How to throw a zero waste kid's party.
Updated: May 11
I don’t want to jinx things but can we tentatively talk about the comeback of children parties? The sun has started to put in an appearance & Boris is holding a press conference tonight, with rumours on the street that hugging is coming back! So fingers & toes are tightly crossed that parties can get the go ahead this summer!
The number one aim of a party centres around FUN, making sure that everyone has lots of it, and that there’s plenty of happy memories made in the process. But the modern day children’s party often qualifies as one of the most wasteful times of the year. Busy parents planning a party are mostly presented with various options of single use plastic. But with a few simple tweaks we can really throw an awesome eco-friendly party, without breaking the bank or the planet! Check out some of these ideas below.
So we’ve got to tell our guests when & where, but do we need a bit of paper to do this? Check out some alternatives below:
If you know your way around a computer or phone you could design your own digital party invite. There’s lots of places you can do this like Canva and many different apps. If you need some help you can find templates online or even get a customisable invite on Etsy. Once you’ve created your masterpiece it’s just a few clicks to share on your parent’s WhatsApp groups or on social media. If you’re anything like me, having a digital copy is so much easier and saves a lot of mishaps of running the book bag gauntlet and the paper invite getting lost.
Social media event
Create an event on Facebook and digitally invite your guests. It’s also much easier to keep track of who is coming this way! Just make sure that you have your privacy settings set up.
If you really want to send a physical invite, how about an invite that has seeds embedded in the paper! These can be planted in the garden later to attract bees, insects and wildlife.
In these strange times then the best venue is probably going to be outside! If things go well
then we can only hope that indoor parties can come back again in all of their glory!
You really can throw a great party in your back garden. Simple garden parties really are the best. Add a canopy, tepee, or bell tent in case of rain and you’re in business!
Parks and woodlands
A simple picnic in the local park or a den-building extravaganza in the woods could make a great party. Check out your local arboretum, forest school, or local woodland for ideas. Some do children’s party packages so you can leave the organising to them, bonus!
If you create homemade decorations then these can be packed away and come out each year in the same way that the Christmas decs do! Use flowers from your garden or hang fairy lights to create a lovely boho party vibe.
Crockery and utensils
There are some great alternatives to plastic and paper when it comes to plates, cups, and cutlery.
Use what you have or borrow
Firstly, you could simply use what you have and then beg and borrow the rest from friends. Or for the brave you could use your own tableware and hope that it doesn’t turn into an impromptu ‘greek’ style party! Instead of disposal plastic tablecloths it could be a good idea to invest in a cloth tablecloth that comes out each year. If you go for a neutral colour then this can easily be jazzed up with table decorations or colourful crockery. An eclectic mish-mash of crockery can actually look really cool too! Think Mad Hatter’s tea party!
An awesome option is to rent an eco-friendly party pack. Here you can literally get everything you need in one hit, without a hint of plastic in sight!
The Party Kit Network is a huge network across the UK, USA, South Africa, and Australia where you can find local reusable party kits for hire. This is super convenient and saves unnecessary waste entering landfill.
A great way to reduce waste, and covid-safe too, is to ask your guests to bring their own water bottles! Most children have one labelled with their name for school so this could be a good option. Just refill and go!
Again gathering what you have and borrowing is a good option when it comes to how to seat your guests. Or opt for a paired back look and use wooden pallets for a table, blankets, and cushions for seats. If you’re using your garden or an outside space then a bell tent or tepee decorated with bunting or fairy lights would be a great hit.
In my experience children at parties are far too busy for fussy food and want to refuel and go! Keep it simple to minimise food waste. Sandwiches, salad, crisps, pizza, is all you need! Check with your guests before for any dietary requirements or allergies so that you can plan ahead.
If the sun is shining and you can do it safely, then a barbeque is a good option. Who doesn’t love something chargrilled in a bun?
There’s so many activities that are perfect for outdoors, here’s just a few:
Den-building in the woods
Crafts: rock painting, plant pot painting, seed planting, tote bag decorating etc
Ball games, boules, croquet, ball toss etc
Dressing up race
Make slime or homemade play dough
Bouncy castle hire
Homemade paper piñata
Clearing up, not the most fun part of the party but still essential. If you’re outside then label up some bins or bags for recycling, compost, or landfill to make the clean-up easier, and also to ensure that as much as possible is recycled.
Ok, so if there’s a part of the party that is dominated by plastic tat then this is it! A huge bag full of it with a one way ticket to landfill! But there’s some great alternatives:
So shameless plug alert, but our very own Eco Surprise really do make the most ideal eco-friendly party favours! They’re made from sustainable wood and are packaged inside biodegradable packaging.
The non-toxic, vegan-friendly toys come in different ranges, safari, farm, birds, Jurassic, and forest so they’d also be amazing if you’re having an animal or nature-themed party. Your guests will also have them for years to come and can continue to collect more to build their own playsets.
You can buy large packs of books inexpensively from places like the Book People and then give each guest a book to take home. These will last much longer than the plastic tat and can be re-gifted.
A packet of seeds, seed bombs, or even a little plant pot kit to take home would be lovely. You could even turn it into an activity and have your guests decorate plant pots during the party. For some healthy competition plant some sunflowers and see who will grow the tallest one this summer!
So I hope that gives you some ideas of how to throw an eco-friendly, zero waste kid’s party this summer. The main thing is to have fun, dare to do things differently, and keep things simple! :)