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Eco Friendly Birthday Party Ideas

Here’s a fact: Birthday parties generate a lot of trash! There are wrapping papers, disposable plates and cups which are not necessarily biodegradable, paper towels, birthday cards, balloons and the list goes on! You can do your part in helping Mother Earth in many ways, and one of it is making birthday parties (and any other celebration!) as eco-friendly as possible. You’ll also be saving some green in your wallet too! Here’s how…

Invitations

Well, in the beginning, there are invitations to send out! One of the easiest tips for a green party in this area is to use the internet for online invites instead of having a part in wasting precious resources through paper invitations. You’ll also be saving on postage as well. Still, if you do somehow prefer a touch of tradition in your invites, try printing out invitations from recycled paper instead. After printing them out, involve the kids in personalising each card with colour pencils, etc. Hand deliver the cards to nearby addresses and mail the rest!

Do away with too many disposables!

Nowadays, when you think of children’s parties, you can’t help thinking about disposable plates, napkins, tablecloths, cups and even cutlery that get tossed away after just one use. What a waste of money and natural resources! Rather than buying paper products, consider instead reusable, kid-friendly cups, plates and cutlery. Of course, some effort in doing the dishes will be needed, but think about the amount of trash you won’t be generating on your part!

Tip: Allocate a bin for leftovers on plates and another for the used dishes that need to be washed. That way, you can tackle them later and they won’t look so intimidating piled up in the kitchen sink!

Food

Sadly kids’ parties in these modern times have become synonymous with sugary foods that are loaded with saturated fats, but it need not be that way! Healthier, greener options for kids party foods are not as complicated as they sound. Here are some party ideas from cooking guru Jamie Oliver himself:

Set up a “Do it yourself“ food station, where your child can invite his or her guests to fill up their own pancakes, make their own tacos, etc. You could even have a pot of pasta and let them decide on which of your tasty home-made sauces they prefer! With a little planning ahead and a dash of creativity on your part, the possibilities are endless.

  • Get clever with the healthy stuff! A “Monster’s” power juice or “Princess Elsa” blueberry smoothie will always sound more enticing than just “healthy fruit juices. Set up your juicer/blender on a table and make them to order – just like in a juice bar!
  • Use natural colourants for home-made goodies. Color-intense foods such as beetroot, spinach and oranges, or a blend of colorful fruits like blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, pineapple and kiwis make great food dyes and they add delicious natural flavours to your home-made fare too! Whether you are dyeing an icing, making a smoothie, or making cake filling, you will be surprised how beautiful natural tints come out.
  • Home-made ice-lollies! These give you the chance to get really creative, using lots of different fruits or juices to create your own combination of goodness that the kids will love. There is no need to spend money on expensive trendy ice lollie moulds, either – Instead, try using old yoghurt pots – they work like a charm!
  • Cover fruits with chocolate! Melt some dark chocolate in a double boiler pan, dip peeled, halved bananas or other soft, kid-friendly fruits and let cool on a grease-proof paper.

Birthday cake fact

Store-bought birthday cakes come in disposable pans and cardboard boxes, generating unnecessary trash. Making your own, however, can be a much better choice and you also get to control the ingredients that go into the cake, which is especially important if you have guests with allergies!

Party drinks

Popular party choices such as juice boxes, bottled water and other single-serving beverages are known to create lots of waste, for they’re present in almost every kids’ party! Instead, fill a pitcher or two with home-made syrup, ice water or even milk and supply some sturdy plastic cups instead of paper cups. Creativity can also go a long way in party drinks! For example, labeling a large pitcher of drink as “Premium Fuel Tank” will surely add some excitement to the drink, as would allowing little guests to sprinkle a pinch of ‘Fairy dust’ into their drinks, from a bowl of coloured sugar.

Bid conventional goodie bags goodbye

It seems to be a trend for parents to offer goodie bags filled with candy and cheap toys! You don’t have to succumb to this especially if you care enough for your child, those little guests and yes, the earth too! You can still send guests home with a small token though. You could always substitute the normal offerings for a small paperback book or some art supplies for the goody bag. Tie up the treat in inexpensive bandanas and you’ll have the perfect party gift!

Greener party deco options

Fancy streamers and balloons are not cheap! Still they somehow seem to be firm favourites among parents planning a birthday party for their young ones. Balloon are also known to either pop or get popped before the party finishes, presenting choking hazards for small children. Greener, more kids-friendly alternatives would include use materials you already have at hand to create longer lasting decorations. Use recycled paper to make banners and party hats, which guests can color themselves.

Birthday presents

It might seem weird, but it is perfectly alright to request that no gifts are brought to the party if that is what you want to do. Instead, you can ask that everyone bring something to donate to a local charity or organization. When dealing with especially difficult relatives, you can try requesting that the gifts not be too extravagant or excessively wrapped.

Or you can let all the parents know that it’s going to be a ‘gift for all’ birthday party. This means that all the gifts received will be placed in a pile and every kid will get to pick one out to take home. This develops a sense of sharing and that everyone at the party is special. Kids go home happier too.

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