Tag Archives | kid’s birthday party

Eco-Friendly (er) Kid’s Birthday Party

Well it’s been a busy week here…more so than Christmas.  Why?  It’s been a weekend of Eco-friendly party planning for a 5 year old boy ~ my Angelo.  I won’t go into the intense emotion that I feel when one of my kids gets one year older and I’m just not ready.  Here are some practical emotions I realized while hosting this Eco-friendly, sustainable, birthday party.    

During the preparations for Angelo’s special party, I had a few ‘light bulb moments’ about party give-aways.  I am very sensitive to the plight of boys and what constitutes a ‘cool’ loot bag or party give-away.  You have to be very creative with boys so they aren’t disappointed with a give-away that doesn’t light up, shoot something, or have a super hero on the front of it.  As I geared up for Angelo’s special celebration I couldn’t help but think back to last year, because we were having the same wonderful performer come to the house to keep the kids entertained.  This year it was a clown, last year he came dressed as a magician.  The give-aways last year included magician themed toys: clown nose, funny glasses with big nose, wand, deck of cards, etc.  I started second guessing myself, as this year I selected very sustainable, handcrafted give-aways.  When pulling out party supplies to re-use, I found some leftover items from the give-aways we gave last year.  My boys were so excited to see the clown nose and funny glasses. The pangs of guilt increased….but I learned about trusting your instincts and why teaching your children about sustainability is so important.  Within an hour of these new items coming out, the glasses had broken, the nose was ripped in two and the toy magician wand broke – instantly becoming a choking hazard. 

I suddenly felt silly for doubting myself and even a little bad for giving my guests such cheap items the year before.  What did I do this year?  I purchased cowboy fabric and had the master seamstress extraordinaire from Green Planet Parties create tool belt/craft aprons.  Foot long craft/tool mini aprons with pockets and a loop that held a hammer and paper punch to encourage crafting for both girls and boys attending the party.  Girls love to hammer too…so they received hammers, but their aprons were made with pink flower fabric with striped front pockets.  My sons thought these give-aways were awesome and it’s rekindled the intense pride I feel about the education process the Green Planet Party (GPP) site offers parents about giving more Eco-friendly parties for their children and choosing ‘green’ (er) give-away and gift selections.  Besides for this year’s loot bags, my children’s 2 favorite give-aways from recent parties have been a full camouflage apron for Angelo…he runs for it every time he helps in the kitchen and Francesco loves his stainless steel cup that holds his morning milk.  I can’t remember many other give-aways other than books.

I had further affirmation during the party when Francesco, my very cool 6 year old, noticed the cloth, personalized banner and matching camouflage cloth tablecloth for Angelo and quietly says to me “I want the same thing at MY party!”  This was said with a quiet voice, but a loud exclamation at the end of the statement.  And let me tell you, that boy is not easy to impress!

My guests were also wowed by the cold cups made from corn ~ perfectly sized for small hands and the beautiful palm leaf tableware that still takes my breath away with it’s imperfect, naturally stunning design, produced by mother nature herself. 

I thought Angelo would be too young at 4-5 years old when he decided to have a donation party, where the guests bring a cash donation in lieu of gifts, but after watching his big brother last year, he decided he had to help save the lions.  These cats are on the endangered list and Angelo just adores these beautiful animals.  He proudly counted the donations and set aside the amount for the lions.  He knows when he decides on a special gift, he’s welcome to use his 1/2 from the donations and purchase something sustainable and fun.  When given a choice, kids will surprise you every time.  The gift of education from these greener parties will travel through your group of friends and family….continuing to spread the word about unique and important ways to help the earth.  Now the only thing missing from the GPP site is how a mom comes to terms with her baby growing up.  <sob>

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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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