When you are talking about kid's birthdays and being green, it's usually not in the same sentence. Let's face it, birthday parties are about games, presents, cake and goodie bags - that's it. Yes, I know that it's supposed to be a celebration and gifts aren't important, but try telling that to a preschooler!
This year we tried to do it a little bit differently for my son's birthday party. I invited 5 kids (4 families) and each came with a parent. Before I knew what I'd done, I'd gotten caught up in the birthday decor - the plates, the tablecloth... none of it reusable. But before it went to far, I stopped myself.
I went hunting to see what leftovers we had and began to plan what we needed for parties. To that end, I went to IKEA and bought a six piece set of kid's plastic bowls, plates, cups and cutlery. Now the kiddies had fun stuff to use and I can reuse it here daily as well as for my next kiddie birthday party (coming up quick). I used the paper stuff for the adults, but only opened one package of plates, figuring we'd switch to my dinnerware if needed.
I knew I wanted to hand out goodie bags - last year I did books and a toy car - things that would last. This year I sewed up a tote bag, a crayon roll (with crayons) and a matching bean bag. I added a colouring book and viola. A goodie bag that has things in it designed to last a long time and spark the imagination. I'm pretty proud of them, that's for sure and will post a picture here asap.
As for cake - the only kind my son can have is either homemade (and I didn't have time to make one) or an icecream cake. We chose an icecream cake big enough for the party and the family gathering coming later. (after all - it goes in the freezer, right?) The only part of that we didn't recycle or eat was the base under the cake.
Prior to his party, I cleaned out the kid's toys and packed up a large box of stuff to take to the swapmeet. Kid 'stuff' swapmeets are very popular here, and I've been building up a big collection of stuff to take to one.
Many of his gifts didn't have much for packaging - a big plus, but for those that did, I pulled it all apart until I had everything recyclable out of there and in the blue bin. There wasn't very much waste, which was a really good thing.
The party was a great success - 6 preschoolers and two babies playing, yelling, screaming! 3 hours, plenty of help. This allowed us to enjoy the kids and the day. I think that having planned a little better this year, and having considered the impact of most of what we did, helped to make it a little Greener than it would have been without the legwork.
We've got lots of room for improvement, but this was a fabulous start!