Environmentally Friendly Party Ideas
Green Games, Healthy Party Food, Environmentally Friendly Party Ideas and Tips for an Ecological, Green, or Recycling Themed Birthday Party.
Considering an ecological, green, low environmental impact, environmentally friendly children’s birthday party? The great thing is that a low-carbon footprint party takes only a bit more effort than the usual sort, but it saves a lot of money as well as being environmentally friendly.
Should we be introducing these serious issues at a children’s birthday party? I have entertained at dozens of parties with a sustainable theme, and they have been among the best. Our children are going to have to live with the mess we are leaving behind, so as long as they are having a good time, we should take the opportunity. Looking after the environment is not something we do separately from the rest of our lives.
So here are a few Tips and Ideas for an Environmentally Friendly Green Eco Party with a Low Carbon footprint or Recycling Theme.
Green Games for an Environmentally Friendly Birthday Party
Musical Oil barrels
In this game the oil barrels are represented by paper circles on the floor. Because we are using up all the oil, there is less to go around and so as we drive around in our gas guzzling cars while the music plays, one of the oil barrels is removed, so when the music stops, one person is out. OK its musical chairs in disguise, but everyone knows how to play it and hopefully gets the message about diminishing resources. Be careful to make sure the paper doesn’t slip on the floor you are using. Carpet shops usually give away old sample squares and some are not slippery. They can be used to suppress garden weeds afterwards.
Pin the Blades on the Wind Turbine
It’s a lot easier to draw a wind turbine than a donkey and this is simply pin the tail on the donkey in another form. Each child is blindfolded in turn, turned around three times, then had to pin a cardboard blade onto the top of the turbine – Easy!
Everyone knows that when humans are not looking, trees dance around whenever they hear music, but they have to stop when the music stops. Any waving branches and that tree is out!
A version of Grandmothers Footsteps that you can adapt yourself
Children love treasure hunts and if you are able to have an outside party so much the better. Prizes can be simple – its the joy of finding that counts.
An outdoor game for open spaces – children in pairs and each pair has to collect as many different types of something as they can. This can be leaves, grasses, wild flowers – whatever is appropriate to the situation. This is great for getting children to take an interest in the environment and of course there is a prize or two for the winners.
How many different types of leaves are there in a forest? How many shades of green? A prize for the best selection
Sustainable Party Clothes
Fancy dress is always a good idea for any children’s party so to fit an environmental theme how about Scarecrows and Scallywags or Recycled Ragamuffins or Tramps and Princesses? These are really easy party themes as it needs no more than worn out badly fitting clothes and a bit of imagination. Recycled clothes from charity shops or jumble sales will work well as will re-used cast offs from older siblings. Children’s story books often have illustrations that can be used for ideas. And how about a fancy dress parade with a prize for the winners?
Environmentally Friendly Party Decorations
You want party decorations from a sustainable source, so here are a few ideas:
Balloons are fairly OK as they are usually made from natural rubber that comes from sustainable plantations. The colours are synthetic but we don’t need to be fanatical about it. Don’t use helium balloons as if they get released the balloons can end up being mistaken for food by marine life or wild animals. And the world is running low on helium which is needed to run scanners in hospitals.
As for environmentally friendly party ideas, a forest theme using branches and trimmings from the garden can look great, or if you want a recycling theme, use junk or recyclable materials – foil crisp packets, drink cans, bottles etc. Just be careful with anything like newspapers that could be a fire hazard. It’s a good opportunity to get children involved with the sustainable theme if they help to make them.
This giant willow sculpture, decorated with natural materials, was the centrepiece at a village Midsummer Party.
You don’t have to go to such lengths to make decorations from sustainable materials, but it can be a lot of fun, and everyone can join in – this little girl is adding flowers to one of the legs.
Sustainable Tableware and Decorations
Plain paper plates and cups are clearly more sensible than the garish ones you can pay a lot of money for, and unlike plastic, paper is biodegradable.
Paper tablecloths too are biodegradable and environmentally friendly, and how about a plain white, and if you can find any, just large sheets of plain white paper. Not only does this have a low environmental impact, but you can sit the children at the table with some felt tipped pens and get them to decorate it. Even better use wax crayons as they have a much lower environmental impact (felt tips are mainly plastic and quickly run out of ink) but be careful if you are putting hot things onto a wax decoration as it will melt and get onto someone’s best recycled party clothes
If you want to be really green, how about about eating chips (or any party food) out of newspaper? It goes well with a tramps theme – remember to put a clean piece of recycled kitchen towel on it to keep it hygienic, and let them eat with their fingers. Hot Dogs and burgers in recycled napkins is another alternative.
A hall will often have crockery available, and if you have any available grandparents, they will love to do the washing up!
Eco Party Activities
There’s more to parties than games. How about a bit of craft activity first? Every scarecrow needs a crown to wear and you can easily spend half an hour getting the children to make one. Use recycled cereal boxes or similar, cut into a rough crown shape and staple at the back so it fits round a child’s head. Older children and adults can help younger children. Then decorate them – glue on shiny shapes cut out of washed crisp packets, biscuit wrappers or other packaging, then have a fashion parade and maybe prizes. It’s cost nothing and gets across the idea of re-using materials that are thrown away.
If you are lucky enough to be having an outdoor party children will happily run about, playing hide and seek, tag, or blowing bubbles, and treasure hunts are always popular.
Children love being noisy so how about an Environmental Can-can? Get o load of drinks cans, wash them out and leave somewhere warm to dry. Provide a selection of dried beans, pebbles etc, and let the children put a few in a can and shake it. (Tape over the hole first). It’s amazing what a difference the various beans make to the sound. Then organise a can-can dance with children shaking the cans (you’ll need to find a way to play the tune – either use a recording or a kazoo).
I’ve been a professional children’s party entertainer for 25 years, so take it from me that party music sets the tone of the party. If you play disco or wild pop music you are creating an over stimulating environment that is the equivalent of feeding children on sugar, E numbers, and worse. Chose something reasonably calm, and a bit different – you’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes.
Environmentally Themed Entertainment
Some children’s entertainers now offer an environmentally themed show – the quality varies enormously so try to find someone who has been recommended by a friend. If you live in South West England, then Professor Paradox is highly recommended and his award winning Environmental Show is guaranteed to make people laugh as well as think
Food for an Environmentally Friendly Party
Of course you want to give children healthy unprocessed food that didn’t come in a packet from a supermarket, but remember that not all the children will necessarily eat bean sprouts and carrot juice. If it’s a class party from school, some of the guests may live on pizza and crisps, so you have to try to please everyone. Children will almost always eat sausages, beans and burgers (particularly the ones from vegetarian homes) and it isn’t difficult to get good quality organic alternatives, and even vegetarian alternatives for children who don’t want to eat meat. Pizza is always popular, and again there are healthier options, and gluten free alternatives are available.
Crisps are almost indispensable and again there are some good ones available that are not so loaded with fat and salt, and you can even get organic ones if you are prepared to pay for them.
You’ll want to avoid too much sugar, so well presented fruit salads with a good quality ice cream are good instead of the usual sugar junk. Presentation is important so present it as ‘Tropical Island Fruit Salad’. It’s easy to make horrible fruit salads – Granny Smith apples, banana and orange is the worst combination we have come up wit! But it is just as easy to make good ones, and remember that children have strong likes and dislikes, so a platter of pieces of mango, pineapple, melon, grapes, mangoes and tangerines will work well so children can select the bits they like.
As for the cake, the birthday child will probably want a theme so the best thing is to get a birthday cake book, and adapt it to a healthy recipe. Don’t be too purist – you can make a good chocolate cake that doesn’t have too much sugar in it, or even better a carrot cake, but do avoid fruit cakes because children have a tendency to dislike one of the things in it and will spend ages picking them out. The tradition of the birthday child blowing all their germs all over the cake before it is divided up is as enduring as the cake itself so not a lot we can do about it, but if you are concerned about it, then serve individual cup cakes.
Healthy Drinks for Ecological Themed Birthday Parties
As for drinks, obviously avoid the usual sugar saturated E number hyped up tooth rot so be imaginative. How about water from the magic fountain that gives everyone super powers so that they can run faster, see further, do the loudest burps, and hear distant sounds from beyond the forest and behind the moon? It’s only fizzy water but with a bit of imagination it can taste pretty good. Alternatively there is a huge variety of interesting fruit juices and you can dilute them with fizzy water – poured from a jug they look better and lend themselves to names like Juice of the Tropical Rainbow Fruits from the Enchanted Islands of the Golden Lake etc.
If you can have an outside party then a picnic is always a good option then you can sit children on rugs and they will just enjoy the novelty of a picnic
Environmentally Friendly Party Bags
Very few parents like party bags. They tend to contain worthless plastic junk, sugar, and E numbers and most of the stuff is quickly thrown away to end up in land fill. There are however alternatives – an activity-book, or a story is much better and doesn’t cost a lot.
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