GREEN-THEME-BIRTHDAY PARTIES FOR KIDS

Not to mention 10 half-eaten wieners and buns

All of the perfect ingredients for a kid birthday party and
two more garbage bags for pickup.

Did I complain? Not really. Armed with the green
garbage bags, clean-up was a breeze.

Sound familiar?

HOWEVER, times are changing.

As adults, we have become more and more concerned about
our environment. We tend to look to the kids of today
as the leaders of tomorrow for the answers.

And while they unknowingly carry that burden, we try to
make their immediate surroundings as enjoyable and
pleasant and as much fun as possible.

Afterall, they’re still kids and one thing kids do
look forward to, are birthday celebrations.

Especially their own of course!

You can put on an earth-friendly-celebration
for your child and not stress over it.

If you are in the midst of teaching your child all about
carbon footprints and how NOT to leave them, this may
not be too difficult.

Invitations Save a tree. Use recycled paper like
old magazines, wrapping paper or newspapers. Get the
kids to design and make them. They will be unique, and it
encourages their creative spirit for planning a green-theme-
birthday party.

There are alot of creative programs on the internet to
check out. If you aren’t handy and have a teenager in
the house, they will know! Email them out.

GIFTS It is perfectly ok to request no gifts, if
that is what you want to do.

Or, you can ask that everyone bring something to donate
to a local charity or organization.

You can ask for something small and specific like a gift
certificate for an ice-cream or something of that nature.

You can request that it not come excessively wrapped,
rather wrapped in a reusable cloth bag, or newspaper
or something like that.

With all of the gifts, you can choose to play a game.
Let everyone choose from the pile, and take something
home themselves. Especially with little ones, this
develops a sense of sharing and that everyone at the
party is special. Kids go home with a better sense
that it was THEIR day too.

Activities This can be stressful. I had a little
girl look up at me once and say “isn’t there anything
else to do?” Amazing, the power of a 5 year-old.</b>

I always found that the outdoors was the answer.

It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Plan a trip to the Park.
Kids just love to play together on the swings and on a
slide. Prearrange a treasure hunt. Kids love the challenge
of looking for things.

Is there something going on locally that you could attend
as a group? An exhibit perhaps?

Plan a short nature walk. Again, give them something to
look for.

If indoors, provide materials they can use to make something
to take home.

Take pictures at the party. Later, send everyone theirs
by email for their family to keep.

Decorations What? No balloons? Well, if you must,
how about a few weighted down as a centre-piece on the table.

Balloons are actually treated with a multitude of chemicals
and they aren’t good in the landfills either. You may want
to consider using tissue paper, japanese paper balloons, or
streamers that can be used over and over again.

Use a decorative sheet for a table-cloth or a regular linen
one that can be washed and used again for the next party.

Look to nature for your green-theme-birthday decorations, especially in
the summer. Flowers from your backyard will do beautifully.
Different colored leaves and pine-cones in the Fall would
be perfect.

Have an assortment of different colored linen napkins for
green-theme-birthday parties as well as dishes and mugs.
You can get dishes and mugs at a thrift-shop, or you can
simply buy them to use just for parties. A light plastic
is ideal for repeated use. In other words, they won’t be
going to the garbage. If you have enough, assign each child
their own cup and plate by color for something different
and so everyone isn’t mistakenly sharing dishes.

If you do use disposable plates and cutlery, look for ones
that are 100% recycled, or of high recycled content, or
biodegradeable.

You can make a pinata as your main
decoration, and fill it with whatever you like.
The pinata is not only cool to look at, but it provides
that extra fun activity too. Learn to make a pinata for
your green-theme-birthday party.

Food If you want some degree of what kids expect
as “junk-food” you can make your own pizza or burgers.
You can control what’s in them that way.

Make a lovely display with a variety of fruits. Kids
generally love that stuff if it’s just put in front of
them and displayed nicely. Choose organic and local
fruits and veggies and chop them up. For drinks, serve
smoothies or fruit juices. Nothing better than these
food items at a green-theme-birthday party.

Try an organic cake recipe. You can make it from scratch
or buy a mix. I wouldn’t worry that they would know the
difference. There are even no-fat yogurts out there that
people swear are real ice-cream. You may even choose to
make cupcakes and let your kids help make and decorate
them too as part of getting ready for their party.

You can use soy candles for the cake as well.

The Dreaded Goody-Bags Why are these so difficult to fill?
Always had a problem with these. They can be costly too, when
buying for a number of kids. But, all the more reason to fill
them with something meaningful, simple and at the same time
fits right in with your green-theme-birthday party concept.

Here are some ideas – a small craft like a planting kit, seeds
for planting, a small book, baked healthy goods, or soy crayons.

How about a mug with their name on it? A reusable container
for their school lunches? The moms will love that.

CLEANING UP Have recycling boxes ready and get the kids
to gather up anything that can be recycled or composted.

This sneaks in a valuable lesson on the subject as well as
helping you at the end of the party. There shouldn’t be too
much clean-up from a green-theme-birthday party.

For many of us looking back, a green-theme-birthday wasn’t
something we were used to having. You may worry it won’t
be fun. Remember, you can attach any theme you want to
your child’s birthday party. The bulk of the green-theme
idea is really the base, which provides the overall lesson
in looking after the planet, using what you have, sharing
with others, being thrifty and saving money too. Kids today
need to learn these things from an early age.

Kids are kids and they make alot of their own fun. And also
the party isn’t usually an all-day thing. It’s only for a
short time, but you can cram alot of learning into that time
and have a great time doing it.


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