Saturday, September 13, 2008

Green Kids' Birthday Parties

I just received this birthday party invitation in the mail the other day from a friend of mine, and it got me thinking about green birthday party ideas!

This cute postcard invite is made by cutting out and decorating the inside of a baby rice cereal box! What a fun way to make your own invites. I thought it was very creative. Although, the creative mommy who made this warned me that if you do this, be sure that you have the "to" and "from" addresses in the right places! All of her invites came back to her because her address was on the bottom. :-( Except, of course, this one invite which miraculously made it to me!

NatureMoms has a nice posting full of great green birthday party ideas, including this paper with flower seeds embedded...a great way to make a green invitation that can later be planted! She also posts about a great idea to ask in the invites that gifts be wrapped in recycleable newspaper or fabric to avoid all the gift wrap waste.

Another good way to re-use all that gift wrap is to cut it into 8.5"x11" or 12"x12" pieces and use them as scrapbooking paper or for card making, decoupage crafts, etc. And, there's always the option of re-using it again as gift wrap if it isn't too beat up. Gift bags are a good alternative because they can be re-used many more times than wrap. You can also recycle the birthday cards you get, into new cards, gift tags, or even ornaments.

I've read a lot of moms complaining on the blogosphere about all the junk their kids come home with from their friends' birthday parties...often cheap toys stuffed into a plastic party bag with some licensed character on it. While I'm sure all the kids love getting little prizes, you know they don't get played with much past the car ride home, and the bags just end up in a landfill somewhere.

When I was little, rather than just giving everyone a bag of toys just for showing up, acquiring them would become part of the fun. Instead of store bought plastic bags, each kid got a brown paper lunch bag, and spent time decorating it with markers, stickers, and collage (recycling magazines and other mail with pictures). We would then use the bags to collect our findings on a "sucker hunt." My parents would hide those safety suckers with the loop handles around the house and yard and everyone had a blast searching for them, much like an Easter egg hunt.

Back then my mom was not trying to specifically plan green activities, but it ended up being much more eco-friendly than what you see at many parties today! After the party, the kids could eat their prizes, and the paper bags could be recycled.

Here's my little guy (below), at his cousin's 1st birthday party earlier this afternoon! I can't wait to try out some of the cool ideas out there for his upcoming 1st birthday, and many more to come! Got any of your own eco-friendly party ideas? Post a comment...we'd love to hear them!

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