Are you holding a kids party, and considering ways to make it more eco-friendly? It is not an easy task, as I discovered when trying to organise Squiggle’s 9th birthday party a couple of months ago! You need to get a bit creative if you don’t want to leave behind piles of plastic, wrapping paper, and litter. In some ways we succeeded, others we need to work on for next time! Here are some thoughts…
Eco- and Kid-Friendly Catering
- Opt for reusable plates, bowls and cutlery instead of disposable options. Alternatively, create personalised party food packages wrapped up resuable food bags or wraps, or even in scarves or bandanas. They not only make colourful decorations for the table, but this approach can subtly assist with addressing allergy issues/ dietary requirements of young guests, plus they’ll double as napkins and the children can take them home afterwards.
- Prepare fruity drinks ahead of time, using jam jars with sealable lids. It saves on packaging and if the weather’s hot and you’re outside, they’re easily kept cool in a cool box or even a bucket filled with ice. Use sustainable straws (e.g. paper or reusables) rather than plastic, and make the drinks more exciting by adding chopped or sliced fresh fruit such as strawberries.
- Picnic or buffet areas set aside from other activities help to keep the mess and left overs in one place. They make supervision easier too, so if anyone needs help they aren’t left on their own. Dressing up metal barriers (which you can hire from staging and event specialists) with paper bunting or streaming creates a separation from other areas while maintaining the celebratory atmosphere.
Green Ideas for Party Activities and Take Home Gifts/ Favours
It is traditional to give the party-goers some kind of goodie bag or favour to take home, but it doesn’t have to affect your pledge to organise an eco-friendly party.
- How about giving each child a small plant or sapling they can take home and put in their own garden? If you wrap each root ball in hessian, there’s no waste at all since it can go on the compost heap when it’s no longer needed. This is even better if any of the party activities have a similar theme of planting and growing.
- For example, you could make ‘plant pots’ by halving empty cardboard roll tubes, then decorate by painting before planting their seeds. Plug each ‘pot’ with balled up newspaper so it will hold some compost. This creates an activity and a gift to take home in one.
- Or make seed bombs at the party to take home!
- Recycled plantable seed paper, for instance, is also an interesting novelty for children.
- Nature crafts are fun activities. Have a scavenging hunt with a pile of twigs, mosses and grasses, then make some nature art.
- Hold a bug hunt. Make a short list of insects to find, with prizes for all who find some, then invite children to draw or paint their favourites.
- You could even get everyone involved in planting a special ‘celebration tree’ as part of the party!
- Use Japanese blow up paper balloons rather than latex or foil balloons. These last a long time and are more environmentally friendly.
- Reuse decorations. If you don’t want the same theme year after year, pass your old decorations on and source ‘new’ secondhand ones on your chosen theme. Better yet, also opt for decorations that are made from sustainable materials too!
- If it is a particularly large party and you plan on having several different activities going on at the same time, or maybe with specific start times if you’re holding competitions or races, it might mean guests are quite spread out at times. Setting up a PA system to make announcements will keep everyone informed and save you a lot of running round. I remember once we had Squiggle’s party on a huge field; that would have been very handy then!
Eco-friendly parties are taking off in popularity, not just because they are good for our planet and build empathy for our natural environment, but also because they’re fun and children enjoy them!
Can you think of other eco- friendly party ideas? Tell me in comments!
*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Alistage.