Bag O' Fun Gift Bag

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Want to create the one perfect gift that might be the cheapest one you ever bought? This one was the biggest hit at my son's birthday party, and it's a great idea for all of the kids on your list this year. Thanks to my dad who took gift baskets to the next level, the Big Bag O Fun was invented, and it lights up kids' eyes.

The Great Big Bag

The first essential element of the gift is the bag. You'll need a large duffle-style laundry bag, found at most discount stores. Crafty gift-givers can sew their own from two yards of fabric. There is no wrapping needed for this gift; this bag is it, so make it count.

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Remember being young and seeing the biggest gift under the tree? Remember the excitement? When deciding between the large and extra-large duffle bags, tap into this memory and buy the extra large bag.

Not only is the bag the wrapping, but it's part of the gift. It makes a great sleepover bag for a blanket, jammies, a toy, and maybe even a pillow. Other options are to use it to organize a toy room, to use it for storage, or to use it as a laundry bag.

The Stuffing

This is the true gift, and it's basic. Brainstorm the perfect place to find a bagful of toys for the littlest amount of money. You'll want a variety of items that offer a variety of instant activities. Unlike the typical gift basket, this is an oversized gift bag, so make the toys big and fun. Go beyond the typical crayons and coloring books and think hulahoops and balloon punching bags.

Some stuffer ideas:

  • styrofoam airplanes
  • cap guns
  • plastic figures (army men, animals)
  • bubbles
  • posters to color
  • dress up items
  • inflatable toys (palm trees, punching gloves, beach balls)
  • face paint
  • Mardi Gras beads
  • boas
  • silly string

Hours of Fun

Budget some time for opening the bag. My son took almost an hour to pull everything out of his duffle bag. The excitement of the never-ending bag is part of the gift. Each item inside should offer instant play, and this should be encouraged.

Think of it this way. Twenty dollars never went so far. If the bag costs $6, fourteen fun gifts from the dollar aisle can be packed inside. What kid wouldn't be thrilled with that?

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June 2, 20080 found this helpful

Excellent - and best of all, none of those ideas has a screen. Imagination gets a chance to bloom. I'm very in favor of this smart idea.

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June 3, 20080 found this helpful

Why limit this to children? I will be using this idea for a wedding shower with a kitchen theme. The bag will become a laundry bag. Thanks for a good idea.

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June 3, 20080 found this helpful

I have done this before with my grandchildren. Bubbles are always a big hit! Playdough (you can even make your own and use a cute little plastic tub), silly putty, balloons, little cars, whistles, all kinds of stuff you can pick up in a dollar store! I have done this with wedding showers and wrap the giftees in bathroom towels and tie a bow on it!

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October 5, 20080 found this helpful

I do something similar for my daughter's friends. These girls are older though - 11, 12. All but the candy is on clearance at Target. I buy a smaller but cute bag or even a large funky purse. A t-shirt with a funny saying or cute design, a pair of funky earrings or a belt, and box of theater size candy (dollar stores carry this too). I try very hard for all items to match as closely as possible, even the box of candy.

One girl everything had polka dots and of course, dots candy. Another everything had purple in it and the candy was a purple box. They often use the bags for overnights or the beach and swimming pool. Now that I've done a year of this we're trying to come up with a new idea. The top one is possibly a large plastic bowl filled with micro popcorn, a dvd, theater candy, a bottle of pop, and maybe a gift card to a movie rental store. It's almost as much fun for us to come up with the gifts as it is for the girls to receive them!

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