7 ways to host an eco-friendly kids party
When it comes to planning your child’s birthday party it’s usually best to start with the theme. Then it’s off to your nearest party store or dollar store to see if they sell party decorations in that theme. Enter the disposable plates, cups, napkins, banners, balloons, streamers, plastic table cloths and more. In 2019, a time when everyone is thinking about how to live more eco-consciously, we find the party industry riddled with one time use plastics & disposables. Today I want to share 7 ways to host a more eco-friendly kids birthday party.
1) Cups, plates & utensils – This one is the biggest culprit of one-time use plastics. Even when using paper, most party plates and cups have a plastic coating on them. The best thing you can do is to use reusable cups, plates and utensils. You can use your everyday dishes or even get fun ones for party use from Ikea or Homesense. These will require washing but it really is worth it for the amount of trash reduction! If you can’t fathom washing them, get bamboo or compostable plates & cups.
2) Tablecloths – No more of those thin plastic tablecloths, they don’t even look very good because they always have creases in them that you can’t get out. Use real fabric table cloths. Everyone should have a plain white table cloth, but if you don’t, Ikea has a variety for amazing prices. If you don’t want to invest in a table cloth, you can also use bed sheets. Use white or a solid coloured top sheet to match your colour theme. Fabric stores also normally have bins of scrap fabric that you can look through. You might be able to find a large enough piece of sequinned or patterned fabric for the perfect themed tablecloth or table runner.
3) Invitations – Go digital! Ditch the paper invites and email digital invitations instead. Switching to digital invites is a super easy way to create a more eco-friendly kids party because of the numerous platforms that offer them online. Just add your guest list, details and pick a design and off they go. Tracking the number of guests is a breeze so you can easily estimate how much food you will need (reducing food waste – another win!)It’s easier on the parents too – once they receive the invite, they can add it directly to their phone calendars and RSVP right from their phones. Try Paperless Post for your invites. They have both free and paid designs that you fill in with your information or you can upload something of your own if you are feeling creative. Below are a few of their example invites.
4) Reusable Decorations – Balloons are beautiful but did you know that often times balloons end up choking or getting tangled up in birds, sea turtles and seals? Instead try rice paper lanterns in a variety of colours that can be reused over and over. Right now in Ikea’s spring collection, they have some beautiful paper lanterns that are perfect for outdoor parties because they are solar powered!
Pom-pom garlands or fabric banners are also a great way of creating reusable decor in place of tissue paper pom-poms or streamers. Natural decor is also big right now – especially for summer. Use jars to glass bowls filled with sand and sea shells for an under the sea adventure or grasses and ferns from your garden in your jungle themed display. Get your kid’s toys involved too! If your child loves dinosaurs and is having a dinosaur theme, I’m going to guess they also have a lot of toy dinosaurs. Borrow them to add to your decor. This also works great when using toy trucks for a construction theme or teddy’s for a teddy bear picnic.
5) Candles – Unfortunately those traditional birthday candles that go on the cake? Typically made from paraffin wax, candles are a petroleum product. They also produce a number of byproducts when burned that are harmful for the environment and for us. So go beeswax. Beeswax candles are becoming increasingly popular and available in the form of birthday candles, decorative candles and more! Just Google your location + beeswax birthday candles and you will find a slew of places that sell them.
6) Using food as decoration – This is a great way to decorate your food/dessert table without using anything disposable. The food will get eaten so no waste at all! Reducing food waste is another great way to host a more eco-friendly kids party. Take your theme and display your food in a creative way to fit. For example, if you are having a unicorn themed party, make a rainbow candy bar like the photo below.
Or turn your fruit platter into a Captain America shield for a superhero themed party using strawberries, bananas and blueberries. If you are having a dinosaur themed party, create a dinosaur bone excavation site with dark cookie crumbs as the dirt and white chocolate covered pretzels as the bones. The birthday cake is also a great way to bring your theme to life. Bakers can work with almost any theme. I love this construction themed cake using little toy trucks to create a scene.
7) Gifts – How often do you throw a birthday party and end up with WAY too many gifts. It can be so overwhelming. Have you heard about Echoage? This online company helps teach your child about social responsibility and charitable giving. The way it works is you send out invitations through the site (electronically) and you and your child choose a charity to support as well as one group gift that they really want that year. Guests purchase their “gift” through the site by paying whatever dollar amount they want. 50% of the money goes towards the charity you picked out and the other 50% goes towards your child’s big gift. Then your child gets the one thing they really want while also learning about giving back to others in need. Not only does it reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ but there’s no wrapping paper, tissue or ribbon involved.
These are my best tips for throwing a DIY eco-friendly kids party! Rentals are also a great option in terms of reusable decor. It can then be totally on theme and you have the comfort of knowing none of the items will end up in the landfill! I offer a variety of rental items and am designing themed rentals including dinosaur, unicorn and Alice in Wonderland themes. Stay up to date new themes come out and learn more eco-friendly entertaining tips by signing up for my newsletter below.