Okay so have you ever been in a situation where you’re planning to organize a birthday party for your kid and you start feeling a bit stressed out about what to do? You want to create a fun and memorable event, but you’re also low on time .
Preparing the cake and invitations are a no-brainer, but what about all the supplies, games and stuff you need to purchase and organize to make sure your child and their friends have fun.
Also, what about thinking about what to buy and put in the take home goodie bags? Also, do you hire a magician, plan to organize musical chairs and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and purchase a big piñata? All the moving pieces and things to do can pile up…and not to mention they can create a lot of waste.
But what if you didn’t have to do all that? What if you could organize a low waste and low stress birthday party that was fun for your child and easy on you? Well you can, but it takes a little bit of planning ahead.
Low waste, low stress and lots of fun
Here are some ways you can plan a great birthday party that’s low waste and low stress:
- Book a venue ahead of time (at least a month in advance as popular venues fill up fast) – Instead of having it at home, consider a local venue that organizes birthday parties and has fun activities for kids. You can put the costs that would have gone towards purchasing games and supplies, towards the venue.
- Give a small gift instead of goodie bags filled with plastic toys. – Instead of stressing about what to get and include in a goodie bag, purchase a small gift or edible that your child’s friends can take home. For example I ordered cookies with beautiful designs from one of my daughter’s favourite books, that were boxed with a ribbon and the kids thought they were the coolest things.
- Ditch plastic cups, plates and utensils and opt for reusable. Okay so bringing glass or ceramic dinnerware, is not a good option for a kids party, especially at an offsite venue. But there are several other options. I couldn’t find biodegradable paper cups at the store I went to (most were plastic or lined with wax) and so I thought I’d get reusable cups and utensils for every attendee that they could take home with them. For reusable sporks, you could go to a local outdoor store or purchase them online. For plates, while there are fancy colourful, plastic-lined or styrofoam ones, opt for those that are biodegradable instead. They are super affordable too.
- Use table cloths you have instead of buying single use plastic ones. If you have colourful table cloths at home, especially ones that can be thrown in the laundry after, it makes things super simple. If you don’t, you can purchase a couple that you can reuse each year. The single use plastic table cloths, while they can be crumpled up and thrown in the trash, create a lot of waste that goes to the landfill. I was able to use a large table cloth I had, including a reusable one I’ve used each Halloween. The designs were different, but the kids didn’t care. They were having fun and everyone enjoyed the snacks and cake too.
- Forget about using balloons – Balloons are pretty popular for birthday parties, but they create unnecessary waste and negatively impact wildlife. Plus, you don’t need them for fun or for decorating….there are plenty of ways to decorate or plan a birthday party without them. Marine life can often mistake them for jellyfish and sea turtles often die from eating them.
- Avoid bottled water and small juice packages with straws – bring large juice bottles from the store and a water pitcher you can fill up at the location where you’re having the party
Throwing a low waste, low stress birthday party is pretty easy. It takes a bit of planning ahead, but is worth it. For my daughter’s birthday this year we held it at a local venue and the staff members helped us with the whole thing, plus there was one person who was designated to organize all the fun activities and games for the kids. It was pretty great, because we’d arrived only five minutes before the guests (I highly suggest getting there at least 30 minutes earlier), so I was able to focus on getting the table, snacks and cake ready. My daughter and her friends had a blast and I didn’t have to stress out as much as I would have, had I had to organize all the games and activities too.
There are a few things I would do differently next time: On the invite I would request that should they like to bring a gift, they are welcome to but that the preference is that they be low waste items (books, educational gifts, etc.). There are plenty of gifts that come in tons of excess packaging and plastic wrap and there are those that don’t or have very little packaging. There’s nothing wrong with making a suggestion or request as plenty of times, parents will call and ask what sort of gift they should bring. Overall, the point is for everyone to have fun and for you to not have to stress out. 🙂
What are some ways you’ve reduced the amount of stress or waste at your child’s birthday party? We’d love to hear about them, so feel free to share in the comments below.
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