By Melissa Kane, eco-warrior mum
KIDS’ birthday parties are so much fun but they can be hard work too if you’re hosting them at home. As a mother of two boys, aged 7 and nearly 9, I am always conflicted about how to throw an “epic” (my eldest’s favourite word) party while maintaining my green ethos.
I avoid filling party bags with five-minute plastic toys; they break in five minutes only to spend 1000 years in landfill.
Was five minutes of fun really worth it, not to mention the five minutes of accompanying tears?
Instead I buy Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars or Lego people for party bags and prizes.
They last longer than five minutes; we’ve had some of ours for more than five years. Brightly coloured stationery, craft items and hair accessories are good options to fill girls’ party bags.
If you’re crafty, Pinterest has a plethora of ideas for you to create. Wouldn’t it be lovely to introduce our children to the beauty of a handmade item that can be cherished?
Buying birthday gifts is another opportunity to think outside the box. I try to choose something that will give kids an opportunity to play creatively.
A girlfriend raved when her son received a voucher and bought a packet of coloured Blu-Tack and some rods. I often buy books as gifts but there are good options on toy shelves too, just consider the lifespan of the gift and choose something sturdy enough that can be donated when it is no longer appealing to the recipient.
For the child who has everything, I go with consumables such as cinema tickets or iTunes or vouchers. As consumers our most powerful weapon is our wallets, so stand up and be heard!
Reusing wrapping paper is a long-forgotten but lovely idea; the temptation for kids to rip open the wrapping is too much fun to quash. I just put the ripped paper in the recycle bin. Present bags have taken over and are great, given their reusability.
Party venues allow you to exercise your “green conscience”. I prefer outdoor venues, weather-permitting, such as parks, pools or in the backyard.
I love getting the kids outside for a game of tag or stuck in the mud; giving the gift of your time will light up their little faces. At home you have the advantage of a dishwasher to clean up too! As a working mother though I understand the appeal of booking a venue that does the most of work for you and gives you a better opportunity to chat with the other parents.
I hope you enjoy your next kids’ party. This weekend we have a birthday party in our household.
We are heading to our local park for a water fight; I hope it will be “epic”!