Going green isn’t just for adults. I know many elementary and middle-school aged children who pester their parents about their lack of environmental concern.
I’m mindful of our environment, and appalled at the amount of junk (and money) that I threw away after my daughter’s birthday parties (and we’ve only had two so far). I’m convinced that gift wrap and toy packaging alone is enough to drive any parent crazy.
So it just makes sense to me, in today’s environment, that nearly every parent must be searching for eco-friendly birthday party ideas for kids. I know I am — and I was surprised — there isn’t a whole lot of information out there. But, when you think about it, it’s pretty much just common sense.
Here are just a few ideas on how to green your child’s next birthday party:
- Make your own invitations, or consider a seeded invitation. Even better for Mother Earth, use email invites.
- Encourage guests to adapt their gift to fit your green theme. You can do this in a number of ways. Suggest gently used toys or books; request donations to a significant cause in your child’s life; or ask for gifts that can be given to a charity of your child’s choice (for example, a pet shelter).
- Encourage any wrapping to be recycled or reusable. Think newspaper, brown bags (that your kids decorate, of course), reusable containers, fabric or pillowcases.
- Let Mother Nature do your decorating and host your party outdoors. If you’re game for hosting a sleepover, you could even let them camp outside. A scavenger hunt or picnic can be fun for all ages.
- If seasonality doesn’t allow for an outdoor party, consider a cooking party, where guests can take home the healthy dish that they prepare with friends.
- Make your own pinata. I did this with my two-year old; we had a blast, and you can choose the contents.
- Incorporate a craft project into the party, and allow kids to take their creation home with them. Using quick-dry glue, you can create felt hats – for wizards, princesses and more – that they can take home with them. Consider painting pots (see below).
- Instead of disposable decorations such as streamers, try reusable ribbon, scarves, or beads. Light the room with natural candles, and choose for banners or signs that can be used in other celebrations.
- Serve lunch in individual reusable containers that they can take home with them as party favors.
- Set up and label recycling bins for guests (keep the smallest guests in mind!) to use.
- Consider Japanese-style paper balloons in place of the latex, helium-filled kind.
- For party favors, consider a take-home craft project, a seed packet for those painted pots, or . If you must buy something adorable to stick in a bag, consider buying it from an independent retailer or local artist.
I think there are ways you can still incorporate your child’s latest obsession using these green ideas. Whatever you choose to do, remember most importantly to have fun, eat lots of cake and take lots of pictures (or, as I am prone to do, enlist folks to help you out).
Have some green ideas of your own? Share them with us in comments!
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