Weather. It can make the difference between misery and joy. It can color the experience of any situation. A thunderstorm the first time you take your children tent camping leaves an impression. A clear sky allowing you to view the rings of Saturn at the top of a small hill in the middle of nowhere Oregon is something I will never forget, and neither will my son.
A birthday party in the middle of the summer heat where the sweetest little girls dolled up in party dresses, pigtails, and handmade fairy wings just want to strip to their skivvies and run through the sprinkler… This is a birthday party that is going to stand out among the many more to come.
My darlin’ girl turned four years old this summer. Her actual birth day was a driving day on the Great Eco-friendly Summer Road Trip. I conveniently neglected to inform her it was her special day, but waited until we were home instead. I then had one week to plan her party.
If you have a girl like mine, you will know that they talk about what kind of theme, food, decorations, treats, games, and all the other important party details every day all year. The birthday party is a very big deal.
And I had one week.
The great thing about a summer backyard birthday bash is that the kids almost always have a good time no matter what I end up doing. I like to plan. I like food, crafts, activities, games, music, and themes. It is fun for me, but it is just as fun when all those plans go completely out the window and all we hear are the squeals of laughter.
The best thing about having a summer backyard birthday party is I can adhere to as many eco-friendly principles as possible. To keep a party green, there must be some thought, but there are so many eco-friendly alternatives and options to consider it doesn’t have to be inconvenient.
3 Top Tips For An Eco-Friendly Birthday Party
Keep it simple.
From the invitations to the decorations, keeping it simple saves time, money, and resources. Invitations can be as simple as an Evite, but there are other eco-friendly paper options if you decide to go that route. Recycled paper, tree-free paper, seeded paper, scrap paper, handmade paper.
It’s great to choose eco-friendly materials, but even better when the finished product can be reused, recycled, composted, or planted!
Fellow parents really do not want you to send their children home with a lot of junk as a party favor. That is certainly no favor. If you choose to do favors at all, a gift certificate for a kid’s cone at the local ice cream or frozen yogurt place is one fun choice. Another is a used book.
This year I opted to do a treasure hunt to find the pirate’s buried treasure which the fairies had left clues to find beginning with the entrance to their secret hideout. I did put toys in the treasure box that I thought would be fun (small fairy puzzles), supported small local businesses (locally made kaleidoscopes), and a few edibles (fair trade chocolate coins). It really is the thought that counts when it comes to what you want to send home with your party guests.
What is left when they leave is another matter. Some parties it may be possible to use all reusable dishes and silverware, other parties it might be necessary to use something disposable. Honestly, the compostable party kit from Green Planet Parties I used for this party was the one thing that all of the adults were the most impressed with. I can’t tell you how many conversations I had about where I got everything (Green Planet Parties), what the plates were made of (palm leaf), whether it could really be composted (yes!), and just how cool it all was. I wholeheartedly agree by the way!
I am a big believer in making memories. Your child will likely never remember that toy he got for his fourth birthday (which more likely than not was loved for a week and then promptly forgotten), but he will remember a special experience. Maybe not all of it, but the love will always be there.
All of my children receive experiences for their birthdays. They get to spend on-on-one time with a parent doing something that speaks to their personalities and interests of that year. The time and togetherness are worth more than any toy on the market. Besides the fact there is no packaging waste to deal with at the end of the day.
I would highly recommend finding another way to forgo gifts from friends as well. There are countless ideas about donations, special scheduled playdates with friends, and book exchanges among others, but for it to come from the heart, I believe you need to have that conversation with your own child and decide what works best for your family.
Find great sources.
I could not have pulled off the details of this party without a little help from three wonderful shops. I have two amazing local children’s shops that I know I can count on in a pinch: Milagros Boutique and Thinker Toys.
However, Green Planet Parties really went the extra mile for me. Suzanne, the owner, worked with me to decide what to get to have the most impact for the dollar, she express shipped everything so I would be able to have it in time, and I know that she puts a lot of thought and care into what is available in her online shop. If your goal is to have a fun, eco-friendly party of any kind, you simply must make a visit to Green Planet Parties first.
What are your best tips for throwing an eco-friendly party?
Green Planet Parties is an affiliate because I love them. I was also sent the compostable party kit and magical fairy door to review. This did not affect my opinion or views in any way. Everything really was that fantastic.