How to Throw a Kids Party - Eco Style!
Everyone loves a good party, but party planning can be a tricky business!
There’s a long list of boxes to tick to get a party organised, not to mention the costs which add up all too quickly. And for kids parties the stakes are even higher: you have small people with big expectations to please!
Unfortunately the status quo for kids parties these days largely revolves around sugar and plastic - a model perpetuated at nearly every party they go to. It’s up to us "grown-ups" to set a better example. It is possible to throw a fun party that's better for both the kids and the planet!
Need some inspiration? Here are a few ideas on how to throw a kids party, eco style...
1. THE INVITES
Digital invitations allow you to save trees, time and money! (No stationery or postage costs required.) All you need to do is choose an online provider, select a theme or style, edit the details, add your guests’ email addresses and hit send for instant delivery!
Paper invitations are still a great option too: kids love to receive their own mail in the letter box! And there are so many talented artists who make beautiful stationery and are well worthy of supporting.
Etsy has a plethora of options, including templates you can download and print yourself. Just fill in the details, print them off, pop them in envelopes and into the nearest post box.
2. THE SCENE
You’ll need some decorations to spark that party vibe!
Balloons are usually the first decorations that come to mind: they're colourful and symbolise "Party happening here!"
But think beyond helium balloons - for a bunch of good reasons that you can read about in our blog post: Balloons Don't Fly Here. (The title of Zoos Victoria’s balloon awareness campaign pretty much sums it up: When Balloons Fly, Seabirds Die.)
There are plenty of other eco-friendly alternatives - decorations that can be reused or recycled, such as paper decorations and piñatas, paper or fabric bunting... Or consider investing in a bubble-making machine that can be used again and again!
Biodegradable confetti is a fun way to add a sprinkle of colour to a party table, or toss it to create a colourful photo opportunity!
Another way to add some visual fun to the party is to decorate the kids!
Face glitter is a BIG hit at Mermaid and Unicorn theme parties in particular. But traditional glitter is a nasty mass of micro-plastic so make sure you use a biodegradable glitter.
Bioglitter® in Celebration by The Glitter Tribe
Temporary tattoos are another fun body decoration option for kids parties. Mini body art that delights on party day, then naturally fades away after a few body washes.
Rainbow tattoos by Totally Innocent
3. THE TABLE
Think sustainably when shopping for party tableware: cups, plates, bowls, cutlery, straws, serviettes etc. Consider using a reusable set of plastic dining ware - or if you need the added convenience of disposable food and drink wares, opt for recyclable, compostable or biodegradable materials instead of plastic.
The Good Party Co's Kids' Eco-party Table Set
You can even make cleaning up more planet-friendly by opting for reusable dishcloths instead of paper towels. We love these biodegradable dish cloths by Australian biz RetroKitchen:
'Bunny' biodegradable dish cloth by Retrokitchen
4. THE CAKE
Kids love sugar... we humans are hard-wired to enjoy an occasional sweet treat! But feeding kids a mountain of refined sugar at a party is not strictly necessary, and it has the distinct disadvantage of creating a hyperactive tribe of wild things. The cutting of the birthday cake is the pinnacle of most parties - why not let them save their sweet tooth til then?!
Speaking of that all-important birthday cake - candles are another choice that you can #thinkgreen on. Beeswax is best! Paraffin wax is the cheapest material to make candles from. It’s a petroleum by-product - the grey sludge at the bottom of a barrel of petrol - which is then processed, bleached and coloured to be turned into candles. Additionally, commercially made birthday candles are often covered in glitter which are itty bitty bits of plastic. Who wants all that dripping onto their birthday cake?! Ew.
Beeswax candles on the other hand burn cleaner and brighter! (And no bees are harmed in their production.)
'Rainbow' beeswax birthday candles by Knot & Bow
5. THE GIFT
Most of the time it's hard to know what the birthday boy or girl would like to be gifted, so we just take a best guess and hope it's well received! This often leads to unwanted presents, which contributes to a culture of accumulating too much stuff.
A good idea is to give party attendees the option to contribute to a group present that's really wanted. This could be by optional contribution to the party host to organise its purchase, or via an online group gift organiser like GroupTogether or Group Prezzie.
Another eco-adverse aspect of gifting is the gift wrapping. Wrapping paper usually just gets ripped apart and discarded without much thought - and if it’s glittery it can’t even be recycled. Fabric wrap, on the other hand, can be recycled. Fabric can be used the same way as traditional wrapping paper, using string or ribbon to hold it in place. Or you can try your hand at some Furoshiki - the traditional Japanese style of wrapping with fabric using knots and bows. (It's quicker too - no need for sticky tape!)
'Marbles' reusable gift wrap by Hello Snowglobe
6. THE GOODY BAGS
Kids' party bags should be full of goodness, not junk!... from the outside in.
We recommend using recyclable paper bags, or bags made from un-dyed fabric; in other words, bags that can be reused or recycled.
When it comes to choosing a few take-home treats to go into the bags, look for sweets that have natural flavour and colouring. Dark chocolate and carob contain less sugar than milk and white chocolate - but obviously aren't to all kids’ taste! The aim is quality confectionary and not too much of it.
For other party bag fillers, try to avoid the usual suspects - plastic toys that immediately break or that kids are likely to already have a drawer full of... Less treats + better quality = more fun!
Some of our most popular party bag fillers include organic lollypops and chocolate truffles, wooden rainbow pencils and cotton hair scrunchies.
Organic chocolate truffles by Alter Eco
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You don’t have to be “eco-perfect”. Being eco-conscious is a great start. Make eco-friendlier choices when you can. Small efforts made by lots of people around the world add up to a make BIG contribution towards a greener world and a better future for our kids… Hip hip HOORAY to that!
© Written by Anika O. for The Good Party Co.