Through creating this kids party planning website I’ve started thinking more deeply about kids parties. It has directed me towards putting into words my developing philosophy of kids parties. It has started me thinking about concepts like sustainability and rubbish-free parties.

Sustainability is thankfully becoming more ‘on trend’. It’s about being more mindful of where our food comes from and other products we use. It’s about deciding if we should buy more and use certain things. Think of all the rubbish that is produced from a kids party. Can we keep throwing out plastic party plates and balloons for generations to come? Do your children need more plastic toys? Can we sustain this and how will it impact on our children’s future?

I’ve thought of some ways to host a more sustainable kids party.

* Borrow items instead of buying more. Reusing, up-cycling and recycling items for your party. Has someone you know recently hosted a birthday party? Could you borrow bits from them? Could you borrow that gorgeous glass drinks canister from your aunty? Use party hire companies where party items get reused.

* Visit op-shops to find some recycling gems. You could find some gorgeous plates and glasses to use instead of plastic. Maybe even some napkins to wash and reuse. I love a good reason to go op-shopping. Your children don’t need matching/themed/licensed plates. If you want to source some Eco-Friendly party supplies try Owned by Laura and Richard in Northland, who have two children and are focused on sustainable living and supporting local business. Their Children’s Eco Party Pack for $15.50 is a great value alternative.

* Become more like nana, get back into saving giftwrap and recycling it. Wrap your pass the parcel in your children’s artwork.

* Instead of presents ask guests to donate to a charity. This would be a great learning opportunity for an older child. You could involve them in planning which charity they would like to help. Imagine the pride they would feel in personally delivering their donation.

* Another presents idea not for the ‘faint hearted’… To avoid more plastic or unneeded toys coming into your home explain to guests you are trying to be more mindful of sustainability. Offer them suggestions of useful gifts your child needs; socks, hair clips, soccer ball. Or maybe they are getting a pet rabbit for their birthday and would people like to contribute a small cash contribution to a rabbit hutch.

* Ensure you don’t over cater and waste food. You could make each guest their own ‘food box’. This would work great at an outdoor venue and kids would love it. Minimal food wastage, less money spent and less work for you. Pop Roc Parties stocks beautiful little cardboard boxes, pictured above, which you could decorate with ribbon or twine to match your party theme. I’m looking forward to trying this at my next party away from home. Pop Roc Parties also have a lovely Eco-Friendly range. Love this gorgeous wooden cutlery.

* Don’t do party bags/favors… or think of alternatives to party bags/favors. Give one useful item as the take home gift instead of five little bits of plastic that will break or get lost. Make your own favors or use food favors. Give homemade playdough or biscuits. Put together a craft activity that matches your party theme eg; everything they need to make a wind chime. Choose locally made or eco friendly toys. Make the party decorations part of the take home favor.

* Use paper or tissue decorations, homemade and recycled decorations. Make reusable fabric bunting. Make a ‘party box’ to store your decorations in and reuse them for future parties.

* Save the paper trail by sending invitations online. (This is a hard one for me as I’m a bit old fashioned with invitations. I love to make and post them. I’m always nosying at party invites on people’s fridges.)

Sustainable kids birthday parties…  this is something I will be keeping in mind when planning future parties… for the good of our grandchildren’s parties!

Thank you to my gorgeous friend Janet for sharing the photos from her ‘beautiful boy Ben’s birthday bash’ and not a plastic plate in sight. xg