20 Eco friendly party bag ideas that won’t break the bank!
One of my favourite things about being a mum is organising my children’s birthday parties. I may be a sucker for punishment but there is wonderful creative opportunity and a chance to ‘fire up my creative spark’ for children and families who really do appreciate our efforts. My son is also lucky enough to have lots of friends who invite him to their birthday gatherings too.
There are always fun old-fashioned games like pass-the-parcel, musical statues, three-legged races, pin the tail on the donkey (or dinosaur), and ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf’, tenpin bowling on the lawn, music and dancing, exuberant conversation and noise, tonnes of play, and a bucketload of thoughtful presents for the birthday child, including favourite picture books, lego sets, handmade dolls and dress ups, gorgeous locally-made dresses and outfits, skipping ropes, fairy crowns and wands, playdough packs and child-centred board games.
Many of us decorate using eco-friendly ideas too.
- we handmake reusable fabric (or paper) bunting flags or paper pom-poms
- we offer homemade chocolate and strawberry milkshakes in recyclable mason jars with paper straws
- we provide sweet nectars in cute bottles we can later repurpose as vases.
- We wrap prizes in brown paper
- cover our tables with our Grandma’s embroidered tablecloths
- use our best cutlery instead of disposables
- wash up our plates rather than use throwaways.
Many hosts make all the party food from scratch, and are conscious of providing healthy food children will actually eat in favour of potentially tossing the lot in the bin, with a few treats – fairy bread and chocolate crackles are standard – thrown in for good measure.
But when the time comes to depart, all this good eco-friendly stuff can be undone with a take-home gift and lolly (candy) bag, as lovely as the idea may be. In the past few years, my son has received a miniature plastic yoyo, a plastic gold medallion necklace, bubble blowing solution in cheap plastic bottles, a rubber duck, balloons, a plastic spinning top, a mini tub of glitter, neon pens, a plastic snake, a plastic magnifying glass, a plastic whistle, a slinky toy, a rubber bouncy ball and plenty. This is the stuff I see in the party section of my local variety store. A lot of these kinds of cheap and cheerful party favours can be bought in 8-packs for $2 to $3. It’s fun but not exactly eco-friendly or sustainable.
I love making up take-home party favour bags but watching my son play for less than ten minutes with these throwaway goodies makes me want to do it another way. Luckily, we can do it differently. It won’t cost you much more, not in dollars or time, but what a difference these party favours will make to young children and the world.
Here are my favourite 20 eco-friendly party bag ideas for favours (or things to build fun family memories) you might pop inside:
1. A pack of cards to play ‘Go fish’ or ‘Snap’
2. A pack of flower or vegetable seeds
3. Or better yet, make your own ‘seed bombs’ on the day (seeds mixed into a mud slurry, rolled into balls, and dried)
6. Bake your own choc chip or macadamia cookies as a party activity and wrap up two in wax paper for a home treat
7. If you have a bit of time, why not create your own lovely colouring book, (have it professionally printed) or a handmade book of favourite songs, crafts and recipes? My friend Jen made one of these on Blurb for her playgroup friends and you could create something similar for party attendees.
8. Make up a simple craft pack. Cut out the pieces for a red and white toadstool ornament (or a turtle toy, or flower shapes for a brooch) from wool felt and pop these pieces into a bag with a length of cotton thread, and an instruction sheet with a photo of the finished piece. Remember to add a link to a webpage teaching you how to blanket stitch , just in case. (http://www.educator101.com.au/make/stitch-dictionary/how-to-blanket-stitch-a-step-by-step-tutorial/)
9. Make personalised hand-carved stamps for each child- perhaps their name, or a stamp of a favourite thing like a strawberry, a cupcake, or a cricket bat. Pop it in a brown bag with one small coloured stamp pad.
10. Make braided friendship bracelets
12. Thread a beach shell or two onto a piece of leather to make a eco-friendly necklace
13. Collect a basket of flowers and invite children to make their own take-home posy. Dampen, then wrap the stems in silver foil.
14. Make enough small origami boxes using golden paper and invite each child to ‘hunt for a crystal treasure’ in the front yard before they leave
15. Pop in a packet of sparklers (these will need adult supervision of course)
16. Another crafty idea is to add a small votive candle, and a few colours of beeswax modelling wax to the bag. Children can then decorate their candle with simple shapes and themes at home.
17. Gift a small measuring tape, a pack of lovely post-it notes, or a fancy stapler, or paper punch. (Inspire the Artist within! Isn’t this Marilyn picture from post it notes simply superb?)
18. Cover a hairclip with felt and add decorations to it- beads, sequins, and simple embroidery patterns work well. Little girls will love this.
19. Make a paper aeroplane using brightly patterned origami paper
20. Make each child a peg doll in their own likeness using fabric and markers