Eco Birthday Party for our 6 Year Old
Having just wrapped up an eco birthday party for my six year old, I'm excited to share some photos of our green birthday party celebration. By making more environmentally friendly choices at your next birthday party you'll be passing on an important message to your children and the families that participate in your special day. You'll likely even find that you can save money in the process! I hope our day will help inspire some creative, earth-friendly green party ideas, and you'll learn how fun and rewarding being green really can be.
For my daughter's 6th birthday party we decided to have our party at a gym where my daughter enjoys Taekwondo. While there are lots of fun & free places to host an eco birthday party, we decided on a rented venue for two reasons. First, our home is small, and the thought of 10 children and their parents all cooped up in a 10x10 space doesn't appeal to me. If it wasn't a cold and wintery March birthday party, we would have considered outdoor options. Secondly, we do not plan on having a birthday party event at a venue every year with our girls. In fact, we've already discussed that next year my daughter will choose two of her friends to celebrate her special day at home or at a movie, rather than a full-out birthday party event.
Our gym party was simply fabulous for keeping the children busy and active with good old fashioned party games such as "duck, duck, goose", relay races and obstacle courses set up for the kids. If you have a large enough home or basement, or plan your party during favorable weather, this could easily be done without the additional cost of renting a space for your eco birthday party.
I was determined not to waste money on frivolous throwaway decorations, and yet I'll fully admit to having a severe case of spring fever. Since this was an early March birthday party and the 4 feet of snow out my window was starting to get me down, I wanted to bring a taste of spring indoors. I also happen to be an avid lover of plants, and in taking a look around my home, we founds some perfect bits of greenery to add to our eco friendly party table. Best of all, they didn't cost a thing!
|Not your typical junk food party|
The summery tablecloth is one I've owned for a few years. A reusable table cloth is long-lasting, eco friendly, and generally much prettier than the plastic, throwaway varieties. Paired with our reusable felt birthday banner that will be used for years to come, my six year old was thrilled with her pink and girly "green" birthday party table.
For a little extra splash of colour on the table I borrowed some tin flower pots our girls had in their playroom. These were the loot bags we sent home for my daughter's birthday party last year. Re-purposed as table decorations, I stuck a pink napkin in each one, and added more plant cuttings. Voila! A perfect spring table all made from reusable, eco friendly birthday party decorations.
|Our reusable birthday banner will be cherished for years to come.|
Cupcakes are easily distributed among party guests and they're also easy for little ones to eat. We've found serving cupcakes on napkins is generally accepted, yet when it comes to cake, you pretty much have to serve this on a plate using utensils. So we've always made homemade cupcakes for birthday parties. This year we decided to create a stand using recycled cardboard boxes to set the cupcakes on. What a simple, pretty centerpiece, and it didn't cost us a thing!
|A cardboard cupcake stand is perfect for a green birthday party.|
One area parents often struggle with when planning their green birthday party is, what to do about the gifts? Not only is the garbage from multiple gifts excessive, but your family may have different ideas of what makes an appropriate gift than other parents. The tattooed barbie doll and makeup kit presented to my little girl at her 5th birthday party was enough to make me change our gift-giving policy for birthday parties from here on out.
When we started discussing birthday party ideas with my daughter for her upcoming 6th birthday party, one of the caveats to having all of her friends together for a party would be that she would not have gifts from all of them. I assured her she would still be getting presents from us and her grandparents, so she seemed to reason well enough that that would mean a good number of gifts. We discussed a book swap as well as donations as gifts for a charity. Ultimately, for simplicities sake, we decided on a 'no gift' policy for this particular party. Surprisingly that was pretty much the end of that conversation, as we went on to discuss decorations, games and loot bags.
I was worried parents might not take the words printed on our invitations to heart. "Please no gifts. We appreciate your understanding." was all that I added. The result was actually quite heart-warming. Every child that came to our green birthday party was not empty-handed. Rather than a traditional gift, each child had spent time and creative effort into producing a special card or drawing just for the party girl. My daughter was very proud of her collection of cards at the end of the party, all of which are now on display in her bedroom as a reminder of the fun she shared with her friends.
|My 6 year old adored the happy birthday wishes presented to her.|
Birthday party loot bags don't have to be filled with disposable dollar-store items. I was a bit nervous at how my less than conventional eco party idea for loot bags would go over, but it turns out I didn't need to worry. Both the children and parents were thrilled with our green party favors. We sent each child home with a reusable Itzy Ritzy snack bag filled with plain organic air-popped popcorn (no added salt or preservatives - we don't eat the microwaved stuff!). The children were thrilled to have popcorn to go home with, and surprisingly the parents were just as excited to receive the reusable lunch bags as the children were.
|Thinking outside of the bag for eco friendly party bags.|
While I generally always have our family's impact on the environment on my mind (it's what I do for a living, after all), this was the first time I set a goal to create the least amount of trash as possible at our eco birthday party. I'm very proud of the amount of trash we manage to avoid with a few carefully thought out pre-party preparations. We set up a pail with a sign labeled "Compost Only. Cups, dishes, napkins and cutlery okay!" so that all of our biodegradable, compostable dinnerware would be diverted back to our compost system rather than the landfills. The only garbage generated from our party: two coffee cup lids brought in by parents dropping off their children, and two plastic wrappers from the cracker box we opened and finished for snacks.
|Heading home to compost. Even the utensils are biodegradable!|
An Eco Birthday Party to Remember
Birthday parties can be such a tremendous expression of waste and consumption. These aren't actions I want my children to identify with the joy and celebration of their parties. So rather than nurture this association we chose a different path for this birthday party. I couldn't have been happier with the result, and my 6 year old doesn't feel as though she missed a thing.
If this photo of the birthday girl is any indication, you'll see you certainly don't need the latest characters or cartoons to make a birthday party fun and exciting for a child. A few friends, a few games and some ribbons in her hair (recycled from a previous birthday gift!), and I've got a happy six year old. With a budget friendly, green birthday party, I'm a happy mom.
|A happy birthday girl at her eco party.|