Planning your child’s birthday party can be strenuous! But does it need to be? Keeping things simple sounds harder than it actually is. Read this insightful article with lots of handy tips to plan an eco-friendly birthday party for your little one! It’s still loads of fun and kinder on the environment.
While parents continue to raise the bar on birthday parties, as conscientious parents we need to refocus on what message we are sending out to an entire future generation. Have you ever paused to wonder about the unintended ecological impact of your choices? If yes, continue reading if no, I insist you continue reading.
Remember our birthday parties from the 80s and 90s? Young, wild and green!
Today we make green living look more complicated than it should be. A little bit of imagination and mindfulness can take you a long way with hosting a fun birthday party without leaving behind a huge carbon footprint. For starters keep it simple, simplicity is underrated but often sophisticated.
10 Simple steps to plan an Eco friendly birthday party
1. Eco-friendly Invites
We gave paper a miss and went with E-invites using an app called Canva. Older children could be encouraged to make their own invites on recycled paper and hand deliver them personally to those in school/within a community.
We kept the party really small, just our son’s friends and the constants in his life.
In this digital age it’s important to give children opportunities to feel a connection with nature. What better way to go green than have a picnic in a public park or a garden party at a café where the greenery adds to the ambience, helps cut down on decorations while not having to worry about lighting, cooling etc.
Simple finger foods using locally sourced ingredients that are either homemade or from a home baker/chef largely avoids packaging, keep costs within check and ensures quality. Small things like giving fondant a miss, raw treats such as fruit kebabs and fresh juices, makhana instead of popcorn and avoiding processed foods and refined sugar were healthier choices we made.
- Compostable plates and cutlery.
- In order to avoid single serve drinks use recycled glass jars with name tags to encourage use of only one glass per person
- Paper straws
- Glass Water Dispenser
- Bamboo/Wooden Trays and Jugs which are as durable and aesthetically pleasing.
- Cloth napkins
6. Return gifts
We as parents, the world over, must take an oath to stop buying dinky plastic toys to fill goodie bags as return gifts and opt for eco friendly return gifts. We opted for locally sourced seeds and a tin watering can in upcycled shopping bags (sans gift wrap) and books in cloth bags the following year.
Being outdoors barely requires too much sprucing! We started with reusable and durable fabric decorations from my baby shower and we have used it twice over for A’s parties and a friend’s wedding. The only paper decorations used were hand me downs. We skipped balloons all together from our very first birthday party. We reuse a cloth birthday banner every year.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying ask your guests to make donations to charities because they are children after all with very little motivation to give up birthday gifts but how about experiential gifts instead? Day at a farm with a best friend? Also for return gifts we reuse gift bags and use our child’s original art work to wrap gifts.
Some of the best-loved party games while outdoors are hanging on trees and rolling on the grass. We threw in some balls, slates and chalks and a child sized vintage metal car for good measure. And a dog guest turned up! Some of the best timeless games are Treasure hunts, Dumb charades or musical chairs etc.
We offered doggie bags to guests as they were leaving and shared the rest with some very amused street vendors, beggars and the cops at the park. We barely generated any waste and ensured there was no littering by cleaning up before leaving.
Lastly, make your theme known, encourage people to car pool, take local transport, cycle or walk to your event! Birthday parties are the perfect stage to bring children and parents into the green fold by planting seeds of consciousness in their minds. Who knows it may just turn out to be the next big thing!
About our Guest author
Aswana Mathew Srinivasaraghavan is a mum who believes in attachment parenting, sustainable living and listening to her instinct. She is a corporate slave turned educator often dabbling in design and upcycling projects. Amidst the many caps she dons, Aśwana reclaims her most authentic self by writing for writings sake. However, for the most part she is just trying to save the planet from plastic and world domination by a three-nager. Check out her endearing and informative Instagram profile for updates on her projects and musings (@marvelous_mrs_greenivas)