If birthday bashes conjure up images of popped balloons and garbage bags full of plastic partyware, consider going green and throwing a more eco-friendly birthday party for your little one.
To start, consider using online invitations like Evite or Paperless Post. Or consider using recyclable or sustainable items like homemade paper, packets of seeds with a message or invites crafted from scrap paper to invite people to the party.
When decorating, include materials like felt, cardboard, Mason jars and string lights. Twine and sheet music or colored fabric make for charming bunting while Chinese lanterns add ambiance.
Skip the juice boxes and single-use snack packs and opt for seasonal fruits, veggies and healthy snacks instead. Fill a beverage dispenser with lemonade and stock a few platters with local market goodies and homemade fare.
When it comes to games, ditch the disposable duds and go classic with the tried and true: hopscotch, duck duck goose, musical chairs and freeze tag, to name a few. Goody bags might include a craft from the party, a tree to plant or a decorated cupcake.
As for gifts, consider asking guests to bring diapers and baby goods for little ones in need, or donating to a charity of your child’s choice (perhaps even get on the trend of a "fiver" birthday party).
How about some eco ideas? We've got you covered with these four party theme ideas:
Farmers market fun
Celebrate farm-to-party style with a farmers market theme. Burlap bunting and wood crates work well for decor, and snack on seasonal produce (think fruit bowls made from watermelon rinds or homemade granola).
Mason jars and paper straws up the charm, and check out thrift stores for extra cutlery. Go old school with potato sack races and apple bobbing, or set up a flower pot painting station. Guests could go home with a DIY garden baggy that includes seeds, a mini pot and planting directions.
Set the stage for your party with a handmade bookmark invite. Decorate your space with banners crafted from old book pages and set up a spot for story time. In lieu of gifts, kids could bring a gently used book to swap and make their own Little Free Libraries from old shoeboxes. Plan your snacks and treats with inspiration from a favorite book. Party guests can make their own bookmark to take home.
Celebrate in squishy style with a DIY dough party. There are a variety of recipes to work with, from no-cook to edible dough. Kiddos could help color and scent their playdough using kid-friendly essential oils, baking flavors or spices. Create a “loose parts station” with items like buttons, glass gems, beads and paper straws or set up a playdough “bakery” with silicone cupcake liners and “sprinkle” beads.
Make recycling fun with an "upcycle" theme. Collect boxes, paper towel rolls, buttons, spools of thread and anything else that might spur imagination. Crafts could include anything from milk carton racers and robots to dreamcatchers and tin-can planters. Set up a milk carton derby or an “upcycle art show” as your activity.
When it comes to going green, the sky is the limit — just focus on keeping it simple and using what you already have. And have fun!
You might also like:
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in July 2018, and updated in February 2020.