Any Suggestions for Class Goodie Bags for Older Kids That Aren't a Waste?

Updated on September 09, 2012
P.H. asks from Fleming Island, FL
20 answers

My son turned 11 today, and he was told he can bring in goodie bags for his class of 25 kids on Monday. I hate buying silly things at party stores that seem babyish for his age and that other moms groan when seeing because it's all clutter that they'll end up throwing away. Does anyone have a suggestion for something for each child that they can really use, that's cool, and that won't break the bank? It's a tall order, I know, and I appreciate your help! I have only one day to shop--lol! Help! I'd assumed that the goodie bag madness would stop by this age!

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So What Happened?

Many thanks for all of the great suggestions. I also appreciated those who pointed out that these types of celebrations will be over by middle school, which is only a year away for my son. When I looked at it as a sweet thing to do and a reminder of a more innocent time, it was a heck of a lot more fun. I definitely needed an attitude adjustment! We ended up finding huge erasers that said "For BIG Mistakes" on the top. They were oversized versions of the standard pink eraser, and my son said the kids loved them. We put in mini bags of swedish fish and sour patch kids (Just two each--very small so moms wouldn't get too upset about sugar overload) and cool pencils. Thanks again for all of the help!

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answers from Chicago on

the kids I nanny for stop doing class goody bags in 4th grade. instead they donate books to the teachers library and inside the kids get to write donated by and their names. other than that the only thing I would suggest is skipping goody bags and just send a treat like a rice crispy treat

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would go with pencils or erasers. That's school-related and something every kid can use, boy or girl.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

He was told by who?
Check with the school yourself before buying anything. Kids often bring home a whole lot of misinformation. He can always take it in a day later.
Maybe they are suggesting this instead of treats, because of allergies?
If that's the case I would just go with unisex pencils (like rainbow prism or something) and stickers.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Pencils, erasers, things like that? Tiny spiral notebook? Check the dollar section at Target.... they often have stuff for goodie bags that might be appropriate. I would avoid anything that is more like a "toy", since they may become a distraction during class... (unless he passes them out just before school is released for the day....)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Well, why do you have to bring them in? We never did goody bags in class when I was in school, nor have I seen the kids at DD's school do it. It's just too much, IMO. Does your child want to bring these in? Or is because you're feeling a little parental peer pressure to do it? Or, are you not doing a party, so this is your way of making it up to him? I've never heard of this trend, so I'm not sure what to get. The kids seem a little old for goody bags, honestly. I would forgo them.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

A bottle of Izzy and a bag of microwave popcorn for each.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Don't worry, it'll be done after this year as they wouldn't be caught dead doing this in middle school! (Makes me kind of sad to think that this is our last year of elementary :( Anyway, food is a sure hit. Prepackaged twinkies, cupcakes, rice crispy treats, popcorn, or chips. The less healthy the more popular.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Candy is always a big hit at any age and it may not even make it home:).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

A goodie bag in sixth grade? Even DD's preschool only does a special snack (like cupcakes). So...if he wants to bring in something, you can get water bottles, or ask if you can bring in ice cream or some other treat (even HS kids like candy) or look and see what might be fun from the Target $1 section (girls are easier...there's a ton of girly things there).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Well my daughter is in 5th grade, and some of the kids are turning 11.
What the kids like... are those Fruit roll ups things... "Fruit By The Foot." They also like brownies, from Costco. Its good.
They also like, Popcorn, in ziplock bags.
They also like, Popsicles.

I would not buy "toy" type goody bags... but food, snack type things that they can EAT.

OR if you want something useful, then those "Japanese Food Erasers" are a big hit... here in my State. You can find it online. Kids, both boys and girls, LOVE those and collect it.
And kids always need, erasers.

Or they also like those "Gelly Roll" pens. You can buy it in a multipack, break up the pack, and put a single one in each bag.

Yes, as I said, my daughter is in 5th grade. Some of the kids... DO still bring birthday food type treats for their class... or goody bags still. BUT the Teacher does not TELL the child to do it, nor does the Teacher instigate it. It is the child... or the parent... that decides. It is their, choice. And if a parent or child wants to do that, the Teacher allows it. As long as it is not nuts because the school is a nut-free school.

As for the goody-bag "madness"... no, at my daughter's school it is not madness. And this is the last year of elementary school before the 5th graders go onto, middle school. That is how it is per grades here. Anyway, so although I myself generally do not do goody bags... being this is my daughter's LAST year of Elementary school, for her Birthday this year, I will bring some brownies for her class. It is just sentimental... before she goes onto Middle School, and therefore, these cute kid things, will then be non-existent! And kids at that age won't even want... you around! So why not? My kiddo is only in 5th grade... and the kids in her grade are still very nice kids mostly... not miniature "teen" mode kids who disdain kid, things. Yet. They, from what I observe, still have a gaiety about... birthday treats and what not. Its nice to see. Kids, being kids.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I would do a Rice Krispie Treat, a Fruit Roll-Up and a Kool-aid Jammer.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I would do a football theme with whatever team he likes....if I were doing it I would get a Steeler pencil, some black and gold m&ms and maybe other football themed candy or cookies, and maybe a couple trading cards and put them in a clear treat bag with some black and yellow "straw" and tie with a twistie.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Wow, I'm surprised the goody bag madness hasn't stopped!
Is he in 6th grade ? If so, I am VERY surprised to hear a teacher make a comment like that. It would not be said here. Perhaps in elementary school... but not middle school.
If your son is still in elementary school, then maybe your son's teacher just knows that kids' parents bring stuff, and is trying to head off what you bring (i.e., by saying "goody bags" she is avoiding snacks/treats).

IF he is in middle school, I don't think I would send ANYTHING.
If he is still elementary, then I would if my son wanted me to. Sometimes, they don't like the added attention. I can't really think of anything that fits what you are looking for. Anything I can think of would either be cost prohibitive for 25 kids, or the teacher would probably hold until the end of the day to give out (to keep them from playing with it in class)... and I don't see the point really, in giving them something as they walk out the door to go home. And unless there is time in the day carved out to spend 5 minutes "celebrating", I really don't see the point. That's why cupcakes/food treats work so well from the celebratory standpoint... the kids get a few minutes of a "break" to enjoy your son's birthday. Giving them a bag/toy that they can't play with and can only take home doesn't give them any immediate reason to celebrate.
(obviously, we adults don't celebrate birthdays for what WE get out of it, but these are KIDS and pretty much, yeah... that's why they like their friends' birthdays).
Just my 2 cents.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Since our school was undergoing renovations, the older kids were out in trailers...I found a GREAT deal on camel back sports bottles, pencils, erasers and composition books...

The kids got the water bottles they wanted for the classrooms, and things they could use either for a summer journal or whatever!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Instead of goodie bags, we just bring a cake or in my son's case, ice cream sandwiches for the whole class.. we dropped the stuff off at lunch time.. the ice cream was a hit.. Our local grocery store had the ice cream on sale.. The other thing is a 2 foot long deli sandwich.... (it's a fun novelty idea) for which the kids seem amused can have the deli add different things in the event that not every kid likes the same thing..

good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You can go to staples and get each child a pencil and a eraser or a pencil box 25 cents, or a pencil sharpener or a glue stick. But I think you don't need to buy each kid something. Maybe by the class something and give it to the teacher for your sons birthday. A read aloud book: a book for the library or some hand sanitizer.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I usually don't read responses before replying, but this time I did. In our school district (I believe it's a state regulation), no food allowed. If it is, it would suggest a baked treat that travels well and is individually packaged, like a rice krispie bar.


As for a traditonal goodie bag or gift ....
box of crayons
colored pencils
activity book - like word find

these are things that sold well at the middle school book fairs that kids might like...
fun eraser
book marks
fancy/goofy pen

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

"I assumed that the goodie bag madness would STOP by this age".

So STOP it already. Goodie bags for 25 eleven year olds will be expensive. Take some bakery cup cakes (school may not approve home made) or a nice cake from COSTCO, SAM's club, could also take some individual ice creams cups (the kind that have the spoon on top, some napkins.

This kind of celebration shouldn't take up too much class room time.

A party for your child does not have to include every member of the class, have a private party on a non school day with just a few of his good friends.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think a bottle of water, pen, and small notebook.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Huntsville on

I used to make rice krispy treats or brownies. They are always very popular. :)

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