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How to Throw an Eco-Friendly Birthday Party

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Party planner Lucy Riles shows moms how to throw a birthday party that's good for the environment ... and good for your pocketbook!

Childrens party

Lucy Riles: What young child doesn't love the outdoors and getting a little dirty? Here's one way to throw your child's next birthday party AND help planet Earth!

Here's what you do:

Contact your local State Park: Tell them you are throwing an eco-friendly birthday party for your child and would like to come down and plant trees. Make sure to contact the State Park 4-5 weeks prior to the party.

Eco-Friendly Invitations: Make your invitations from old newspaper, maybe from the comics section. In marker, write out the details to the party. Send the invites with your daughter or son to school to hand-deliver. If you want something sturdier, you could also cut up cardboard from your last case of pop (yes, pop! I'm from the Midwest) and write the invites on that -- tree-shaped cards would be appropriate. And if the kids are older and have e-mail addresses, you can always send an Evite. Make sure the invitation specifies what you will be doing so they can dress accordingly.

Eco-Friendly Favors: Each child receives a tree to plant in the park. As a take-home party favor, you can give each child an eco-friendly canteen and a set of gardening tools, which they will use to plant their tree. Also, send the kids home with some flower seeds to plant in their backyard.

At the Park: First, check with the park ranger to find out what area is best to plant your trees. After the tree is planted, use the water from a nearby river or lake. If there's no body of water, you can bring your own water, but only in a container ... no water bottles allowed! Once you are finished, go for a hike around the park, pointing out different types of trees, how old they might be, and maybe even leave some time for climbing a tree. If this is a larger group, be sure there are enough adult supervisors for the hike. After the hike, settle down in a grassy area for a picnic where you can sing "Happy Birthday" and eat some cupcakes. No cake for this eco-friendly party ... paper plates and plastic spoons are not allowed!

Do you have any tips for throwing an eco-friendly birthday party? Connect with Lucy in the momlogic community!

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30 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kathryn April 29, 2009, 12:40 PM

What a wonderful idea! I’m looking forward to trying this one day.

jill April 29, 2009, 12:45 PM

Love the idea…Thanks so much.

Delilah April 29, 2009, 1:05 PM

I love your idea to make tree shaped invites from old cardboard cases. “pop” cases would be good but you could also use old cereal boxes and items like that.

Susie April 29, 2009, 1:15 PM

Great Idea! Love it!

Geri April 29, 2009, 1:18 PM

That sounds like an absolutely wonderful party. What great ideas I can’t wait to use some of them or even all. Thank you for sharing and good luck.

Lucy April 29, 2009, 1:22 PM

Hi Delilah,
Yes, you can absolutely use old cereal boxes…Great Idea! Thanks so much for your input.

barbara April 29, 2009, 2:33 PM

I have 4 kids, 9, 7, 5 & almost 3. I am going to use this idea for my little guys 3rd birthday this June. This is great for all ages.
Just the other day my fellow Mom friends and I were discussing ways to entertain our kids in ways that don’t cost anything, include excerise and more out doors. We all ended up at the good-old park for 3 hours!
Going to share your article with the Moms! They will
all love your ideas!

Anne April 29, 2009, 3:08 PM

So glad to hear that people are encouraging kids to take an active part in going green. Your idea got my mind going on different ways to use your ideas. Love the cup cakes!

A green friendly site worth taking a look at is “green is the new pink”

Andrew  April 29, 2009, 4:02 PM

Wow, this is a great idea. Fun for the kids and guilt-free for the parents! I will eagerly await your next post Lucy!

Abby April 29, 2009, 4:03 PM

HI Lucy,
Great ideas!! What a wonderful way to encourage children to GO GREEN!

Dreama Lee April 29, 2009, 4:19 PM

For thank you notes recycle your child’s artwork and create thank you notes that your child can hand deliver at school.

Lucy April 29, 2009, 4:21 PM

Hi Anne,
Actually my cousin, Lydia Ellison is one of the founders of “Green is the New Pink”. Another excellent site for eco-friendly tips. Thanks!

Lucy April 29, 2009, 4:22 PM

Another great idea Dreama! Thanks

Char April 29, 2009, 5:19 PM

Comic book invitations! Genius.

Mary  April 29, 2009, 9:13 PM

Lucy love the ideas. Any suggestions on a family graduation party for an eigth grader.

Ann April 29, 2009, 10:33 PM

That is a great idea! Love it!!

Colleen April 29, 2009, 11:54 PM

I love the ideas and especially love seeing great ideas without having to spend a fortune! Thanks for sharing

Debbie Zinman April 30, 2009, 8:32 AM

We built for moms who want convenience and meaning at their birthday parties. Children learn to care for the planet and give to a charity while getting ONE big gift that they choose instead of many small ones. And the whole process is an easy tool for mom to collect RSVPs and birthday wishes. Tell us what you think…

Lucy April 30, 2009, 1:20 PM

Hi Mary,
My best advice…Graduations are all about the Graduate! So before you plan anything, be sure to ask he or she what kind of party they want. This way, you start off the party planning process as a team, instead of opposing teams. Find out what kind of music he wants played (better yet, have him compile the playlist), what type of food he wants served, what activties he’d like played. It’s much easier once you have an idea of his interests. Say he likes country music, hamburgers, and being outdoors. Classic BBQ style, pick up table clothes, plates, cups and ribbon in his school colors. Have each table’s center piece be a framed school photo of the past 8 years! Hang up lights or tiki torches in the backyard. Put the stereo speakers in the windows pointing out, playing his favorite music. Set up a horse shoe or bean bag tournament which will get all the guests involved. Hope this helps, enjoy your party!

Lucy April 30, 2009, 6:34 PM

Hi Debbie,
I just checked out your site,…very cool! thanks for the tip!

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