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The Green Bash: An Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Birthday Party for Kids!

ExpertsPost Category - ExpertsExperts

Here’s a fact: Kids’ birthday parties generate a lot of trash. Wrapping paper, disposable plates and cups, napkins, tablecloths, birthday cards, balloons, favors and so many other items add up to several bags of garbage. On top of it, kids are hyped up on sugary birthday cake and get lots of toys that they just don’t need. And it’s exactly these things that make every birthday party an exciting occasion for your child. Nothing gets this mom cringing more than the thought of a conventional party so here are some tips to help you reduce both the budgetary and environmental costs while still making your child feel extra special for the day!

The key is to combine green values with party themes that kids love. So what makes a birthday party a birthday party? Let’s start from the top.

If you are going to send or hand out invites, they should be from sustainable types of paper. There are seeded invitations where each piece of paper is embedded with a mixture of wild flower seeds. You could choose the tree-free paper option. Tree-free paper is paper that is made without any cuttings from trees, directly or indirectly. Instead, the paper is made from more sustainable materials. You could also choose to turn the invitation process into a manual activity with your child by purchasing some recycled paper and making your own invitations. If you want to go completely paper-free, use online invites instead. You’ll save on paper and postage and it’s an easy way for other busy parents to reply. Either email families directly or use websites like Evite or Paperless Post.

Offer reusable, kid-friendly dishes, utensils, tablecloths and napkins. Use construction paper instead of a tablecloth so the kids can draw on it with crayon rocks or any other alternative made from soy wax. If you must use disposable then go for Preserve Tableware disposable. They are made from 100% recycled paper and are even dishwasher safe! And opt for biodegradable cutlery. Many varieties are now available made with materials ranging from cornstarch to potatoes and even grasses. They break down fully in composts or landfills, removing all green guilt!

There are also a lot of green options for decorations. Minimize the eco-hazard décor, such as balloons, foil banners and plastic trinkets. Use recycled paper to make banners and party hats, which the little people can color, paint, and stick stickers on themselves. Prepare hand-made tissue paper flowers with your children beforehand to decorate the table and cake. Finally, Japanese style paper balloons are a great eco-friendly substitute to regular balloons.

If you have goodie bags, then ditch the plastic and go with fabric! And what should go in the goodie bags? Maybe some natural wood toys, some homemade play dough, some seeds to plant and watch grow, organic gummy bears or jelly beans made with natural fruit juice or even homemade treats.

Avoid take-out food since it’s one of the biggest contributors to waste. The packaging, plastic utensils, small packets of condiments, cups, napkins and plates from the take-out can create more waste than a family of four in two weeks. Instead, make your own food. Bypass the sugar-laden frosted, decorated birthday cake, candy favors and sugary drinks and consider healthier alternatives. Bake low or natural sugar cookies and cakes made with whole wheat (or gluten-free) flour, flax and oats. Turn fruits, vegetables and other wholesome foods into kid-friendly finger food. Sideline the artificially colored, sugary drinks and fill pitchers up with 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice. Don’t forget that single-serving beverages like juice boxes & bottled water create lots of waste.

Does your child really need a dozen more toys? Though giving gifts is part of the birthday party fun, shredding paper and boxes for an overkill of playthings isn’t beneficial for your child or the environment. To avoid all these waste pitfalls, you can request that guests participate in a donation in lieu of a bunch of individual gifts, this way your child gets something that they want and guests are spared the hassle of shopping for a gift. Or you could have guests bring items to support a local charity or receive donations for a designated organization.

If guests do decide to bring gifts, then don’t deprive your child of the fun of unwrapping gifts, simply ask guests to bring their eco-friendly gifts wrapped in newspaper, fabric or reusable gift bags. You could even turn it into a game by designating on the party invitations that the greenest gift wrapping will win a prize.

Some of the best-loved party games require little or no materials. Hopscotch, musical chairs, capture the flag, charades, manual activities and baking for example require minimal supplies and have engaged party goers for generations.

So are you ready to throw a green birthday party bash? Even if you can’t manage to make every aspect of the celebration earth-friendly, know that even small changes make the world a healthier place. And really, a better planet is the best birthday gift you can give your child!

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