Create a simple grab bag game for Christmas or your next party. Try it to change up the way you do party favor bags or gift exchanges at your events. In this game, everyone is a winner! That’s what makes it perfect for all ages.
Growing up, there were always loot bag (also known as treat bags or party favors) at our birthday parties. It’s something that I continued doing for my own kids, but I noticed that over the years, they became more expected and seemingly less appreciated by party guests.
That’s when I began to think of new ways to incorporate that into the event. Sometimes, that meant having an epic Put Away Scavenger Hunt and having the treat bags be the prize at the end of the hunt. This was usually somewhere like in the dryer when they returned the dryer balls or in the garage when they returned the wrench.
Setting up a homemade prize punch game is another twist to the usual favor bags.
This grab bag game is another idea that keeps the favor bags exciting and memorable.It also creates another party activity that helps pass the time. And if you’re a parent, you know that that can be a very important thing on those party days!
I’ve also included suggestions below on how to adapt the game for adults and how to create a Christmas grab game game or gift exchange version.
How to Play the Grab Bag Game:
- Brown paper bags
- Permanent marker
- Small treats or toys (see list of suggestions for bag fillers below)
- Put a pile of treats on the floor or in a tray on the table.
- Write names on brown paper bags in black marker and put the bags in a circle around the pile down so that names are showing.
- Have each person sit in front of their bag.
- Take turns rolling the dice.
- When you roll doubles, you get to pick a treat from the pile and add it to the bag with your name on it.
- When all the treats are gone, the game is over.
- Everyone gets to keep their bag filled with treats.
Variations of the game:
- For teens and adults, you can play so that on your turn if you don’t roll doubles, the dice pass to the next person. When playing with younger kids, it’s usually best to let everyone continue rolling until they get doubles and then continue on.
- Tailor the prizes to the theme of the party. For instance if you’re hosting a dinosaur themed birthday party, you can choose dinosaur shaped candy, dino figurines, dino crayons, dino temporary tattoos, etc. You can also use coloured paper bags that coordinate with the party’s colours to go along with the theme and decorations.
Grab Bag Gift Exchange Game:
To play this as a gift exchange game, have each party guest bring one or two items to add to the pile. You can give them a suggested dollar limit or even request that all the gifts be along the same lines such as all gift cards or all books, socks, or holiday ornaments.
The first person to roll doubles will get first dibs on what they most want in the treat pile. The game continues until all the gifts have been taken.
This may of course result in some guests walking away with multiple gifts while others get none. For this reason, this version of the game is best played with adults. It creates a frantic race to roll doubles and lots of hilarious ribbing back and forth!
Christmas Grab Bag Game:
It’s easy to create a Christmas version of this game. At your holiday party, you can play either the gift exchange version of this game or the regular version. Make it more festive by using Christmas candy or Christmas themed gifts.
You can decorate brown paper bags with Christmas drawings or stickers or you can use red and green paper bags to add even more of a holiday feel.
The great thing about this game is that you can include anyone from preschoolers to grandparents.
List of suggested favors for kids:
- small figurines
- toy cars
- temporary tattoos
- spinning tops
- costume jewelry
- silly straws
- slap bracelets
- stretchy animals
- sensory items
- fidget toys
- mini flashlights
List of suggested favors for teens and adults:
- gift cards
- nail polish
- face mask packets
- playing cards
- gardening seeds
- homemade or store bought soap
- cookie cutters
- coffee mugs
- reusable water bottles
- lip chap
- wooden or metal logic puzzles
- headlamp toques/beanies
Suggested favors for Christmas:
- any of the items on the above lists
- candy canes
- hot chocolate packets
- hand warmers
- Christmas ornaments
- Christmas decorations
- hot chocolate bombs
- Christmas crackers
- holiday cookie cutters
- holiday baking
- pinecone fire starters
- snowman bath bombs
- ugly Christmas sweaters
Get your free printable Christmas Gift Exchange Dice Game.