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Ditch the balloons and use Chinese paper lanterns. Ditch the balloons and use Chinese paper lanterns.
Package presents in reusable boxes or cloth sacks.Bake with organic ingredients.Teach children about nature and our food by going to a farm.

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Eco-Friendly Birthday Parties

Top Ten Ways to Have a Green Birthday Party

            Streamers, hats, presents, and cake may make up some of the happiest childhood memories we have, but unfortunately they are not part of a green birthday party. Especially in the case of children, birthday parties are all about easy clean up and disposable decorations, which both make for a very wasteful party. Instead of having a traditional party this year, lead by example and show your kids how to have a green birthday party. To help you get started, here are the top ten tips for an eco-friendly birthday bash.

1.  Digitize Your Invitations

          Sending paper invitations can be very wasteful and oftentimes people lose them. Instead of paper, why not send an email invitation? You can customize these with pictures or themes of your own, and even request an electronic RSVP. Not thrilled about trusting the invites to the internet? If you have to go with paper, make sure you buy invitations made from recycled paper.

2. Ditch the Paper and Plastic, Serve Food on Reusable Utensils

            Most birthday parties have food served on paper plates with disposable utensils. This makes for easy cleanup and less dishwasher loads, but ultimately really sucks for the environment. No one recycles these items, so they end up slowly decomposing in a landfill. In order to have a green birthday party serve food on real plates with actual silverware.

3. Reusable Decorations

          Most adults can remember the parties with streamers and plastic cartoon tablecloths. But when the party is over all of these decorations go straight into the trash, creating a huge amount of waste. Instead of balloons try paper lanterns, which provide colorful focal points and soft light as well. Make a felt banner with your child's name, and give everyone cloth napkins. The cleanup may require a little elbow grease at the end, but your trashcan will be blissfully empty.

4. Pick an Outdoor Setting

            The only thing worse than a bull in a china shop is twelve third graders in your house. Kids like to run, scream, and play, and that is best done outside. For a green birthday why not have a picnic, take a tour of a farm, or pick apples? If your child has a winter birthday, nothing compares to inner tubing down snowy slopes. Having a physical activity outdoors will expose kids to glorious nature and drain their energy for cake and present time.

5. Give Presents in Reusable Containers

            You may not be able to tell your guests what to do, but you at least can give your child his gifts in reusable containers. This could mean anything from a neat box to a cloth bag. The point is that you won't be tossing or burning a pile of wrapping paper the size of a sumo wrestler at the end of the party.

6. Talk to Your Child About Donations as Gifts

            This is a topic that must be gently approached, but have your child consider donations as gifts. It is likely that he has a ton of toys already, and doesn't need more plastic that will be discarded when it is no longer interesting. Try talking about having friends donate to a local animal shelter, or maybe to UNICEF. Ask your child what bothers him, or what he really cares about. This way you not only have a green birthday party, you teach your child about the joys of giving.

 7. Serve Organic Foods

            Studies have recently begun linking artificial preservatives and food dyes to learning disabilities in children. Stop your guests from going haywire by serving organic foods free of dues and preservatives. For green birthday party foods try cookies with bran or oatmeal; and for a really tricky move, serve chocolate zucchini cake. It is the richest and most moist cake you'll ever eat, and the kids won't even be able to detect the veggies.

8. Give Eco-Friendly Favors

            No child needs a bag of candy or plastic. The former will just get him hopped up and the latter will only get lost or thrown away. Instead, give your guests green party favors such as rocks, geodes, or plants. If it's gardening season, invite them to plant some seeds outdoors. Small hummingbird feeders are also an affordable favor that can fascinate a child if hung outside her window.

9. Play Games That Don't Involve Electronics

            Nothing is more depressing than a bunch of children zoned out in front of a video game. Save electricity and unplug the kids by playing games that don't involve the TV or computer. Play tag or whack a good old-fashioned piñata, the choices are many. By playing games you'll have a green birthday party and lively children.

10. Use the Birthday as a Teachable Moment

            You don't want your child's green birthday to be a onetime deal, instead you want to continue to make an impact on the earth. If your children see you acting respectfully towards the environment, chances are they will too. This doesn't mean you have to preach, simply lead by example and your children will follow.

Submitted by SuperGreenMe on Oct 2, 2008