Give Your Little Grasshopper a Green Birthday

Give Your Little Grasshopper a Green Birthday

Recently, a reader asked me about having a eco-friendly birthday party for her one year old. In my home, birthdays are very special and I suppose it is like this for most moms and families. Whatever type of party you have you want to make sure that the child is not lost in the idea or concept you, as a parent, are trying to embrace. This does not mean that we need to cut down half of the Amazon rainforest to celebrate our child’s birth or help burn more fossil fuels to make the plastic party favors. We can still have a birthday bash and not forget who the birthday is all about!

For a one year old who most likely doesn’t need any more toys and who probably has no idea what this birthday hoopla is all about, having an Echoage party is perfect! Echoage sends out evites that you choose, to all of your guests inviting them to your sweet peas party. Each guest is asked to donate to the Echoage website with a specific link for your party. The money is then divided three ways, 15% going to Echoage for administrative costs, 42.5% of the money going toward one gift from all of the party guests and the remainder 42.5% goes towards a charity that you select. The wonderful thing is, your birthday cutie still gets one special gift, a party and a charity in their honor, has been helped. No trees are cut down for the invitations or stamps and there isn’t wasted wrapping paper on unneeded gifts. This can work for any age and all ages can become involved in choosing a charity.

If you decided to do an Echoage party, there would still be plates, napkins, cups and decorations. Maybe you would want party favors for the other children? Oh, and let’s not forget about cake and ice cream!

The needed utensils: Try using what you have or borrowing plates, silverware and cups from friends and family. Fill the dishwasher to save water and energy and use a biodegradable earth friendly soap. If you have to use throw always then try to find biodegradable dinnerware. It will not be cheap but it’s a better option. I’ve reviewed VerTerra and found them very user friendly but more expensive.

Party Favors: Ditch the plastic toys, stickers and stuff that children just lose. It ends up in the trash and most of it is not biodegradable! Try Progressive Kids, they have party boxes that are recyclable and teach an environmental lesson. If your party has a wilderness theme, takes place at a park, pond, camp ground, beach or even a pool…the party boxes are sure to be a perfect fit. Another idea would be party bags from a company that promotes fair trade, Ethical Party Bags. If children are older you could wrap organic candy in newspaper or give each child a pack of seeds to plant.

Cake and Ice Cream: If going traditional is your thing then there are tons of great healthy recipes out there for making a yummy birthday cake. If you don’t bake, check your local bakeries for organic or natural options. Maybe go the untraditional route with a all natural brownie treat from, Fairy Tale Brownies. The grocery stores have lots of natural and organic ice cream options but there’s always the homemade choice! Kids have tons of fun making the ice cream and this is a wonderful party activity!

Invitations: If an evite isn’t for you, try having your child design and make their own. Reuse things in your home like buttons, ribbons, old postcards, stamps and cards. That will add a personal touch to the invitation. There is, however, a great company that makes earth friendly, handmade invitations, and if your budget calls for it, you might go that route.

Having a birthday party is always fun and if you can do it while making sure the child is enjoying themselves, learning a lesson, and helping the planet, then you really are a “green” mom! The ideas are endless once you start to brainstorm and do some research. Add a theme or a cause and there are even more ideas. If your child has a passion try to let that guide you in the party planning and involve them, it makes it more meaningful. A great resource I invite you to check out for all green parenting topics, besides this one, would be Kiwi Magazine. Happy low impact party planning!

What ideas do you have? Have you read 7 tips for a low impact birthday party?

Hi, I’m Sommer (@greenmom) and I’ve been calling this my blogging home for 9 years. I’m a juggler of life, a protective mama bear and I enjoy travel, wine, sunshine and good books. I’m passionate about inspiring others to live a little healthier and greener each day. I’m many things but above all I’m a believer in karma and the good in people. I’m a children’s book author, public speaker and consultant. My full-time gig is working as a Marketing Manager for Freshbaby.com and helping to encourage everyone to eat healthier. Check out my about me page for more details.
  • Maxine

    Thanks so much for your mention of KIWI…looks like we are both the same shade of “green”. I love the party ideas. My daughter turns 10 at the end of March. Her party is out at a fun center, but she’s donating her gifts to a children’s hospital in our area. So, that makes us both feel good. Thanks again and I’m happy to have found your blog!
    –Maxine Wolf, CEO & Publisher, KIWI magazine

  • Rebecca

    Although I like the idea of contributing to a charity instead of getting traditional gifts for the child, I wonder if many guests would resent it. What do you think? For my daughter’s second birthday, I send out invitations with a funny little note about how she was shunning material possessions and wanted only “peace, love, and brunch with her friends” as a present. Most people complied with her wishes. I’m not sure what I’ll do when she’s older and knows what’s going on!

    Thanks for your blog. We just compiled a list of “Best Green Baby Blogs” over on http://greenbabyguide.com, and you are on it!

  • Shade of Green

    Rebecca,
    Thanks for posting me on your site. I think that people have to get used to birthdays that are going to be non-traditional. There are so many of out there thinking differently and trying to make a difference that it will become more accepted. Just like it wasn’t cool to be green 50 years ago, times change!

    I think when your daughter gets older and you involve her in choosing a charity or a cause to support she will enjoy it. She can still get gifts, she just might not get as many or choose to donate some of them?

  • Lorissa J. Longfellow

    Great information. Thanks for this article. A friend from mom’s club recently went overboard (in my opinion) with her son’s 3rd birthday with large goodies bags for kids and parents, lots of decorations, and prizes. Everyone was talking about how wonderful it was, but I feel like an outcast because I kept thinking about all the waste.
    Your suggestions are wonderful because it is the best of both worlds.
    My daughter turns three this year and I think that the Echoage party would be great for the relatives who live far away, but still like to send something for her birthday. As far as a party this year we were just going to have a tea party with her best friend.

  • Children’s parties are a great way to spread the word about green living by example! I think parents feel pressure to have ‘everything everybody else has’ when it comes to their children’s parties, which means a lot of unnecessary and polluting things. But it is amazing how many people will welcome an eco-freindly party style, if someone in their group of friends leads the way. If we all did this, it would add up to making a difference.

    Electric Cars Gals last blog post..The Price of Oil

  • Thank you so much for this post. I am in love with Echoage-what a great find!! At my son's 8th birthday he we ditched the goodie bags and gave each party goer a gold dollar and a letter that my son had written letting everyone know that he chose to make a donation to a fund for Haiti. I think it is harder as the kids get older-they love to get presents…..and the more the better. Maybe if we all pave the way it will be more accepted among kids and adults.

  • What a fun idea. I would love to give this party idea a try. Great article.

  • Hi,

    This is very good green birthday for us…

    thanks for sharing information of green birthday..