Why leave Mother Nature uninvited at your little one's birthday party? Environmentally friendly doesn't have to mean boring and unexciting. And it most certainly doesn't have to wait till the kids are "old enough to understand". Responsibility towards the environment can be taught now, while they're two and three, so it becomes a lifestyle for them. It can happen anywhere, even at their birthday parties. And it can be fun, so they don't feel they've missed out on that all-important childhood ingredient. Here are 10 ways to throw a super fun eco-friendly birthday fest:
One way is to go digital and save paper with online invitations. But little kids aren't quite as enamoured by beautiful online designs as we adults are. So here's another alternative: Use colourful recycled paper. If you have a theme for the party, cut out shapes to match that theme. Little Meera, a 5-year-old from Delhi, insisted that hers be cut out in the shape of aeroplanes. With her guests' names written across the wings. An even better idea is to use plantable seed paper. That's paper you can plant and it will actually grow into a sapling! It's difficult to find, so click here to learn how to make it yourself.
This year, instead of heading to the market to buy plastic decorations worth a small fortune, head to a nearby garden with your little one and go treasure hunting! Pick out sticks, broken branches, leaves and pebbles. Once you've got your loot in front of you, use sticks with leaves wrapped around them to spell out 'Happy Birthday XYZ'. So much better than a plastic, soulless banner. Better still, make it a craft session for her/him and friends. All the parents will bless you for those few hours of peace! And instead of streamers, pop some corn and get the kids to string it.
This one beats the 'regular' parties to pulp. If you're throwing an outdoor party, get some sheer fabrics and turn them into makeshift shades and tents. Or you could use old dupattas lying around. Tie them at the top to a branch and watch your kids dine like royalty!
This works if the party is in the open or you have a huge indoors area. Decorate a cycle or a tricycle with leaves and use it as a 'chariot' to transport each guest from the entrance to the party area. If that's too much to handle, wheel in the birthday cake on this green chariot once the guests have arrived.
Remember all those jam jars that were too pretty to throw away? Now's the time to use them. Instead of plastic cups, assign one to each little guest with their name painted on it.
Instead of using plastic or paper trays, wrap their sandwiches/idlis in a bandana or coloured napkin and tie it with a string. You get a paperless lunch and they get to feel like little shepherds with their lunch potlis!
Mention in the invitation that you're throwing an eco-friendly party and you'd prefer if the guests substituted shiny gift-wrapping paper with painted newspapers and shoe boxes.
Instead of plastic toys, send each guest back with a sapling or a painted mud pot. In case you do get around to making the plantable paper, their next play date can be a show-and-tell, where they talk about how they raised their plants.
You see that mom grinning at you from the corner of the room? That's Mother Nature giving you a thumbs up for making the effort!
We, and other yowoto parents, would love to hear your green party ideas. Don't hesitate to share. You can comment below or share your photos, videos etc on email@example.com.