Children’s birthday parties seem to have taken on the role of a major event in a child’s life. It might seem obvious that they would, but it hasn’t always been the case. Birthday parties used to be rather low key when I was growing up and we didn’t need a party planner or weeks notice to attend. Things are a little more complicated these days. But even with the most elaborate of birthday parties, it is possible to invoke a simpler theme and reduce the toxic footprint that some parties leave on our planet. Here are some ideas:

  1. Ditch the juice boxes and use pitchers of infused water. Not only are pitchers nice to look at but infused water is detoxifying and promotes health. The kids won’t even notice the missing juice boxes, which has the added bonus of less sugar for their little bodies! I explore drinking sugar in more detail here.
  2. Use homemade garland to decorate instead of balloons and shiny confetti that will end up in a landfill. You can reuse it each year and it can even be a fun craft to do with your kids leading up to the party. Check Pinterest for ideas.
  3. Don’t serve snacks. Having bowls of fruit and organic candy lying around can add to the theme and decor of your party. It’s amazing how kids will graze on fruit if they don’t have an alternative. A tray of veggies and dip can also go over well, especially with the grown ups. In summer months having fruit popsicles in bowls of ice is also a cute idea.
  4. Make your own cake or cupcakes. Kids don’t really mind if the cake is homemade. Making it yourself, or asking a talented friend to make it, means that you can include organic ingredients and not worry about the artificial ones present in commercially made cakes. Decorating cup cakes is an easier option if cake-making is not part of your skill set. Again, Pinterest can save the day here.
  5. Give sustainable party favors. A nice idea is to have the party theme around the party favor so the kids have an activity and a take home gift. It can be as simple as an art project, painting a flower pot, making beaded jewelry or decorating a reusable shopping bag. My personal favorite is a Smoothie Party where the kids can learn how to make a “signature” smoothie and then take home a reusable smoothie cup.

I think it’s time for us to admit that a plastic bag full of landfill-destined tokens is not helping our planet. We need to be kind to Mother Nature because we are merely borrowing this great earth from future generations.