top ten tuesday

gibson's birthday marks the beginning of kids birthdays in our family.  after his is done this thursday, we have 2 pretty much back to back 3 weeks later...emma and ty's birthdays are 2 days apart.

much like christmas time, birthday celebrations can end up a little over board  and wasteful (gift overload, wasteful wrapping paper, over-spending, etc.).  although we think birthday's are important and should be celebrated (need i remind you fo aaron's birthday week?), the focus should be on celebrating (celebrate: to observe a day or commemorate an event with ceremonies or festivities) the event not the gift-receiving.  especially with our kids, we like to keep birthday parties simple so that more emphasis is placed on the celebration aspect of the birthday (i.e. games, songs, etc.). and when things get too complicated you end up being stressed out anyway.  not worth it.

after all that, this week's top ten are just some birthday party ideas we've used (or hope to use) that can help minimize waste and over-spending, less stuff-centric (ha, is that even a word??), and more environmentally friendly.

top ten simple and green children's birthday party ideas:

1. theme. 
[i don't think this is as important for little ones as it is for older kids, but when you have a theme it helps centralize all your party decor and activities.  this will also keep you from over-spending/over-buying on stuff that you may not need for the party.  one year, we had a spy/detective birthday party theme for tyler and the kids came dressed up in their homemade spies/detectives costumes.  we didn't need to plan a whole lot because the big neigborhood scavenger hunt took up most of the time.  i really loved that birthday party.]

2. have kids make their own food.
[this is a great way combine a party activity with snack time if you are serving food at your party.  as long as you keep it simple it will surely be a success.  we had indvidual sized pizza dough (aaron made and prepped the dough beforehand) for kids to top for ty's 6th birthday party and it was a hit.]

3. request guests bring a donation instead of a gift.
[this is an excellent way to minimize the gift-overload, the sea of wrapping paper factor, and provide a learning opportunity for your kids.  this is something we are doing for gibson's 1 year birthday (what does a 1 year old really need anyway? not a whole lot.).  in lieu of gifts, we are requesting donations for the city mission's hope tote.  i hope that this is something we can continue to do with the rest of our kids.]

4. up-cycle items for party decor.
[we don't normally do a whole lot of party decor for our kids' birthdays.  i'm not sure why...maybe it's because the kids don't really care much about that.  but...if you like to spruce up the home/party location a bit why not use items around the house?  we are going to make a simple happy birthday sign for gibson's birthday bbq using old rolling stones magazines.  i'm looking forward to trying this out.]

5. simple, functional party favors.
[melt some old crayons into molds and give them away as favors.  or make a big batch of homemade play dough to hand out as the guests leave.  or we had a friend who gave out simple, homemade shakers as favors, which i thought was quite impressive.  party favors don't have to require large amounts of stuff.  because children (especially if you teach them at an early age) don't really need large amounts of stuff.  when you keep it simple and personal, it will be more meaningful and more appreciated.]

6. e-vites.
[i like them.  i use them for almost every event we have (our wedding was the only exception...though we had considered it.).  if you are more technologically inclined than i am, you can probably design your own and send them out via e-mail.  electronic invitations not only save you some money, but it minimizes waste.]

7. games that require minimal supplies.
[musical chairs brings back some memories for me.  we have done freeze dance for one of tyler's birthday parties before...not only do you get to see some interesting moves but the kids burn off some energy in the process.  or get creative and think make up your own games.  a friend of ours just had a 5th birthday party for her daughter and used the kids' outdoor play equipment as part of an obstacle course type game.]

8. outdoor/natural location.
[you don't need a whole lot of complicated activities planned when you have an outdoor party.  last year, we had emma's birthday at a playground.  after playing, climbing, running, swinging, cupcakes and drinks the party was done.  easy.  now, i will say that having an outdoor party is more challenging if your child's birthday is in the middle of winter...]

9. re-usable plates, utensils and cups.
[we don't do this.  i'd like to, but the only re-usable plates we have are all breakable and there isn't usually enough to provide for everyone.  one of these days, i would like to invest on enough plates, utensils and cups to be used for the kids' birthdays...ones that are durable and resilient if it accidentally gets dropped on the floor.]

10. bulk bevereages.
[individual drinks/juice boxes are convenient, but they do create a lot of waste.  i admit that when we had emma's birthday party last year at the playground, we opted to do the individual juice boxes for convenience sake.  but...it is a lot more cost-effective and sustainable if you serve drinks that can be served in pitchers or jugs (water, milk, lemonade...and if you like serving juice buy the concentrate kind, stick it in a pitcher and add water).]


Melissa said...

Great list. We are definitely fans of the simple outdoor party here. We are still playing with the leftover shakers from Layla's last party.

party favors said...

Where is the baby? She looks as thinking something

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