A traditional children’s party can mean paper plates, plastic utensils, disposable decors, crumpled gift wrap, popped helium balloons, leftovers, and a bunch of juice boxes filling up an average garbage bag or two.
You don’t even need to see the statistics of the amount of waste each contributes. Helium is a limited resource; latex balloons can clog up landfills or, worse, harm animal life; the plastic-covered paper plates and utensils might be disposable but not biodegradable, and so on.
It probably sounds more convenient to go the traditional route for parties, but by making a little extra effort to host an eco-friendly children’s party, you can celebrate their milestones while reducing the environmental burden these kids will inevitably suffer in the future.
Here are 10 tips on how to plan a more climate-friendly children’s party.
Going paperless for invites is a no-brainer. Going digital is an easier option for both the invitee and the party planner. By switching to e-invites, there wouldn’t be any need for couriers or snail mails, and there would be less paper use and prevent additional waste in the bin. Plus! You can still get creative using online tools and mail services.
Once you’ve come up with your party theme, hit them up using Canva if you’re keen to design the invites yourself and then send them over on your guests’ email or try paid services such as Paperlesspost.
Repurpose and recycle
- If your child has a collection of toys of their favourite character, you can repurpose them as cake toppers!
- No need to purchase or print banners separately. If you have a large fabric to spare, like a rug from the laundry, or even a blanket, you can use it as a base for the banner. Simply cut letters from a used newspaper or a magazine as fonts, or even better, ask your kids to draw and decorate!
Instead of traditional pre-cut flowers or plastic displays for your table decors, why not hit two birds with one stone. You can visit your local baker to whip up colourful meringues or cake pops (using eco-friendly sticks) that are not only pretty to look at but delicious to snack on while waiting for the program to start. More taste, less waste.
Buy in bulk
Ditch the plastic. Instead of purchasing food packs individually, consider getting them in bulk and creating your vthe very own trail mix for guests. Even better, go to zero-waste stores and get nuts, chocolates, popcorn, etc. in wholesale and put everything in one giant bowl for guests to nibble on. If you’re worrying about hand contamination, get a wooden ladle where guests can scoop their treats into washable bowls or paper boxes.
Bubbles instead of balloons
Balloons are not only non-biodegradable; they also pose a serious threat to wildlife. They cannot be digested and cause intestinal blockages when animals mistake them for food.
Unfortunately, as of writing, there’s still no such thing as an eco-friendly balloon. However, a fun, eco-friendly alternative is *drumroll* BUBBLES! And they’re so easy to make, and they’re arguable more fun than just looking at helium balloons hanging around or making kids cry when they fly away.
- Vegetable glycerin
- Eco-friendly detergent
Simply mix them all in a huge bowl, or drum if you’ll be having more guests. These bubbles can be blown simply by using bare hands.
Eliminate the need for cutlery and plates by offering guests finger foods like veggie sticks, stuffed mushrooms, fries, mini sandwiches or even pizza! If you’re worried about getting guests hands sticky, plates are made from palm leaves or opt for washable cloth napkins that they can reuse. Not only are they easier to prepare, but kids also love finger foods where they can just grab and go!
Pitchers instead of pouches
Enough with the plastic cups! Tetra packs or juice boxes aren’t also a viable option. It’s more affordable and eco-friendly to make lemonade (healthy too!) in pitchers and have guests bring their reusable mugs or cups. If you don’t want the hassle, hand them over their personalised cups, which they can use and can also serve as a take-home souvenir *wink wink*
Zero-waste party games
You can’t go wrong with the tried and tested classics. You don’t need to spend on props, and kids don’t like complicated mechanics anyway. Here are a few fun games you can let your kids play:
- Musical chairs – Set up one less chair than the number of kids playing. Play the music, let them dance around; when the music stops, each has to try and take a seat. The last man standing.
- Sack race – Get a burlap sack or even pillowcases and let the kids hop in them. The first one to get to the finish line wins.
- Treasure hunt – Hide some of those edible decors you have on hand, like candies or lollipops, and the kid who finds the most treasure wins the grand prize.
Cleanup and compost
Last but not least, post-party cleanup. To ensure no waste goes unsegregated, inform the guests beforehand, at least include it in the invitation that this would be an eco-friendly party. Place separate bins with marked labels for leftover food, recyclables, and biodegradable waste. Level up your cleanup up a notch and use 100-per-cent compostable bin liners.
Greener goody bags
Something that guests look forward to in attending parties are good ol’ fashion goody bags! Here are a few greener gifts you can give:
- Seed bombs or seed pots that they can grow at home.
- Again, edible goodies like homemade cookies or chocolates.
- Natural soaps – you can buy pre-made in bulk and pour them into different moulds.
Making a birthday celebration memorable is all about making your kid feel special! Customising it to their character can give you a better idea of what to adjust but still make the party as planet-friendly as possible!