Archive | Eco Kids Projects

5 Tips For Hosting An Eco Party

My baby girls turned 8 years old and to celebrate we headed to their happy place Aldor Acres Farm in Langley. Not only were we blessed to host this party at this amazing farm, Raeleigh from Lark Rise Horse House Photography joined us to capture pictures and memories. I highly recommend bringing a photographer to special parties, especially if they are hosted outside.  The natural lighting, nature backdrop and that ‘eye’ that talented photographers have makes all the difference from snapping your own pictures. And it allows you to truly enjoy the day and be in the moment, rather than concentrating on working a phone/camera. Follow both of these businesses here and here because what they share on Facebook, will bring you many smiles.

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There is no reason for parties to generate more waste than practices in your everyday life. If you have an environmental commitment, it’s easy to incorporate these values into hosting a really fun Eco party!

5 Tips For Hosting An Eco Party

1) Limit Waste. You are hosting a party, not contributing to mass consumerism so why is a party any different than the rest of your life? Try to limit garbage. Especially if hosting at a park or farm, you don’t want to leave the event with a trunk load of garbage. We requested party guests bring reusable water bottles and used compostable tableware; palm plates, recycled napkins and wooden cutlery. We also requested no gifts which really helped limit non-recyclable gift wrap and plastic toy packaging.  The twins have special reusable party banners so this also limits disposable waste from cheap decorations.

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2) Re-think Goodie Bags. It’s easy to hit a dollar store and fill up a little bag of trinkets, but there are so many ways to send guests home with a give-away that is fun and eco-friendly. At this party we brought hanging baskets and the kids potted strawberry plants. They also received a little treat in a handmade bunny bag, but hopefully this summer when they see the first signs of strawberries, they’ll remember our party and their introduction to planting.

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3) Eco Party Games. Classic party games are always a huge hit. We started with an egg toss and since we were at the farm, we had lots of space. I can’t believe it was my kids first time doing an egg toss and to increase the fun we didn’t boil them first. One of my sons ended up with egg on his face and hair..it was awesome! This was the most popular game and we had to buy more eggs from Aldor Acres because they wanted to keep playing. We continued with sack races (old coffee burlap bags) and three-legged race using ties my husband doesn’t use anymore. The burlap sacks and ties gave the games a cool vintage vibe. The classic party games are always amazing..kids yearn for simple things. Fun party memory was all the kids watching the dads have a sack race.

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4) Host a Donation Party. As parents we feel guilty about many things. Since my twins have older siblings that only have donation parties, I started the girls early in life with no gift parties. Then last year I felt guilty that they didn’t have the experience of opening gifts and switched it to a gift party. I was quickly reminded of that huge layer of waste when party guests bring gifts. From the gift wrap to plastic packaging  – it’s a lot. We switched back to a donation party this year and it was amazing. We will be donating the money collected to tinykittens – a foster home for rescue cats and kittens. My twins love holding and watching kittens, so they are very excited to visit and deliver their donations to this amazing place and sponsor a healthy kitten from birth to adoption.

5) Give an Experience. I love hosting parties where guests get to experience something new or get a close look at things my family loves. From our love of Harry Potter, indoor rockwall climbing, forest fairy walks and scavenger hunts, to now sharing the magic of Aldor Acres. I love to watch the excitement from my usually introverted twins build and become contagious with their friends about party themes. When you love where and what you doing, so will the people around you. How often do you get to participate in a goat parade and help herd them? This along with holding lots of baby bunnies, goats, lambs,  hay ride, and having space to run and play with your friends. . . kids love it. And don’t be fooled, even the teenagers that come to the farm with us love it. There is no age limit bonding with animals and spending time outside.

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I think you would be surprised how happy a farmer would be to share their little bit of heaven with a birthday party. With the Spring and Summer months now here, think about booking your next party outside. Thank you to Lark Rise Horse House for capturing so many moments in time that I’ll want to remember forever. Also, Farmer Melissa and Katie for being incredible role models for my daughters. My kids know that behind the smiling faces that greet them at Aldor Acres Farm are very hard working farmers and it’s important to support such a valuable resource. Thank you for being amazing stewards for farmers in BC’s Fraser Valley.

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Related Posts:

How To Play Muggle Quidditch

Hosting A Harry Potter Party

Scavenger Hunt In The Woods

Eco Kids Party – Fairies & Forest Walks

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

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Toilet Paper Roll Seed Starter DIY

I know empty toilet paper rolls are awesome for crafting and over the weekend we tried a DIY project of making TP seed starters. My family had great success with urban farming last year so we are eager to start germinating seeds indoors.  Thanks to many saved TP rolls, we started our planting today.

If you are new to gardening or growing food, snap peas are your best friend! I think they are pretty hard to mess up, hearty, and kids love to pick them. They also grow skyward, so can be grown in small spaces that gets sun. It’s still chilly in March, so here’s how you start them indoors.

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Collect empty toilet paper rolls. Here’s how you make a seedling starter DIY.

1) Cut a toilet paper roll in half.
2) Make small snips around the edges of the roll approx. 1/2 inch long.
3) Fold the edges so the bottom is closed. *TIP* Pour a little water onto the bottom flaps and they will mold together much easier.
4) If your roll won’t stand flat, put a small round bottle inside, to push down the flaps to dry flat.

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After you rolls have dried a bit, grab your potting soil (can be purchased at any nursery) and spoon the dirt into the roll. We filled it almost to the top.

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Read your pea instructions, but Angelo my 10 year old, dipped his pinkie finger up to his knuckle into the dirt to make a hole. We dropped 1 pea into the hole and covered it with dirt.

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Find a low tray to hold all your seed starters and put them in front of a window that gets lots of light. Mist the dirt daily and make sure they stay moist. That’s it. Super easy and I promise your kids will love it. Up next will be lettuce on our germinating tray and heated mat. Follow Mommy Footprint on Instagram or Facebook to check out the fun we’ll have next with lettuce!

Related Articles:

Planting Peas

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Earth Day Projects For Schools

Do you have a really cool idea that promotes environmental stewardship within a school but haven’t been able to get approval to implement it? This is usually a good time to pop your head into the principle’s office and ask “what’s happening at our school for Earth Day?” If they look at you momentarily stunned – you are in luck! Your awesome idea stands a good chance at getting passed because school administrators often needs help coming up with Earth Day projects. Here are 3 ideas that can be organized quickly and with little cost.

DIY Bike Racks & Bike Challenge

I will be trying this idea with my own family for Earth Day week. I was hoping to have the school’s support but I might be biking solo with my clan on April 22nd. I can only hope that my children understand the importance of celebrating Earth Day by challenging ourselves to try new things that reduce waste, fuel, or consumerism. Here is where the inspiration for this idea came from – picture credit Punyx Tumblr:

If your school already has bike racks this Earth Day project is already easy. If not, I love the idea of using up-cycled tires to make them and how much easier can it be to build a bike rack? Our school doesn’t have bike racks so I thought this project of building them teaches the importance of up-cycling materials already available. The other half of this project is to post a challenge sheet in each classroom and kids can record the number of miles or Kms that they walk or bike ride to school during Earth week (April 22-26). At the end of the week, classes or Grades can tally their totals for the number of carbon emissions or greenhouse gas emissions saved by the act of walking or biking instead of kids being driven to school. There are conversion calculators on the web that can transcribe these numbers. The school could post the total number and I think kids that don’t normally bike or walk to school would feel very proud!

Neighborhood Beautification

Working with your city’s environmental department is a great way to get ideas for helping the community on Earth Day. Does the school’s neighborhood have any invasive species or plants that kids can help the city identify and control? Is there a section of forest or river/stream close-by that can be swept for litter? And if it’s okay with the city – have kids make seed bombs in school and then throw into an approved area of the woods. David Suzuki’s Queen Of Green has a link on how to make DIY seed bombs. What could be better than unleashing children into nature with something to throw? They would love it!

Another way to beautiful your school’s neighborhood is to mark storm drains with fish decals to show they lead to waterways and should be protected from chemicals, paint, etc. We marked the storm drains along our street a few years ago – it was a great activity that my kids are still proud of! Again – getting the kids outside with an activity seems like a win/win. Many storm drain marking kits come with literature to hand out so they children become the educators with this project.

Earth Day Festival

This last project will take more time and energy to plan – but the results would be awesome. The key to keeping children engaged about learning how to help the environment is to let them speak to the issue. Kids know better than anyone little ways to help the environment. Not just for one day – little things that can be incorporated into our daily routine that just might inspire permanent change in our households.  One station of the Earth Day festival could have kids talking about how to pack a litterless lunch and why that is important. Maybe this idea could catch on and become a routine day of the week where students bring littler-ess lunch every Monday. Another station could be a game with a sorting station. There would be one large bin with 10 items that need to be sorted into compost, recycle or garbage. Fun! Another station could have a planting station where each child plants a seed into an empty egg carton cup or empty paper milk carton they’ve brought from home.  Having the children in charge of stations where learning is ‘hands-on’ has a larger impact than adults simply talking about it.

Good luck and be sure to post your experiences with Earth day projects within your school on our Fan Page – keep the inspiration flowing!

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Eco Easter Ideas

It seems like most things these days, making something yourself is the best way to avoid toxic nasties. Easter is no different and so I’m excited to share some DIY projects inspired by the Dilly Dally Kids display window (for DIY Easter decorating), egg dying, and Easter egg hunt ideas that minimize waste and traditional Easter junk.

Let’s start with the display window ideas that got me excited to write this article. When it comes to the wonderful world of Pinterest and DIY I try hard not to take on projects that just aren’t obtainable. So when I saw pictures of this feather garland made by Dilly Dally Kids – I knew I wanted to photograph it, write about it and try it. Owners Tyler and Claire hung feathers to twine with clothespins – don’t you love the effect? I even collected a  few feathers from the beach with the kids so that a memory and real feathers could be included in this decoration.

Also displayed by DDK (Dilly Dally Kids) store owners are beautiful paper mache eggs. And for parents looking to minimize or eliminate purchasing more plastic eggs this year to hold treasures, paper mache eggs would be a great addition to an egg hunt. I found an easy DIY tutorial for this using hodgepodge & tissue paper via Pinterest. Here is the inspiration from DDK’s window and look how beautiful the paper mache eggs look nestled in gorgeous nests made from willow branches and a sprinkle of feathers. Imagine a forest walk to collect all of these treasures?  This is so inspiring to discover and decorate with pieces of nature gathered to create unique Easter decor!

Can we talk about Easter morning and one easy, Eco way to reduce plastic crap? Get your kids moving and working for their Easter treasures! The hunt my kids have loved over the last few years didn’t include little trinkets in each egg for the kids; rather a clue to where the next egg could be found. And at the end of the hunt my kids would find one sustainable gift from the Easter Bunny. Last year the kids found fishing rods and I think this year it will be tennis rackets. Anything that promotes keeping them active and playing outdoors I’m all in favour for. For the younger crowd that still delight in discovering toys – check out these adorable wooden bunnies & chicks from DDK. This line of wooden toys is from Europe, each one handmade and painted. You could create a nest similar to the one featured above (in mini form) and arrange these little friends for your sweeties to find.

Now that my sons are a little older (ages 9 and 10) the Easter Bunny sends them all over the neighborhood Easter morning. Pictures taken from a camera or handwritten clues leading kids from egg to egg to a figure in a neighbor’s garden, traffic sign, unique fence/door/garden decoration in the neighborhood is really fun and awesome for the kids. They go running from clue to clue – not thinking about chocolate or candy. They are on the hunt and using their mind, body, and energy to uncover each clue. This is the part of Easter my kids talk about every year and I love it. For my younger kids, the Easter Bunny sets up their hunt in a forest trail. It keeps them safe from traffic and the eggs are scattered along the forest floor and they also lead the kids to a more sustainable Easter gift rather than lots of little trinkets.

My last Easter tip is for parents that have the traditional egg dying craft with kids. With my new found love of using beets to dye icing, play dough, and to eat – I find it easy to dye using vegetables from my fridge. But one drawback to organic colours is sometimes they are not as bright or exciting as artificial. If you are looking for a kit to give you more of a colour spectrum, but still keep the process natural – check out these great egg dying kits! Lucky locals to Vancouver still have lots of time to stop by Dilly Dally Kids on Commercial Drive to pickup thoughtful selections of chocolate, toys, egg dye kits and totally adorable Easter books!

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Beeswax & Leaves – Preserving Fall Memories

If you ask me what my favorite smell is – I will say beeswax. So thinking of a Fall craft that includes melted beeswax really appealed to me. I’ve also been trying to find a way to preserve pieces of nature we collect on our various outings. Fall is especially magical because of the leaves, pinecones, acorns, etc. that are everywhere you look! When there are beautiful pieces of nature constantly around us – there is rarely time I’m tempted to purchase keepsake items after visiting a new farm, pumpkin patch, etc. A rock or leaf is more of a precious memory holder than new toy or gadget.  Here are the steps to preserving nature with the memory written on the back with beeswax. Have a little swoon at the trail (below picture) we collected the 10K leaf from and then we’ll start with the ‘how to’.

I love leaves. I’m one of those people that stops and swoons while walking and during this Fall season the abundance of beautiful colors, shapes, and types of leaves is stunning – especially here on the West Coast. I recently started telling the kids to collect a special leaf on our Fall outings. I’ve seen crafts for making leaf mobiles or wreaths by dipping the leaves in melted beeswax and I thought putting a spin on it with marking memories with the leaves would be special. We’ve managed three really special events recently and for each we collected leaves: 1) a visit to our local pumpkin patch with friends 2) a trip to Aldor Acres farm that has baby bunnies, kittens, piglets and many more farm animals and fun activities 3) walk-a-thon at our school. The walk-a-thon is actually quite special because my 8 year old son signed himself up to run the 10k with the older kids. I had to volunteer to run too because we weren’t sure if he could make the entire 10k being his first time. Like many amazing memories that I have from life – my son Angelo and I completed the 10k together and it was a big milestone for him, really showing that he can do anything he puts his mind to. As we entered the 9th k of the run, it started to get tough and I told Angelo to collect a leaf from the trail. (above picture) He did and that is why you see a leaf in the last picture marked 10k. A special way to preserve that memory and a keepsake for him that won’t crumple when the leaf dries.

How to preserve leaves in beeswax

It’s recommend to use a crock pot or double boiler to melt your block of beeswax. Being that I’m a renegade ‘crafter’ of sorts, I did this a little differently. I collected an aluminum can from the recycling and placed it in boiling water in a pot on the stove. I then purchased 2 thick, large beeswax candles from my local organics store. I also had little bits of beeswax from leftover birthday candles that I also melted down. I removed the wick from all of the candles by cutting them in pieces and placed all of the hard beeswax into the can. It would be much easier if you have a local source to purchase a block or brick of beeswax!

Your leaves do not have to be perfectly flat unless you want them to. Flatten them in a book for a couple of days if you want a flat look. I wanted a natural look and was fine with my leaves already curling – it looks really cool actually! Have your leaves already labed by a Jiffy pen with the memory you want to preserve. e.g. date and location (Pumpkin Patch Oct /12), etc.


I watched the beeswax and once it melted I started dipping leaves. I placed the leaves on cardboard from recycling to dry or you can use wax/parchment paper. Try not to use too much beeswax when coating your leaves or it might pool and will harden quickly on the leaves. You want a thin but thorough coating and you can just hold the leaf stem and dip. I wouldn’t let kids do this part. It’s really not necessary and could result in a burn. Here is my aluminum can in a boiling pot setup:

The scent in my house was heavenly from the beeswax! The leaves look gorgeous and I can’t think of a more magical Fall activity. We will make more leaves and thread yard through the stems to create a fall wreath or mobile of memories by the end of October. Every Fall outing have kids pickup leaves and write their memories on the back while the leave are still fresh. Preserve the memory through their eyes and you’ve got a magical keepsake to remember and save.

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