Yep. You're a hip, conscious mama...
But the thought of throwing a sustainable, eco-friendly kids birthday party that won't break the budget may have you quaking in your vegan leather boots. But it doesn't have to! I'm going to share some tips with you for throwing your precious little one a fun, Earth-friendly party your guests won't soon forget!
Step 1: Invitations
This is the first step in choosing sustainability for your party...and you have options! You can get creative and print your own using recycled paper. In the past I've also used a picture of my little guy with the party info printed on the back (still made by myself on my home printer, which equals...cheaper) that gave guests a keepsake which could be framed and kept rather than thrown away after the party. Etsy and other sources also have some cute options for plantable invitations that are great for another sustainable option. Try to use seeds that are non-invasive and are native to your area. The invitations are also your opportunity to ask your guests to let you know about any allergies or food restrictions they may have. It's also your first chance to let them know that this is going to be an eco-friendly party. Which leads me to the next step: PRESENTS!
Step 2: Presents
On your invitation, don't be shy about outlining specific requests for gifts and presents. Requesting clothes, experiences (i.e. movie tickets, tickets to a theme park, etc.) or gift cards are all good gift options because they are far less likely to be thrown away and are much more likely to be used. Books are also a great gift option because they are good for their growing minds, thoughtfully chosen and can also be passed on later down the line. It's also a good idea to request that any gifts be wrapped either in reusable bags or fabric that can be reused. All that being said, make sure there are some fun gifts (read:toys!!!) because kids do obviously enjoy toys-they can come from sustainable sources if you really wanna go that deep with it-and after all, it is about them having a good time on their special day!
Step 3: fOoD!
One thing that guests always look forward to is of course the food. At least I know I do! You obviously want to try to stick to healthy options, but that doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice flavor! (Or fun!) One option that I did for my little man's party which was a huge hit was individual pizzas. It's an easy and budget-friendly way for everyone to get something they like that's in line with their individual food preferences and choices. Make sure you do have vegan, gluten-free and kosher options for your guests. This also doubles as a fun activity for the kids (and parents!) to partake in.
Although it takes some time to clean them when you're done, reusable plates and utensils are the most eco-friendly option to go with; but there are also lots of biodegradeable, recyclable single use options should you choose to go that route. Homemade popsicles for those summer parties are also a yummy and inexpensive option and watermelon or other fruits feed a lot of people and are totally synonymous with summertime fun!
Step 4: Activities
Here is another opportunity to really kick that eco-consciousness up a notch! One activity that was a major hit at our party was tie-dying shirts with natural vegetable dyes. A quick Google search will give you instructions on herbs, vegetables and flowers that can be boiled to make dye. The kiddos get a reusable keepsake and memories of a fun time being creative with their friends. The plant material that's left over from making the dye can be composted! #MommyForTheWin!
Other options for fun, sustainable activities that connect your guests with the nature around them include: A nature scavenger hunt, playing games at the park, making crafts they can keep and reuse (think: birdhouses or planting seeds/plants in recycled containers-they can even decorate them!)
Step 5: Gifts for Guests
There's no need to break the bank (or your sustainable aspirations) when creating gift bags for your guests. First decide on what you will use to give the gifts, one thing I have used before that was great is bandanas. They come in a million colors to coordinate with your party theme and can be purchased in bulk for super cheap from your local dollar store or even eBay, then reused by your guests!
The small, reusable shopping bags are also an option. As far as the actual gifts go, reusable and/or keepable is the name of the game. Bubbles are always a fun and enjoyable gift and can be refilled once they're empty. You know grown-ups love 'em too, it's okay to admit it, I won't tell...
Homemade fruit leather or natural candy are healthier options than your typical pinata grab bag candies. Seeds are also a fun and eco-friendly option or gift cards in a small amount...as parents we know and apprecite that every bit counts! And finally...
Step 6: Just Do Your Best!
Seriously, don't take it too seriously! Don't drive yourself (and your guests) crazy with trying to make every.single.aspect of your party eco-friendly and sustainable. Just do the best you can and remember it's about celebrating the life of your amazing little one, so the most important thing is to just have fun! Every small choice makes a big impact and any one of the things you choose to do to make your party more sustainable will make a difference!
P.S. These tips work great for grown-up parties as well. If you try any of my tips, tag me @cazoshay_marie so I can see what you did!