Go Green! Recycle Party
How to throw an eco-friendly party for kids
She's a cheerleader for the environment, and wants to helps save the world with her
birthday, so "Go Green" and throw her a Recycle Theme Party! Sure, it's an
unconventional party theme, but don't toss the idea in the recycling bin just yet,
because you can have an eco-friendly and fun party for kids with a few simple ideas.
It's a party they won't soon forget.
Having an Earth Day birthday with a recycle theme is especially apropos if the
birthday is on Earth Day. But even if your party isn't in April or the theme isn't about
recycling, you can get down to earth and incorporate these kid-friendly and earth
friendly ideas into any party theme:
- Think burlap. Hessian cloth, also known as burlap, has an earthy feel and makes
an interesting natural fabric tablecloth. Burlap is a natural choice for wrapping
gifts or favor bags, and looks festive with hemp string or jute. And while you're
at it, be sure to have burlap sack races!
- Serve eco-friendly drinks:
- Add a vintage charm to party drinks with biodegradable paper straws!
- Have fun with licorice straws: Skip the plastic straws and help save the
environment by sipping drinks from licorice straws. Just cut the ends of a red or
black licorice twist and enjoy! Skip paper napkins and use bandannas, which
can double as a favor. Save the need of plastic forks by serving bite sized food
and cupcakes instead of cake and a full lunch. And finally, be sure to mark
drinks of guests (masking tape works just fine, so that there's no waste).
- Skip the plastic bottle drinks. Serve home made lemonade made with filtered
water. Even easier, Kids love soda and here are two great options:
- Go "au natural" with Hansen's Natural sodas. Hansen's come in aluminum,
which is an easily recyclable material, and Hansen's drinks have no
caffeine, no preservatives, and no artificial flavors or colors.
- Send a message. Jones Green Apple Soda, comes in a glass (another
recyclable option) and you can design your own Jones Soda label with
your recycling message and pictures of the birthday kid. A custom Jones
Soda bottle makes a wonderful favor.
- Choose bamboo party wares. Sturdier, prettier and more ecologically responsible
than plastic, you'll make a statement when you choose bamboo plates and
utensils. Most bamboo products are intended for single use only, but will bio-
degrade in 180 days of composting. Below you'll find bamboo products that are
made from 100% organically grown bamboo.
Invitations and thank you card
The most eco-friendly invitation is the one sent by e-mail; however, a problem arises if
your friends and family decide to print the invitation on their computer. If this
happens, then you haven't accomplished your environmental mission, have you? Here
are some eco-friendly invitation ideas for a "Go Green!" recycle party:
- Mail a postcard. It will save an envelope, and you'll save on postage too.
- Tuck your invitation with a packet of seeds to plant.
- Craft your own invitations from recycled paper processed without chlorine, or
look for invitations printed with vegetable inks, such as soy based inks. For
bar/bah mitzvah's or large parties, visit Earth Friendly Invitations as they are
"contributing to a better earth, one invitation at a time."
- Invitation wording ideas:
- It's Amanda's Birthday and we're "Going Green!"
- Reserve the date* and be seen!
- You'll learn a thing 'bout conservation,
- So bike, walk or share transportation,
- To 123 Main Street you will go.
- We promise it will be quite a show!
- R.S.V.P. Mother Earth at 867-5309 to join us
- *Saturday, April 19 at noon
- There's one more secret thing to tell,
- We've got a birthday pup to wish her well,
- And so in lieu of ribbons, wrap and birthday wishes,
- Perhaps you'll bring chews, collars and doggie dishes!
"Go Green!" Cake Theme ideas
A recipe for success on a "Go Green" party is to avoid hydrogenated oils found at
most commercial bakeries. Instead, head to Whole Foods bakery for delicious cakes
made from real ingredients, or ask your local bakery to rule out use of hydrogenated
oils. You might also bake your own earth friendly cake from a box, as with Dr. Oetker
Organics (no hydrogenated oils here). Another good option is Naturally Nora A Lot of
Dots cake mix, upper right, which is the only all-natural confetti cake with no artificial
ingredients and no hydrogenated oils, plus it's Kosher. Or, you might have the kids
make their own "compost" cake using your favorite dirt cake recipe using the healthier
version of chocolate sandwich cookies and real whipped cream and pudding.
- Skip the plastic cupcake picks. Look to ETSY for all things handmade, including
affordable and festive Twirly Whirlies (mini paper pinwheels cupcake toppers
made with festive papers). Or make your own toothpick flags loaded with
earthy friendly green messages (as found on Flickr), such as "Put your
computer on 'sleep' mode and not screensaver mode."
- Go with flower power lollipop cupcakes. Cut six petals of crepe paper and glue
them around a wrapped sucker to make a flower. Re-use the plastic
containers to store small toys or store cereal or pastas. The simple lollipop
cupcakes, by Martha Stewart, is another simple and happy option. Use these
organic suckers also for name cards. The Yummy Earth Organic pops available
on Amazon, right, fit your theme nicely. You'll get five packs of 30 (or 150
suckers). Just insert the sucker into a spice drop candy and secure a long paper
flag to display the child's name.
Eco-Friendly Food and Food Serving Ideas
If you're reading this, then you're probably new to the environmental movement. If
you're a veteran, however, remember that not everyone is ready for vegan organic
foods in the raw, so don't push your lifestyle on unsuspecting party goers. You can
strike a balance between illustrating a point and ensuring guests don't go home
hungry or disappointed. Here's how to serve up an environmentally responsible meal
that's sure to please them all:
- For starters, think about how you'll serve the food. Our favorite option is
Bamboo, as it's a natural choice, and here are more ideas to have you thinking
- Go green with eco-friendly Rosseto and their Liteware collection of
recyclable, reusable and disposable mini dishes. The Rosetto party
dishes, left, will help you serve portion controlled bites in a fun and
- Preserve. Choose recycled plastic plates by Preserve. They are made of
100% recycled plastic, they are reusable (dishwasher safe on low-heat
cycles), and they are recyclable (#5 plastic).
- Know your spuds. Spudware cutlery, which is made from 80% potato
starch and 20% soy oil. Best of all, Spudware biodegrades in just 180
days. Spudware comes with a Certification of Compostability from the
American Society of Testing and Materials. Even the packaging is a
sustainable foodserve packaging (an alternative to fossil based
- Jazz up the neutral tone of recycled utensils and plates by decorating
them with bits of colorful construction paper. Add an ornate touch to
utensils with small flowers or suns, and turn plates into matching larger
- Bake with natural food coloring. Bring natural color to your baked goods with
India Tree Natural Food coloring, right. These liquid decorating colors are made
from vegetable colourants and contain no synthetic dye. Use them to make
your own natural lollipops, Martha Stewart style. Sprinkle cookies and cakes
with all natural sprinkles and nonpareils, too, such as the Lavender nonpareils,
left also from India Tree. They're made without artificial dyes and have no trans
- Go organic! Ensure the veggies and fruits you serve at the party are organic,
and everyone will expect a few green varieties. Kid friendly green foods might
- celery sticks with peanut butter (check allergies)
- cucumber slices with ranch dressing
- apple slices with cream cheese topped with natural sprinkles
- Honey dew melons, kiwis, even lime wedges (arrange fruits slices into an
appealing rainbow ending with the green ones).
- Try organic cotton candy, left.
Activities and Games for a "Go Green!" Recycle Party
Use games and activities to help illustrate with kids the four Rs of "going green"
(Recycle, Reduce, Recover and Reuse).
- Get boxed in! Younger kids love creating box hideaways, so gather up the boxes
from appliance and furniture stores. Help them by cutting off ends to create
tunnels and helping their vision take shape with tape or staples. Older kids will
have fun making their own bean bag toss game recycling boxes as well, or
creating board games with small odds and ends, and you can provide buttons,
dice, and bottle caps.
- Strike up the fun. Gather up ten empty plastic bottles from neighbors and re-use
them for a game that just might be up your alley. Align the bottles like bowling
pins and use a rubber ball to knock them down.
- Have a "can do" attitude with stilts you make yourself! Younger kids will
appreciate turning two large can of stewed tomatoes into silly stomping stilts
with a bit of string. You might also try to make a "telephone" with two cans and
- Make something to "Dye" for! Kids can get groovy and recycle an old white T-
shirt and give it new life with a tie dye activity. See our hippy party. There are
also natural organic tie dye options as with Sunburst tie dye kits (their dyes are
Recycled and Eco-Friendly Favors
- Favors that are sew natural! Sew your own favor bags. Skip the plastic bags and
head to the fabric store instead! Here are some fun ideas for stuffing your
handmade cloth favor bags:
- Make carton wallets. Start saving all your milk or juice cartons, then head
to Family Fun to craft the carton wallet, pictured left.
- Fashion Snack Bag Chain Bangles. Who knew recycling could be so literally
fashionable? Start save chip bags to create the snack bag chain bracelet,
pictured left. Or turn this favor idea into an activity. Also from Family Fun,
try the magazine bead bracelet craft.
- Color their world with something recycled. Here's how to recycle old
crayons and melt them into new fun shapes.
- Get twiggy with it! Order natural Twig pencils available online.
- Plant a seed of change. You can recycle paper into a garden compost as
you share the beauty of a flower or vegetable garden. Here's how to
make your own plantable seed cards with pretty plantable papers
packed with seeds. You might also use this idea for the invitations and
have guests return the card to plant a living garden in honor of the
birthday boy or girl.
- Recycle party favors. Gather up the tiny treasures you've collected from other
parties or leftovers from your own. A pinata is the perfect place to stuff them!
Kids won't mind a bit that the favors are gently used, and your kids may
rediscover an old favorite. Otherwise, be sure to fill the pinata with useful,
quality items, such as hair clips, pencils, and erasers. And instead of providing
plastic bags, decorate recycled containers, such as soup cans, or provide cloth
Decoration ideas for a recycled party
- String festive paper lantern globes instead of balloons. Skip the inflatable globes
as well, because using them sends the wrong message for the theme. Better
yet, forget the paper altogether and sew a reusable birthday banner with
triangular fabric pieces to a cord. You'll also find a nice selection of banners on
- Uncork the magic of recycling! Go ahead and recycle corks from wine bottles to
create place-cards for your seating arrangements. Your guests will appreciate
your clever attention to detail (even if they are too young to drink wine).
Stabilize wobbly corks by leveling them with a knife.
- Decorate with things found in nature. Gather up some twigs and give your party
a woodland fairy sub-theme by crafting fairy houses (an idea from Family Fun).
Add a few tiny trinkets and doll house treasures to give wind to pixie pleasures.
- Dish out the fun! Make your colorful candy bowls from newspapers and
construction paper and learn about paper making methods. The idea for the
bowls, pictured right, comes from Family Fun.
- Get back to nature. Use potted plants instead of cut flowers to decorate the
- Set up easy recycling. Have your child mark the recycle bins. Make it easy for kids
- That's a wrap! Be sure to use aluminum foil instead of cling wrap to, and recycle
the foil in a clump in your recycling bin only if there is no food stuck to the foil,
which would contaminate your other recycling.
- Clean green! When the party is over, have the kids help with the clean up and
educate children and adults alike about the importance of recycling and using
- Recycle birthday presents? Yes! KidsAreHeroes.com suggests kids "become a
hero with a one time event of donating birthday presents to a favorite charity."
This brings a whole new meaning to the idea of re-gifting. In a reality check this
may be too unconventional for most kids, and you may not want to deny this
simple pleasure, so in lieu of forgoing gifts here are some "green" ideas:
- Make it a pet project. Inform party goers that you'll be surprising the
birthday child with a puppy and that in lieu of gifts they might make a
donation to the SPCA. Appreciated gifts might also include a leash,
ecologically minded chew toys, a steel food dish, natural doggie treats or
a sleeping pad (and tell them that no gift wrapping is required). The
group effort will in itself be a memory.
- Trade a party for money. Offer your child the option of skipping the fanfare
altogether in favor of a cash value equivalent of the party budget. Your
child might then instead prefer a spending spree instead of the party.
- It's ecological to make a choice. Consider shopping online with Ecotown
toys. There, you'll find eco-friendly finger paints, crafts
- Recycle the wrapping paper: Open gifts at the beginning of the party and
turn the scrap wrapping paper into an activity. You can make a bracelet
or as an activity show kids how to make paper from recycled paper. (See
our recycled party activities below.)
- Encourage eco gift wrapping. When guests RSVP, tell them politely if they
inquire, that there's "no gift wrapping required." Suggest they tie a
ribbon with a handmade card. As guests arrive you can collect presents
into a burlap sack unveil one-by-one at gift time. Other earth friendly
ideas to suggest include wrapping in brown paper grocery bags or
newspaper (recycled comic pages, for example), wrapping in cloth, or
decorating oatmeal or cereal boxes.
- Serve filtered water. Consider installing a reverse osmosis water filtration
system. The Watts WP5-50 Premier Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment System,
right, is the most popular system available on Amazon. Think of all the bottles
of water you'll save from the landfills. Send the kids to home with Klean
Kanteen, left, as a party favor to help illustrate your personal ban on plastic
- Buy "green" gifts. Looking for ecologically minded gifts for kids? No gifts at all
would appease ecological purists, but that's no fun! You can find gifts that
educate and entertain yet strike a balance with our environment. Here are
- Cotton stuffed dolls and animals
- Quality hardcover books are also an appreciated gift as they can extend
generations as an heirloom (though, again purists might suggest buying
gently used books).
Resources for a "Go Green" Party
- Try ideas from Echoage - the power of pooling resources to get one memorable
gift for a cause.
- Remind everyone that paper napkins grow on trees. Use a cloth napkin and
recreate this tree napkin ring idea from Martha Stewart, but cut your tree from
felt instead of paper.
Have more ideas on a "Go Green!" Recycle party? Send us an e-mail. And now
that you've read this, why not give a second life to birthday cards and invitations
you've received? Cut them out and re-paste them into home made cards. Make a
postcard from them. Glue your favorite recipes to the cards. Ideas are endless.
All about a recycle theme party...
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