Andrea from Homemade for Elle wrote this amazing guest post. Her daughter and mine were born only a few weeks apart and we are both in party mode this month!
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When I was a child, birthdays were a huge event! I remember spending weeks talking about, planning and anticipating my birthday. Then I grew up, and a lot of the wonder and excitement dissipated. It seemed a little less important to make a big deal out of things like birthdays.
When my daughter was born, I finally had an excuse to make a big deal out of birthdays again! I spent quite a bit of time planning her first birthday party, and I had a ton of fun doing it. We are now approaching her 3rd birthday, but this year I want to take a little different approach to how we celebrate. I want to be conscientious about the impact that her party has on the environment, and reduce the amount of waste that results.
After doing some brainstorming, here are some eco-friendly birthday party ideas that I love:
Instead of purchasing expensive invitations for the big event, why not make your own? Better yet, try hand-writing invitations on recycled, handmade paper that can be planted, and will bloom wildflowers! This paper can even be used in the printer if you’re not up for the task of writing them out. At $.50 a piece, this will beat out most of the online invitation suppliers, which will save you money, while being kind to the environment.
Living Party Favors:
No, I don’t mean animals (that might result in some pretty upset parents). Instead of filling a plastic bag full of random toys, why not send kids home with a plant they can nurture. It will teach them how to care for living things, and give them an appreciation for nature. Try wrapping the roots and soil of a sapling or small rose bush with burlap, and give a party favor that will last for years.
Another party favor idea is to buy small, colorful planters and put seeds in each one, so the child can watch the plants sprout and grow!
DIY Recycled Piñata:
Piñatas are always a fun addition to little kid’s (or big kid’s) birthday party. This is a great way to upcycle some old materials that you probably have laying around the house.
Last year, I learned just how easy it is to make one using items that I already had in my house. We made a “2” to celebrate my daughter’s second birthday, but you can definitely get creative and make whatever shape that inspires you. To make a piñata, you’ll need the following supplies
- Scissors or a box cutter
- Masking tape
- Tissue Paper
- Twine or wire
If you shop on Amazon frequently, like I do, just save one of the boxes for this project. If you don’t have a box handy, check with your local grocery or retail store to see if they have one. Most stores are more than happy to give away unused boxes.
- Decide what shape you want, and cut the design out of the box with a box cutter. I cut two “2”s (one for the front and one for the back) and then cut long strips of rectangular and square cardboard to give the piñata depth.
- Use the masking tape to tape the piñata together. You don’t want to tape it solid, or it will be too difficult to bust open. Once your piñata is put together, remember to cut a small square in the top, so you can fill it with goodies.
- Use new or recycled tissue paper to cut strips to layer onto the piñata. I always save gift bags and tissue paper from birthday parties, so this is a great way to recycle those. Cut slits about halfway up the tissue paper, then adhere the tissue paper to the piñata using a glue stick or whatever adhesive glue you have handy.
- Fill the piñata with pencils, crayons, notepads, temporary tattoos, or other healthy snacks (boxed raisins, granola bars, homemade goodies).
- Poke two holes through the top of the piñata and string sturdy twine or wire through to create a loop to hang the piñata with.
If you’re serving cake or food at a birthday party, instead of using plastic goods (which could take thousands of years to decompose) try using wooden forks, that can be composted after being used!
For plates, cups and other essential foodware, check out Susty Party’s line of non-toxic and compostable products. They are all made in the USA, in “green” manufacturing facilities. The price tag on this will be a little more than the traditional plastic or paper, but considering the detrimental impact on the environment plastic can have, this one may be worth the extra splurge.
Alternatively, you can serve foods that don’t require any utensils, such as hot dogs, muffins, or bite-sized snacks. Pinterest has a ton of snacks that can be baked in a wonton wrappers that can be easily eaten with your hands. Don’t forget to lay out the cloth napkins for messy guests!
- Spend the extra bit of money to buy durable, reuseable table cloths that will last for multiple uses and occasions. In the long run, it will save you money.
- For centerpieces, fill a mason jar with rocks, soil and a plant (green foliage, herbs, succulents or even wheat grass) that will brighten up the party and can double as a party favor or a prize for a game.
- Use recycled cans, tied with burlap ribbon, as utensil holders
- Create confetti by cutting out shapes from recycled newspaper or tissue paper using craft or hole punches.
Do you have any other eco-friendly party ideas? Have you ever attended an eco-friendly party before?
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