Ah children’s birthday parties. Full of sweets, party bags, plastic balloons and the obligatory black sack full of wrapping paper at the end. Or do they have to be? So much of the time we say, “but it’s a birthday, Christmas, a special occasion…” “but it’s a Sunday”.. The fact is there can be an excuse for everything so why not try and keep it low waste all the time…. “but even when I’m planning a kids birthday!!! For the love of….” I hear you say.
Don’t worry. Here’s my list of ideas to keep your child’s birthday party as easy, fun and low waste as possible..
When we recently threw a 1st birthday party for the smallest one in our house , we opted for the park. We let all our friends, big and little, know that’s where we would be. Room for little ones to roam, room for bigger ones to set up a game of rounders, and no need to decorate. We just requested that people bring blankets or camping chairs for themselves. Should the weather or the seasons not be in your favour for a park party why not do it at home, or if you don’t have the room hire out a hall.
Keep it simple. For our picnic in the park I made a platter if sliced cheese, ham and chorizo. Laid it out with a load of French sticks and butter for people to help themselves. We made some hummus and guacamole to go with veg sticks and crisps and the lot was gone. Note that this isn’t all zero waste. Making the hummus and guacamole was super easy and zero waste, but obviously the crisps, cheese and ham etc all came in packaging. However, these are also all things that are still packaged in our normal day to day lives, we haven’t cut these out of our lives. I did also make a big bowl of pasta and pesto but surprisingly this and the crisps were the only things left. Perhaps because they were more messy to pick at. The veg sticks, dips, bread and cheese ALL went. Noting all of this for next year.
For sweet treats my Mum, brother and friend made some cakes and cookies to be handed round, and I brought cut up watermelon and strawberries. As you can imagine none of this lasted long.
Cups and Plates
Forget your disposables, there’s an easy way around this. Use what you’ve got. We have tons of kids plastic bowls, plates and cups that have collected over the years. Mats Mums also has a cupboard full. So we gathered them all together and amazingly had about 20 of each so we just packed them up and washed them up when we got home. If you don’t have enough think about asking friends to borrow some, collectively you’ll easily have enough. Searching through charity shops and see what they have to build a party stash you can keep for years is also a good idea, or buy some of these palm leaf plates and save them for parties year after year. I’m also more than willing to lend out if anyone near by needs things for parties.
I did however get stuck when it came to the adults Prosecco. I thought about borrowing Prosecco glasses but as Mat pointed out “that’s fine until one breaks on the grass”. Putting all our kids cups in (adults can drinks out of kids cups too, especially if your giving them a tipple at a kids party) plus some of our camping Prosecco reusable glasses I hoped we had enough but as a back up I brought some paper cups and some napkins too. The lesser of two evils I thought. Turns out I worried over nothing, we used neither, so I’ll pack them away in case we can use them for future parties.
Didn’t do them. Don’t feel they are needed. Call me a grump.
I may feel differently when Reeva is older but thinking back to parties my step sons have been to over the years, sometimes they came back with party bags, sometimes they didn’t but I have no memories of them complaining or even noticing if they didn’t. Therefore if the kids don’t care your wasting your time…. you may call me a grump again now. However if you do want to do them there’s tons of eco-friendly ideas from bloggers more creative than me. A Sustainable Life has some easy ideas if your stuck for time.
We were in the park so I didn’t feel we needed them but check out some of these ideas for homemade eco- friendly decorations and get the kids involved creating something fun. Avoid balloons, but making paper Pom poms like this can be a lovely alternative.
For the kids squash is easy to buy in a glass at any supermarket. We made some up in bottles so we didn’t have to faff in the park, and for adults we took the fore mentioned Prosecco. Just enough for everyone to have a small glass. This is a kids party after all but I highly recommend Aldi’s organic Prosecco.
Really kids being together is all the entertainment they need, to play and run around, but being in the park gave us some great benefits. One, we based ourselves near the playground so the older kids could run off play, and two, there was room for a good old game if rounders. If your hosting inside however an old fashioned party game or two can be great. Remember all the ones from your own childhood? Well there’s all still great. Pin the tail on the donkey, a piñata, pass the parcel. All can be made with recycled products in your home.
Did it help?
I’m hoping this has given you some simple ideas to take birthday parties back to basics and have a lovely time making and creating it all.
And our party?…
All in all we had a very successful day. The weather was on our side, we had a wonderful turn out, Reeva relished in all the attention, was given some beautiful gifts, and we achieved it all with very low waste. Same again next year I think….