Planning your child’s next birthday party is no small feat, especially if you’re planning to invite many guests and have a large, busy party. While many traditional birthday party planning tips can guide you through the basic process, if you want to do something slightly different with your child’s birthday, you’ll need to get a little creative.
Birthday parties are traditionally wasteful and even harmful to the environment.
Just think of the paper plates and plastic ware, wrapping paper, and balloons that are thrown away after every party. Your child’s birthday party can be different. By greenifying your child’s next party, you can still have a great time while helping to protect the environment, and none of these changes are difficult to implement.
Focus on the Details of Greenifying
Pay attention to the smaller elements of the party that can make a big difference for sustainability. Instead of buying plastic disposable silverware and paper plates, use real silverware and plates that won’t be thrown out after the party.
You can even incorporate green decor into the party. Instead of decorating with balloons and streamers, use live potted plants or choose a party location by a lake or in a park where you really don’t need extra decor. You could also give out small potted plants as party favors, sticking with your decor theme while also encouraging guests to plant the party favors at their own homes.
When wrapping presents, opt for reusable or eco-friendly gift wrap over traditional wrapping paper, which will only be thrown out after the party. There are many ways to recycle existing materials, like maps or newspaper, into gift wrap. You can also buy reusable gift wrap cloth bags or boxes that will last you for years and countless parties. Consider decorating wrapped gifts with natural accents like pine cones, dried leaves, or sprigs of pine for an aesthetically pleasing yet eco-friendly touch.
Carefully Choose Your Menu
Since eating meat has been identified as contributing to climate change, the menu that you choose for the party can be an important sustainability factor, too. Choose healthier main course and snack foods that aren’t meat-based, and explain to guests how these food choices are good for the environment. Supply plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as a healthier birthday cake or desserts that aren’t loaded with artificial colors or flavors. Rather than picking up a platter of vegetables at the store, slice your own at home —you’ll save on the use of the plastic platter that pre-cut vegetables are sold in.
Choosing these healthier foods has an added benefit, since they can help to combat childhood obesity. You can also encourage kids to get active during the party with games like tag, relay races, and the nature scavenger hunt mentioned above.
Prioritize Water Conservation
Design your party with water conservation in mind. You might choose to host the party in your backyard where you’ve implemented water-conserving landscaping, like choosing native plants that use minimal water or by capturing rainwater.
Avoid serving bottled water at the party. Instead, offer juice or water in reusable cups. A water filtration system installed in your kitchen faucet, in your fridge’s water system, or even a standalone water filter can allow you to enjoy fresh, clean water without wasting the plastic used for bottled water.
Plan an Educational Party
While you can make green changes to a single party, making the party an educational one can teach all of the guests about the importance of prioritizing the environment. If each guest implements just one of these strategies, your efforts will have created a wide and long-lasting effect.
Plan a party that’s an eco-friendly picnic to immerse guests in the outdoors. Depending on the age of the guests, you can create all sorts of fun nature-centered activities. Offer up prizes to children who find nature-related items during a scavenger hunt. Create leaf rubbings or have children paint flower pots or plant their own seeds during the party. You can also design basic trivia games with conservation facts.
You might also incorporate an educational activity like a trip to a local museum or conservation area into the party. If you schedule the trip ahead of time, a museum or conservation area may be able to provide a guide to your party who can teach all of the guests about important conservation lessons. Alternatively, consider a trip to an aquarium or animal rescue. These types of facilities often focus on conservation, and because kids often engage strongly with animals, these trips paired with your party design can make for lasting lessons and memories.
Before the party, talk with your child about the ways that your family is going green and how this party will be a special, eco-friendly party. By highlighting the efforts you’re making to protect the environment while also having a fun party, you’ll provide your child with an important lesson that can stay with them their entire life.
Sam Bowman writes about families, wellness, and how the two merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.
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