Tag Archives | party give-away

Compostable Fairy Gardens: Fairy Party Craft

A few weeks ago my twins celebrated their 6th birthday. We incorporated a really special party craft that I wanted to share for a few reasons: it is basically compostable, so party guests can return it to the earth when it gets ratty looking, the amount of imagination it inspired with the kids was amazing, and the supplies required where found for the most part in the forest. I am always totally inspired every time I walk into a West Coast forest – the amount of moss, ferns, and toadstools right now is breathtaking. I wanted a way to bring some of this beauty into the party give aways at the twins party. I mean really, it would just be too easy to go into the Green Planet Parties warehouse and start pulling out magical items. I wanted to challenge myself and incorporate a few of the fairy items from this popular category on the site, but also input some creativity. So voila – the concept of creating compostable fairy houses and wooden dolls was born and the effect was quite magical. So here is how you can construct the ultimate craft with a fairy themed soiree!

Collecting Supplies For Compostable Fairy Houses:

This was my favorite part of the craft. I got the opportunity to walk into our local Mall and rather than walking out with purchased goods, I went to all of the shoe stores and asked them for empty shoe boxes. Shoe stores collect many empty boxes during the day from customers that opt out of taking them home.  They are just broken down and recycled, but I managed to collect close to 20 over a 2-day period. I would advise getting regular sized shoe boxes…not big ones from boots. Here is what the stack of boxes looked like pre-party.

After we had boxes collected (1 box per party guest), we headed into the forest and started collecting our nature. The bottom of each shoe box was going to be lined with moss.  It’s easy to find thick, wet, beautiful moss in our local forest so we collected our moss and fallen twigs. Moss to line the bottom of the box and twigs to create rugs and ladders for inside the fairy house and fallen ferns to create a pretty design inside the house. I thought the ferns might look nice in small section in the fairy house glued to the side of the walls to give a shutter or the allusion of window blinds.

 

Making Wooden Fairies for Fairy Garden:

We then decided to include a wooden clothespin fairy for the girls to decorate inside their fairy house. We used all upcycled materials for these that included: wooden clothespins, tissue paper for wings, sharpie to draw faces and hair, fabric scraps to make clothing. We pre-painted faces (I did the faces and my girls did the hair) onto the clothespin dolls and we loved how they turned out. The ladies are whispering below how excited they are to get dressed and have a rest on their leaf bed.

The ladies continued to chat to each other about how they wanted to be dressed. Also included in the below picture is some inspiration to avoiding glitter to decorate the fairy wands. We found glass beads and glued them to the middle of the wooden wands (same beads we used for the pond) – loved the effect!

In order to ‘dress’ the fairies, we cut out rectangular strips of tissue paper. We slid the tissue paper up the clothespin opening, then fanned out wings. Then the girls used Green Glue and glued on the little bits of clothing I had pre-cut. The effect was lovely and I wanted the party guests to have a doll and some quality pieces from inside the house that they could play with for a long time.  Here is a dressed doll after one of our guests finished gluing on clothes.

Putting Together Fairy Houses:

After the party guests finished making a doll, they painted a few quality pieces that would be reused from the fairy house (the shoebox, moss and twig pieces could later be composted) and they included, fairy doors and beds from Green Planet Parties. The beds had huge impact with the girls because they were able to lay their newly acquired fairy dolls and put them to sleep inside the box. Here are the fairy doors that each party guests painted.

A great idea if using a fairy door for your fairy house is to cut out an opening in the shoe box where the fairy door can be placed. It’s the entry point for all the magic inside the house to be contained!  I did this for a few of the guests and they loved the effect!

While the guests were painting fairy doors and wooden wands, I was getting another table ready for the completion of the houses. The guest had their shoebox ready with moss inside, a leaf bed w/ pillow and twig ladder next to it to put inside the box, the fairy they had decorated, I put the guest’s name on the box, then they walked over with their fairy door and wand that was put into the box to dry. They started looking like this:

Another extra I had waiting to put into the box were blue glass rocks. Once a few were added to the corner of a fairy house it looked like a pond where the fairy could have a swim later.

Voila!  Close the lid and the fairy garden/house/doll is ready to go home when your party guests. I wrote names on the outside of each box so it was easy when guests were picked up to find their box. With the shoe box lids closed, I loved watching the reaction of parents (probably thinking why is she giving me this?) but then I looked them in the eye and said “compostable fairy house” and the adult’s eyes lit up because they knew these take home gifts were something different and unique.

Prep time for these fairy boxes should be about two weeks before the actual party. You want to enjoy the process of going into the forest and searching for treasures. Try to find sticks, leaves, acorns that have already fallen onto the forest floor. One idea we had was to collect acorns and glue them to the head of each fairy doll but there weren’t any in our area this time of year. It would have been a cute accent but I love how the faces on the dolls turned out. A glue gun really came in handy with making the twig ladders – I would have loved to make and hang some windows with twigs in each box too.  Using the glue gun also allowed me to not have to use glitter with decorating the wands. By adding a glass bead to the centre of the wooden wands, the girls just added some paint to them and we by-passed using glitter. I try to stay away from it because it’s plastic. I didn’t want this getting into the compostable materials inside the box.

We had a little over 15 party guests and it’s doable, but a smaller number of children is probably recommended for this craft. I divided the kids up into 2 groups otherwise it would have been overwhelming to orchestrate all of the little steps. It’s fun when you can take the time to listen to the kids and have them decide what all of the materials will be in their house: carpets from sticks, windows, ponds – very fun!

I write this article not as the owner of Green Planet Parties, but as a mom of two adorable little girls and a person with a serious Peter Pan complex; never want to grow up and someone that believes that fairies are real!

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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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Reaction To Eco Kid’s Birthday Party

I’ve waited almost 1 month to post the reactions from parents and their children to the eco party we hosted to celebrate Francesco’s 6th birthday.  Nobody, and there were 20 kids with parents, had a single negative thing to say.  I wasn’t worried about the reduction of party supplies concerning my guests and I was pretty sure they would like the give-aways…it was feedback about Francesco not getting any presents.  I even had visions of children telling me I wasn’t a nice mommy for taking this away from him, but everybody, including the children loved it!  Most parents had never attended a party where the birthday child’s parent requests that a small donation is brought for the birthday child in lieu of a gift.  The total amount of dollars from the party is split in 1/2, the birthday child can purchase a special gift with their portion and a social cause is the recipient of the other 1/2.  Parents just LOVED this idea!  And the children all thought Francesco was the coolest for helping save the tigers.  Comments from parents included “Love the idea of reducing plastic from the large amount of toys everyone receives at children’s parties” and “My older children heard about Francesco saving the tigers and would like to help the planet at their birthday party too!” .

The best comment from a parent regarding the give-away (planter that was wrapped with a brown recyclable bag, with dirt and seeds) was “This is bar none, by far, no doubt about it.. the VERY BEST giveaway we have ever seen. And I love the fact that there is nothing commercial about it!! And it’s so… well, uh…. GREEN!!!! The planter alone serves as a constant reminder that we need to “get back to the basics” with the kids…  LOVE IT!!!”

As mentioned before, Francesco decided to donate 1/2 of his birthday money raised at the party to help the tigers.  We donated his money via the online donation through the Wildlife Conservation Society’s website.  If your child is a fan of wild animals, their website has some great information, very child friendly, and interesting.  Their commitment to involving children with the conservation of wild animals is clear.  One feature of their site has an awesome game for kids to play and learn (no donation is required) how their actions affect wild life and the planet.  The page is called The Human Footprint and there are three steps to complete.  First you choose to ‘Learn’ and you select one of the 31 animals featured.  It gives you information about where that endangered animal lives, the problem the animal faces, what the WCS is doing to help, and how your child can help in the long term or within 24 hours.  Pretty neat that my child can feel immediately empowered that they are helping their favorite animal!  The 2nd step to this exercise is to ‘Act’ , so you select the ‘I want to help GO’ arrow where your child can read about global challenges and options they can commit to in order to help their animal.  They can then select the ‘I want to do it’ box and realize that a very easy act can help make a difference for animals and the planet.

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