Tag Archives | Eco Kids Party

Eco Kids Party – Fairies & Forest Walk

It’s no secret I love fairies. I dressed up as Peter Pan last Halloween and I relate to this classic character in so many ways. Being the owner and having a creative outlet like Green Planet Parties has been a gift – the ability to reach a large audience of parents looking to make better environmental choices at their children’s birthday parties is wonderful. I’d like to share the planning and results of my twin daughters greener birthday party and the hope was to capture the magic of a fairy walk, through our nearby woods and test our woodland creativity. I’m writing about this party because when I was researching forest walk party ideas on the internet…I started to feel nervous because the elaborate and beautiful examples I was reading through were out of my budget and amount of time I  had to make some magic happen. The results from our fairy party were amazing and although many of the Green Planet Parties fairy products were integrated into the forest walk and eye-spy – I also used my imagination and borrowed items from friends which is attainable for anyone planning a fairy themed or woodland party. A very talented photographer lent her eye and captured some great pictures and her name is Tamsen Ogden. You can view the all the pictures on the updated Gallery page of Green Planet Parties located here.

The forest setup and eye-spy was the best part of my day. I had my sons to help me and it was so much fun climbing trees to string felt garland to mark the entrance way into the forest and the end of the walk. My boys loved helping attach the fairy window and fairy chimney to one of the trees in the forest.  These were the first items to spot when the girls would enter the forest. They are such cute items….with the fairies having a window box with flowers and fireplace to enjoy inside the tree.

We collected and setup ‘gifts’ that the fairies might have left in the forest to show they are happy living in the trees and to also work as an eye-spy game to keep the young guests engaged. The length of the trail or forest walk would depend on ages and time-frame…our walk lasted about 10 minutes for each guest which was perfect for 4 and 5 year olds. Every 10 feet there would be a gift left by the fairies. There was a tea-set in an abandoned tree house built into the forest, felt acorn capped ornaments hanging from branches, a beautiful fairy house borrowed from a friend, wooden bird houses hanging in branches, a bucket of wooden wands that each little girl enjoyed keeping, and my favorite – the outdoor fairy door. These outdoor fairy doors have such huge W-o-W factor because they open, are a really big size (11″ high), are handcrafted with amazing quality, and treated so they are can be used in the garden after the party as a year-round decoration. Here are some pictures of these special fairy treasures.

Once the forest was setup, we led party guests to the entrance of the trail. The girls went into the forest in sets of two and were told to look for signs or gifts from the fairies. They had to remember these items and tell the helper at the end of the trail all the things they remembered. My niece helping wrote down the items that they remembered. I loved watching the reactions of party guests finding a hidden treasure in the forest and knocking softly on the fairy door. A few eco-friendly tips for setting up the fairy walk and helped keep things on budget was picking up a new paint can from a local paint store and painting the outside of it to hold the wooden wands. I loved the effect and thought that pinning fabric around the can would be beautiful too. I also wanted an earth friendly glitter to sprinkle and lead guests to magical forest items. Earth friendly glitter doesn’t exist because traditional glitter is produced from plastic and I didn’t want to be putting that on a forest floor so I hoe-punched seed paper. I loved the effect of having something contrasting with the soil that caught their eye (pictured in the fairy door photo). I didn’t have to worry about leaving any of this material behind once the party was finished because the paper is compostable and embedded with wild flower seeds.

My girls wore silk wings that are so incredibly earthy and they loved how the wings floated behind them when they ran through the forest. After the walk they seemed pretty happy with what the fairies created. After we arrived home the fairies were busy with more surprises. The tabletop was set with more earthy fun, starting with compostable heart shaped palm leaf plates, borrowed tea cups for lemonade and ice-tea, cloth tablecloth with acorn appliques, and two toadstool cakes that were made by a local bakery and decorated with wooden toys by the birthday girls. The only party decorations really needed inside were the name banners that are such high impact for adding a festive feel to a room. Both girls picked out their own fabrics and they loved the result – Green Planet Parties banners are a wonderful keepsake and heirloom decoration that will last for many birthday celebrations.

The goodie bags were really well received from parents and party guests. It’s always so refreshing for parents to receive loot bags that don’t contain plastic and dollar store items that tend to break right away. For the girls party I integrated the outdoor fairy vibe by using Toadstool cloth goodie bags containing organic sweets, butterfly kerchiefs, twig inspired pencils, and earth friendly notepads (made from 100% post consumer recycled material).  It was wonderful to spend a few hours outside and although parties hosted at home are always lots of work, there is a big sense of pride when they are over. Parties hosted at home are probably a little darker shade of green that most parties because you’re able to utilize your own dishes, tablecloths, etc. I’m hopeful that this party is one my girls will always remember because just like them – it was unique, full of surprises, and a joy to be with!

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Build-A-Bear and Educating Children About Endangered Animals

I discovered a few interesting facts involving endangered animals that I wanted to share.  I’ve had endangered animals on my mind since the boys and I visited our zoo last weekend.  We never miss an opportunity to discuss animal issues, especially when we say hi to the tigers that Francesco believed he’s rescued from extinction from his birthday party donations.  The boys mentioned at the zoo that perhaps it would be nice to save a different animal species at his birthday party next year.  The impact and dialogue that resulted from Francesco requesting donations in lieu of gifts, just continues to build.  Every hawk/eagle that circles the sky, one of my boys always comments that we’ll have to save them next.  I love that they are thinking of helping animals above the fun of receiving presents. I’m still receiving positive comments and feedback from parents about this idea.

The highlight of our zoo visit is the miniature train you can ride that tours the entire zoo.  The part that I enjoy the most is the train conductor who gives interesting and adorable animal facts over their loud speaker while driving the train.  They are such cute bits of information for the kids – here are a few:

♦  All zebras have the same number of stripes…they are just organized in a different pattern on each zebra.

◊  If you shaved all the fur off a tiger, the stripe pattern would still be visible on their skin.

♦  Flamingos are not naturally pink.  The alpha and beta-carotene in their diet makes them this color…without it they would be gray.

◊  A giraffe’s heart weighs 25 lbs.  Also, a  giraffe only sleeps for 1/2 hour per day (24 hour period).  If a giraffe naps for 1 minute…that is considered a deep sleep.  (Yikes!!)

♦  And lastly, what started me on this topic – the Siberian Tigers at our zoo, will likely be extinct in the wild by the year 2010.  Right now they are considered extremely endangered.

Francesco has always loved those tigers at the Vancouver Zoo and it makes us so sad to think about how endangered their species is.  It got me thinking that a ‘softer’ way to introduce a younger child to the plight of endangered animals is to engage them in a really fun activity.  Take them to Build-A-Bear!  This may sound like a contradiction to most Eco activities, but we are talking about a great way to provide information and education without the child even realizing it.  Build-A-Bear makes it easy by featuring World Wildlife Fun Friends.  For every animal purchased in their WWF Collection, Build-A-Bear will donate $1 to the World Wildlife Fund.  What a great idea! 

hmmmm ..can you imagine if Webkinz did the same thing?  With how many Webkinz creatures they sell…the dollar amount would be incredible!  I’m just thinking out loud, but I might need to send off an email.  <smile>

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A Happy Day For The Polar Bears???

Well, it’s either a very sad or happy day for the polar bears…I can’t decide which. Today, the US Government has decided that the polar bear species should be protected as a threatened species. The problem is the decline in Artic sea ice from global warming.  According to World Wildlife Fund, “If current warming trends continue, they may disappear within 100 years.” That would mean my great-grandchildren wouldn’t know what these elegant and beautiful animals would look like in the wild.

Climate change is destroying polar bear habitat, putting the species at risk of extinction.  Sea ice, which polar bears depend on for hunting animals, melted to record low levels last summer. The projection for ice melting this summer is expected to be “extreme” also.  Geoffrey York, coordinator of WWF’s Polar Bear Conservation Program says “Based on the best available science, if current sea ice trends continue, two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will be lost by 2050. We should be taking every action possible to reduce stresses on polar bears, and we believe that oil and gas activities pose formidable risks to the Arctic sea ice ecosystem and the polar bears that inhabit it.

I find eye-opening information like the above quote, a great platform for discussions with my kids.  I showed Angelo some polar bear pictures from the web and explained what was happening with the bears.  He had two comments.  “I KNEW Francesco should have saved the polar bears at his birthday party!”  (Francesco’s party benefitted the tigers from friends bringing a donation in lieu of gifts.)  And his other comment “Well, thank goodness Sophie is saving them if we can’t!” (It’s timely, but the boys are attending a birthday partythis weekend, where the little girl decided she wanted to help the polar bears rather than receive presents.)  If only children ruled the world… Countries would be on time-outs – rather than at war and the preservation of animals would be more important than the excessive importance of oil and gas!  

 

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