Five easy ways to throw an eco-friendly birthday party for kids

You can have an Eco-friendly, Up-cycled Birthday Party for Kids and save money too!

This guest post is from Kara Carrero at ALLterNATIVElearning. She and her family are passionate about the environment and conservation. In this post, she has ideas on how to throw an eco-friendly birthday party. Enjoy!

The modern birthday has lots of cake, plenty of decorations, and almost always disposable plates and utensils. However, our family strives to find a balance in making birthdays both special and environmentally sustainable. Birthdays don’t have to lose their luster by choosing to not waste or spend a lot of money.

An eco-friendly birthday party

My daughter’s first birthday was this past fall. Like many first time moms, I had anticipated the day it would arrive since she was about 3 months old and planned little bits here and there throughout the year. But my main goal was to throw an exciting and memorable party without trash or excess.

Eco-Friendly  Birthday Party Ideas

1. Use real dishes or compostable paper plates. If you plan it right, it doesn’t have to be a hassle to use real dishes. In fact, having some small Corelle dishes on hand easily pays for itself. They do not break as easily as regular dishes and are easily replaceable or you can add to them. We grew up with them and rarely broke anything and it’s still what my parents use. My 15 month old has thrown one and it didn’t even chip. If you just can’t do that, use real silverware with basic paper plates that break down in the compost or can be recycled. Even here in Oklahoma (not very eco-friendly) we have options for community compost and recycling.

Five easy ways to throw and eco-friendly birthday party for

2. Re-use old d├ęcor and don’t throw any away. Up-cycle old material for new decorations. We made bunting from old magazines and used paper, and it was really cute! I had a few things from parties from several years ago, so I reused a couple of things. I also had some SOLO cups that I re-wash and use for the kids while adults use our glass cups.

3. Make the birthday about the experience and not the decor Birthdays are about the fun and not about having perfect decorations. We threw a carnival with fun homemade games instead of investing a lot of time and money into party hats, balloons, and streamers. Even growing up, I don’t remember how my parties were decorated, but I definitely remember the fun I had or the silly things that happened. Focus on making the most of the brief time given rather than stressing over the things that won’t be remembered.

homemade birthday party games, decorations and favors

4. Make party favors about memories, experiences, and sustainability. We had two different party favors. Her birthday party was specifically a grow theme, we provided small bio-degradable pots to decorate and soil and seeds to grow a small garden. It’s a gift that keeps on giving!

We also had a a photo booth. We asked everyone who attended to make an up-cycle costume and take a picture with the frames we provided. They left us their email address so then we emailed them a picture when we sent them an e-thank you card for coming and for gifts.

5. Make the gifts count. I know this sounds a bit presumptuous, but in reality it doesn't have to be. Be clear with your attendees because I have never met someone who didn't appreciate knowing that their gift was well-received. For us, we put a line on the e-vite that read “no gifts necessary, but if compelled to bring something we needed x,y,z”.

These are five easy ways to throw and eco-friendly birthday party, not break the bank, and still have awesome memories with friends and family. For us, it’s just one more step in doing better in making conscious decisions about what we need vs. what we want which has become increasingly important with kids.

For more from Kara visit her site at

Recommended Reading:

Your Birthday Book: A Keepsake Journal

Birthday Monsters!

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Lora is a homeschooling mom, writer, creator of Kids Creative Chaos, and Director of the Play Connection.