes, Asian pears and kiwi or go with a mix of dried coconut, apricots and banana chips.
Not all toys are made from plastic. You can choose a few favors that are made from bioplastic -- a corn-based, biodegradable, PVC-free alternative material -- such as Zoe B's beach toys. These plastic-like toys will slowly break down over the course of several years instead of sticking around for centuries. Another easy, and less pricey option, is to send the guests home with biodegradable balloons. Look for balloons, or water balloons, that are made from biodegradable latex.