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Birthday Parties A La Green!

By Linda Brown-Kuhn
July 2, 2009
File under: Family Time, Green Activities

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Is it my imagination or have children’s birthday parties veered way out of control on the side of waste, expense, and excess?

And while I can’t say that I’ve always adhered to green standards at my kid’s parties, I’m learning how to incorporate more and more earth-friendly components without sacrificing any of the fun. Here are some ideas you might want to try:

Start from the get go and send online invitations. You’ll save on paper and all the eco costs that it takes to mail your invites. You and your child can design your own on evite or with a slew of other programs out there.

As to the gifts quandary, my daughter’s recently been to several parties recently where the host requested donations to a local food pantry or children’s charity in lieu of presents. Or if your child loves cats or dogs, you could ask party goers to bring pet food, kitty litter, and other items that an area animal shelter would welcome.

When thinking about where to hold the party, what about at your home? Yes, you’ll have to clean and it’s more work than having it at a bowling alley, roller rink, or movie theater but kids love playing games and making things.

You could let them paint clay pots, then plant seeds (grass is a no fail choice). Or buy some organic cotton t-shirts and let them decorate in simple or fancy ways depending upon their age.

Also consider taking the party outside to a nearby park, nature preserve or zoo. My daughter had a blast at a party on a dairy farm where the kids got the grand tour including seeing how cows are milked. Maybe there’s an organic farm close to you that does birthday parties.

If you bake the cake or cupcakes, you can go organic and steer clear of those day glo yellow and turquoise blue frosting colors produced with loads of synthetic dyes. Let the kids wash it down with water, organic juice, or organic milk served in reusable cups.

Opt for reusable dishes and flatware, whether they’re yours or you go with Preserve or other green lines.

Goody bags are always a bugaboo for me. They’re mainly junky plastic stuff that kids lose interest in by the time they get home from the party plus candy that revs them up until the inevitable crash and burn.

I’ve made fabric bags with drawstrings and chosen fewer but more durable booty. I also include fruit leathers or bars purchased at the health food store. Or, better¬† yet, their take-home items can be what they make at the bash.

Green birthday parties can go wherever your creativity and imagination lead. I’d love to hear what some of you have done for your kids!

 
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