By: Catherine L Pittman ©September 2009
Families in every state are trying to grow “green” families, converting themselves to green living and teaching their children to live green. So I ask, why not birthday parties too?
To see a safe tomorrow for our children, teaching today’s generation how to conserve the environment has become an important goal of today’s parents. Throwing an eco-friendly birthday party for your child is another great tool to teach the new generation that going green can be fun.
You can start your green party by providing green invitations. Instead of sending the usual traditional paper invitation to your child’s special event, save a few trees and send your invites via e-mail. One great service available online is www.evite.com. This great website provides plenty of invitation options and themes for your invitation. It is a great way for older children to get creative using the computer.
A party isn’t complete without decorations! Instead of latex balloons, opt for colorful paper lanterns made from recycled paper to decorate the party area. You can make your own paper lanterns, making them in themed shapes, such as stars. Make paper garlands, a piñata, flowers out of muslin or tissue paper, and make your own butterfly or other fun shaped confetti out of biodegradable paper. Make your own party hats, such as a crown for the birthday boy or a princess hat for the birthday girl out of biodegradable or recycled paper. Reuse party streamers by rolling them up from year-to-year. Directions to make your own paper lanterns and other décor ideas can be found on the web at sites, such as www.ehow.com and www.about.com. You can also find green party supplies at online eco-party supply stores.
If you plan on giving all the kids at the party a gift bag, use cloth or organza gift bags. Families can reuse the bags for giving gifts at other parties or events, holding small toys in and similar uses. Places like dollar stores can provide inexpensive things to place in the bags other than candy, such as a small box of crayons. Or make organic trail mix snacks for the bags.
One cannot have a birthday party without cake and ice cream. Instead of buying your cake and ice cream, make them using organic ingredients to make it earth friendly. Believe it or not you can make ice cream in a paper sack if you don’t have an ice cream maker---recipe available at: http://crafts.kaboose.com/ice-cream-in-a-bag.html. If it’s fruit season, make batches of frozen treats with organic raspberries, blueberries or strawberries instead of ice cream. Serve your birthday treats on real plates or biodegradable and forest friendly tableware. You can find this type of paperware and decorations at www.greenpartygoods.com.
For younger children, setting up an arts and crafts table for them to create a project and using eco-friendly paints and supplies is a fun activity. The kids get to take their project home and it’s a party favor too!
Another way to go green is to remember gifts don’t make the party, the people do! Don’t be afraid to say “no gifts please” on your invitations or request re-gifting. Re-gifting specifically asks guests to bring a gently used book, children’s movie DVD, game or toy for your child. This is particularly useful for a party for a toddler or preschooler who is more excited at receiving a gift than caring what it really is. It’s a great way to recycle, reuse, reduce and rethink!
If you do want new toys, then another way to go green is to request eco-friendly toys only, such as soft toys, wood toys or toys made from recycled materials. If you’re attending a party and want to keep it green, wrap your gift in inexpensive fabric with fabric ribbons, use the comics from the newspaper or make your own wrapping paper from biodegradable paper and paints.
No matter what type of party you are throwing for your child, whether it is a big or small event, make it a green party with green party supplies, eco-friendly toys and presents, eco-friendly goodie bags and décor. Your party will be a great hit for your friends, family and kids, and you will be teaching your child a valuable lesson that living green can be fun too!
Catherine is the owner, songwriter and main vocal artist for Pitter Patter Productions. The company has been producing its brand of original award-winning music for children since 1992, specializing in lullabies for newborns and babies, and music for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners. All of our music is available for download at CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes (under artist Catherine Pittman) and our website. Catherine also produces The Northwest Happenings Guide, a guide to events and attractions in Oregon and Washington, and available at www.nwhappeningsguide.com as well as Amazon. The 2015 guides are available in both print and e-book formats.