Host an Eco-Friendly Kid’s Party
Creating an eco-friendly party goes way beyond recycling gift wrap or reusing last year’s party streamers. Your child’s birthday may be the perfect time to teach about the importance of caring for the environment. You can use the the party as a way to demonstrate some simple, but effective, eco-friendly choices and explain how they benefit the world. Here are tips on how to turn your party ‘green.’
Invitations – Send a paper-free electronic invitation via email using www.evite.com or www.sendomatic.com. Or, if you prefer the tradition of sending paper invitations, select those made from 100% recycled paper (take a look at www.twistedlimbpaper.com) or from tree-free alternatives, such as coffee or banana byproducts (www.ecopaper.com). Make sure your invitation is recyclable. Avoid bright-colored, dark-colored, fluorescent or metallic papers, which cannot be recycled. Better yet, send your invitation on flower seed paper (www.flowerseedpaper.com) which has dozens of seeds embedded in it — after guests receive the invitation, they plant it in the ground and grow flowers! Or, even better, make your own plantable paper. No waste AND it enhances our world.
Tableware & Decorations – Use re-usable, washable plates, cups and silverware — yes, the ones in your kitchen cabinet. Or, if you must use disposable, buy compostable or biodegradable party tableware. Same with those party streamers and decorations. (Try the great selection at www.greenpartygoods.com.) How about using potted plants and flowers, instead of cut flowers, to decorate…and then send them home as party favors!
Party Food – Create party treats and drinks using organic produce and products. Shop local — browse through your farmers market and support your local growers. Create a fun buffet table using hollowed-out watermelons, melons and big crusty bread loaves as serving bowls. Offer drinks in coconut shells for a touch of nature. For the birthday cake, serve a healthy version of carrot cake — we don’t know many kids who’d snub cream cheese frosting!
In Lieu of Gifts – Come up with a worthy cause that resonates with your child’s interests. For instance, if your child loves animals, you can use this as a theme for the event, asking guests to bring donations for your local shelter instead of gifts. (Here are some local DFW no-kill shelters who have lots of donation ideas on their wish-lists: Operation Kindness, Humane Society’s Dog & Kitty City, DFW Humane Society, East Lake Pet Orphanage, and Lexee’s Legacy.) Or, ask guests to donate a toy to a child’s shelter or hospital instead of bringing them to your child.
Entertainment – Continue the eco-theme with entertainment that supports the conservation message. Live wildlife shows are a great way for young conservationists to meet animals close-up and to learn about their challenges in the wild (check the Association of Professional Wildlife Educators for a local company). or have a nature scavenger hunt in your local park, or a ‘garden party’ and let your guests plant your flower bed.
Party Favors – Avoid plastic party bags and the dollar store, plastic junk and candy. Use fabric gift bags from www.luckycrow.com or make your own with colorful fabric squares. Include things like goat soaps, organic snacks, a piece of fruit, a small wooden toy or home-made Play-Doh. Crystals, polished rocks, geodes, sea shells, etc., make wonderful treasures that children cherish. You can even make a pouch with organic hot chocolate or cookie mix and include directions to make it on a recycled card.
Thank You Notes – Forget the thank you notes and instead have your child give a unique, and environmentally-safe, token of thanks when the guests depart. One way to do this is by writing "Thanks for coming" message in silver ink on a dried leaf. (You can press and dry them yourself or buy a bag of dried leaves at a crafts store.)