Tag Archives | greener birthday parties for older kids

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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Greener Birthday Parties for Older Kids

While the party is still fresh in my mind and I’ve embraced the fact another year has passed (all too quickly) for another one of my children, I wanted to write an article about hosting a greener party for older kids. I have to say the planning, execution, and green factor (being high!) from this party was very easy this year. Yes, it’s our 3rd year of hosting green parties for our children, including asking for donations in lieu of gifts, but there was no big meltdown (on my part) this year so I wanted to make some realistic recommendations to help parents trying to plan greener parties or celebrations.

When I think or say ‘greener birthday party’ or ‘eco-friendly birthday party’ a vision of children sitting around dying play dough with vegetables as the craft, eating raw/organics and picking up garbage as the activity often comes to mind. This is a lovely concept, but more realistic for younger children. The older kids get, they are picky and want to enforce their opinions on details and activities for their party..this is why things can often get expensive.  This past weekend we hosted Angelo’s 7th birthday party at a local rec centre (no I wasn’t up to the task of having 15 hyper boys in my house with only me to entertain them) and they had a teen room that is reserved during weeknights as a teen centre. The room is equipped with a Ping Pong & Pool Table, Foosball, Air Hockey, Basketball dual game, and a Wii system. There was also a party host that took them to the gym for an hour to play floor hockey and soccer. The key…these boy party guests stayed active, active, active!  The kids left the party having exercised and played with lots of different partners in the party room with the fun activities.

So the venue rocked and was very easy for my husband and I. A few other things I found easy:

Sent the annual Evite to save on paper invitations and hurt feelings from any children that weren’t invited to the party when paper invitations are passed around a classroom.

Used Angelo’s name banner for the 2nd year…best decoration for a child’s room and birthday party from my company Green Planet Parties. Besides for the tablecloth, this is the only decoration needed in this party room – everyone loved it.

My boys are crazy for Harry Potter so rather than host a Harry Potter themed party – we used understated wizard magic with the loot bags. They were cloth camouflage bags that contained organic candy, wooden wizard wands, and grey felt beards (so everyone can be like Dumbledore) once they are home. I have to say, the last guest to leave had the best reaction ever to the loot bags. He opened the bag and took out the wand and screamed “really? You got me my very own wand?” It was just awesome….anyone that believes boys need plastic, battery operated toys to be happy is frankly mistaken.

Brought in earth friendly tableware. I used palm leaf plates, corn cups and put all party guests names on them so they only used one throughout the party, used wooden cutlery, and recycled napkins. The facility where we hosted the party doesn’t have curb-side pickup for food waste so we packed up all the food waste and compostable tableware and brought it home with us to compost.  It was very easy.

For the third year Angelo hosted a donation party and asked his friends to bring a donation rather than a gift. He is a very green little guy and sees the value in helping a charity and knows that the amount of packaging that will be saved from toys and gift wrap is important. It really helps cut down on unrecyclable plastic when you ask children not to bring gifts to a party. We left the party with just envelopes because most of the kids made their own cards. In previous years, Angelo has helped Endangered Animals because it’s a concept younger children love – helping animals. This year, Angelo decided to give 1/2 of his party donations to Cancer Research because our family lost my father-in-law last year to a courageous battle to cancer so it’s a new cause that is close to their hearts. Donation parties really help empower children because they are making decisions (sometimes for the first time) with where their money is going – it gives them confidence and makes them proud.

For the first time in a long time, I simply just enjoyed the party. I wasn’t running around like a crazy person…I had support and help and got to enjoy the 3 hours, taking pictures and playing games with the kids.

I may be the owner of Green Planet Parties, but I’m not perfect and have a few areas to improve next year.  I love the convenience of supermarket cakes…I really don’t enjoy baking and know I’m not capable of pulling off a Harry Potter cake on my own, but knowing the icing is made from loads of artificial colors and the toys on top of the cake are made with PVC, doesn’t make me feel great. The convenience is wonderful…but I’d love to find another solution. There are lots of smaller cupcake, cookie, cake pop bakers in every community that are making these items from scratch and are probably more healthy than the supermarket. One person I’ve become friends with on Twitter is Event Envy. Not only is this mompreneur witty and friendly on social media, but her cakes and cake pops are incredible! My new favorite from her site is the Ruffle Cake!

Besides for the cake ‘fail’ I also brought juice boxes to the party. We did use water pitchers with the corn cups instead of plastic water bottles, but didn’t have enough containers to serve juice. The centre had recycling facilities and took care of the juice boxes but I would eliminate these for next time.

Ohhh just remembered I used beeswax candles on the birthday cake rather than petroleum based.  Maybe I just earned a point back?  <smile>

I wanted to write a post that anyone can follow regarding hosting greener birthday parties for children of any age. It’s still very possible (easy in fact) and doesn’t need to be this incredibly stressful occasion for parents. It should be enjoyable and fun….it is a party after-all!  Hmmmm next party is for my 4 year old twin daughters so everything might change trying to balance the ‘princess’ wishes they’ve been talking about.  That’s okay…I have a few ideas of my own how to keep their party green, fun, and girlie!  Wish me luck.

New, locally handmade items are arriving for Green Planet Parties. Join us on Facebook via the Fan Page so you don’t miss any of these new additions.

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