Every year our little ones invite hordes of excited friends over for their birthday parties. But instead of offering the same balloon-animals, sugary cake and fizzy drinks, consider something different for this year’s bash, by throwing a green kids party.
In the kitchen
At most children’s parties there are mountains of cake, chips, and chocolates and enough fizzy soda drinks to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool. All of this artificially-flavoured food not only drives kids to sugar-crazed heights, but it is also not very good for their delicate tummies. Junk food also comes with a heavy environmental price-tag, when you consider all of the artificial chemicals and additives, food production costs and packaging waste. So, instead, why not offer something a little healthier and more environmentally friendly too, by offering some fresh, wholesome foods at your kid’s next party.
Instead of the usual chocolate or vanilla sponge, why not opt for something a little more eco-savvy and nutritious, by offering the birthday guests some freshly made, organic carrot cake. You can also opt for other fruit-filled pies, such as apple, peach or cherry.
Top tip: All of the ingredients for the cake can be sourced locally, from organically grown carrots and flour, to free-range eggs and milk. By doing this, you not only cut down on the food miles of your party treats, but you also offer your child and their guests something a little different.
Instead of sugary sodas, opt for fresh fruit juices and milkshakes made from fresh, organic milk. This way, you not only support local fruit growers and farmers, but you also give the birthday guests a massive health boost too. You can also make ice-lollies or creamy ice-cream with these farm produce.
Getting creative in the kitchen
Another great idea is to have a cooking instructor come over to your home to teach kids how to prepare healthy dishes that they can eat at the party or take with them as party favours. These cooking classes include themes like using local, seasonal and organic produce, and how we should use these items to limit how far our food travels and the overall effect they have on the environment.
Where to hold the party
There are a number of advantages to hosting your kid’s birthday bash at home, so consider this option when you’re thinking about a venue. A great idea is to have a sleep-over. You can start the party at dusk, set up tents in the backyard, tell spooky stories, gaze at the stars and identify constellations. You can toast marshmallows and enjoy the great outdoors, in the comfort and safety of your garden.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, or your garden is not big enough to host a horde of primary school revellers, consider heading a little further afield. Take a tour of an organic farm, a dairy farm or an orchard. Often these venues will teach the kids about what goes in to being an eco-friendly farmer, and they will get to sample a lot of the delicious produce.
If you live near the coast, consider taking the kids to the ocean and explain about the marine life and tides, and how important these systems are to us. The party-goers can build sand-castles, play games and race along the beach, and go on scavenger hunts for objects like shells, seaweed and odd things that get washed up. This birthday field trip can be extended to a river, park or camp site too.
Or take kids to your local art museum or art garden. After the visit, have the children make their own art sculptures from recyclable objects.
Top tip: When taking your kid’s birthday buddies out and about, consider taking public transport, or carpool. The guests will get to spend more time together, and you do your bit in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Themes and decor
From pirates to princesses, decorations at kids parties today are getting bigger and brighter than ever before. But the endless strings of lights, banners and balloons add volumes of waste to landfills. So, instead of going out to buy once-off use items, look around your home to see if you can use anything there first. By repurposing old material, lighting and other bits and bobs, you will not only be saving landfill space, but also money.
Top tip: If you do decide to go out and buy novelty props, opt for décor made from recycled or eco-friendly materials.
Keeping a bunch of birthday party-goers occupied can be tough work. So why not bring in some eco-savvy party games to keep them busy?
Create a rainforest scene, and have everyone dress up as their favourite wild animal. You can even make masks at the party out of recycled card and non-toxic paints.
Show party goers how to make eco-crafts out of things lying around the house. As part of the invitation ask them to bring some things that you need for the projects. They’ll be surprised to see what you make of them!
Teach the kids to tie-dye organic cotton T-shirts with natural dyes. They can then use their creations after the party too
Use eco-friendly paints and recycled paper to let the kids create their own masterpieces. The kids can take these home with them. Alternatively, get them to paint a large canvas for to hang in your child’s room.
And what’s a birthday without presents? Boxes of brightly wrapped wonders piled to the ceiling are ripped open to find the treasures inside. But often, these toys and trinkets go unused and wasted, often ending up at the back of a cupboard or in the bin.
So instead of getting gifts your kid’s don’t want, suggest to them that they give something back, by asking guests to donate to environmental charities or organisations that look after social and ecological systems. Alternatively, adopt an animal at the zoo or local animal shelter.
There are so many great ideas for what you can do to make your kids next birthday bash memorable – from camp outs, to tasty treats, to gifts that keep on giving. So sit down with your children, and plot and plan a celebration that will have them smiling from ear to ear and Mother Nature grinning too.
Top 5 Tips: Kids’ birthday parties
- Serve snacks and treats made from fresh produce that has been sourced locally, is seasonal and comes from organically grown goods.
- Use items you have around the house as props and décor. If you choose to buy new ones, look for products made from recycled or recyclable materials.
- Choose a venue that will teach the party-goers about the environment. They will get to enjoy learning, whilst having fun doing it.
- Kids love games at birthdays, so be creative and think of fun ways to incorporate eco-friendly materials and products into your party activities.
- Ask for eco-friendly gifts, or suggest that you sponsor an environmental charity. If you do get gifts you don’t need, pass them on to a children’s home or hospital.