From food to toys, here are some fabulous ideas for eco party bags at your child's next birthday.
If you're planning an eco friendly, zero waste or plastic free kids birthday party you NEED to rethink traditional party bags and consider what eco items you can put in them that are going to excite the kids.
This post has some great ideas for package free food and treats, along with sustainable toys and other surprises.
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There's nothing worse than making a big effort to throw a greener party only to find the kids are disappointed, bored or complain. I think its super important to still make sure there's a fun factor that doesn't rely on character branded items, loads of plastic trash or over spending.
Creating eco party bags can be as cheap or expensive as you like. We tend to opt for the lower end because we end up with soooo many kids at the parties. I think 40 has been the most and generally its around 25 kids.
I'll start with food ideas, because the highlight for so many kid's at a party is getting a bag of lollies.
Whatever you decide on as your party loot, it's likely to include food, so here are some better options to the typical junk food and plastic laden items.
I know it is simpler and a bit of a habit to reach for those individually wrapped items, but this plastic is unnecessary and is going to create trash literally in your own backyard as the kids begin to unwrap and leave the rubbish everywhere.
Food Ideas for Birthday Party Loot Bags
This is super easy and cheap to make yourself and can be made a day or two before and stored in a sealed container.
>Mini Sultana boxes
Not totally plastic free, but sweet, healthy and mostly cardboard
> Homemade treats like cookies
If you have time, simple cookies, or even cut into shapes that match your theme will be a hit. You don't have to spend hours on this, keep it simple.
Here's a nice easy (and healthy) recipe I love for Chocolate Banana Spelt Cookies - they are egg free and wheat free AND don't result in a sugar rush.
Smarties can still be bought at the supermarket plastic free in cardboard boxes making them a simple last minute option.
>Head for a large bag of something
Buying a large of lollies or treats, where they are not all individually wrapped inside is another simple option. It means you can recycle the bag, and the kids receive it all trash free.
>Foil wrapped chocolate
Foil is easily recycled and you could even include a a card to explain how to recycle it.
>Bulk stores are your friend
whether you head to your health food shop, bulk section of the supermarket or a zero waste store, you can find a great selection of treats and snacks like:
-Rice crackers and seaweed snacks
-Dried apricot treats
-Pasteli (sesame seed squares with dried fruit, seeds and nuts)
Basically whatever you can find that is package free, yummy and fits your preference for lolly bags.
Eco-Friendly Toys and Non-Food Items For Your Party Bags
Loot bags usually contain a mix of food and toys.
I think you can do either or both, it depends on the type of party and the kinds of things you want to give to the kids.
I've included a couple of DIY options too that are cheap and easy to do last minute.
Mini toys are popular with kids because they are fun and cute. But you don't have to resort to useless plastic crap. Here's one example (pictured above).
These cute little vehicles are BPA and phthalate free, perfect for water play and outdoor use, rust proof and even dishwasher safe.
You can get them in a variety of colours and they even have Volkswagens.
I have one of these myself and I love it. These sustainable pencils are great for taking notes or just colouring in.
They are quite large and easy for little hands to hold. It's one of those items that suits any age.
>A Packet of Seeds
Most kids get a buzz out of growing something.
This has a few benefits in that your party bags are good for the planet and might encourage all the kids to spend a little more time outside and perhaps spark a passion for growing food of a bee friendly garden.
There are lots of different seeds you can get including mixed flowers, heirloom watermelon seeds, or maybe sunflower seeds (see more here). You can also mix up your own seed selection and pop them into a paper envelope with instructions.
> Reusable Straws
You can't get more sustainable than a reusable straw.
Popping these into kid's party bags is a great way to encourage greener habits and a shift away from plastic straws.
The one pictured above is made from natural, organic and ethically sourced bamboo and can be personalised. The Other Straw is a small Aussie start-up who donates 50% of profits towards ocean cleanups!
> DIY Crayons
Grab all your old bits of crayons and melt them down into cute shapes.
Try to use moulds you already have, borrow from a friend or hit the op-shops. You can use anything that goes in the oven, including mini muffin trays.
> Eco Friendly, Kid Safe Eye Shadow
As my daughter gets older I'm starting to see makeup items creep into the party loot bags. (Personally, I think boys AND girls have fun with these).
If you have tweens or teens, opting for a toxin free option is best and a great way to encourage healthier choices in the years to come.
These mineral eyeshadows have bright colours and are handmade in Sydney.
>Make Eco-Friendly Floof
Floof is cloud dough, and if you haven't heard of it is a little like kinetic sand. Most recipes require using a bottle of conditioner to make it, but that is completely unnecessary.
Here's an ecofriendly recipe for floof that is super quick to do and creates a great sensory alternative to party bags.
Make it one of the party activities for the kids to get hands-on and ask guests to BYO container (or save and reuse some you already have).
>Eco-Friendly Bag Tags
Bag tags are still popular with kids. Steer clear of the plastic ones that tend to break before they can even be used.
This jolly roger bag tag is perfect for a pirate party AND is made of sustainable wood. (They are on sale at the moment for $1 each, so I don't know how long they will be available).
If you have time, make the seed bombs with your kids, or make it a birthday party activity.
They are pretty simple to do and here's one tutorial on making seed bombs yourself.
If you don't have time for that, let face it, birthday planning can get hectic - you can cheat and still be eco-friendly with these Lil Bit Bee Seed Bombs come in a calico bag of 6 so you can distribute one or two to each party guest.
Perfect for a Mexican themed party, or any party really as kids LOVE making noise. Skip the plastic ones and opt for sustainably made castanets.
These clackers (pictured above) have been painted with non toxic water colours.
These are just some ideas that will help you create your own eco-friendly party bags at your child's next birthday event. I'm sure as you read through my suggestions you started coming up with some of your own options too!
(Let me know in the comments below, I always need new ideas for the kids parties and love hearing what others do)
The more you start to look for zero waste food options, the more you will find and the same goes for other sustainable party loot items.
The first attempt at throwing an eco celebration is definitely the hardest.
So if it's your first time round, just do what you can and don't be down on yourself for things you just weren't able to do.
It all makes a difference and practice makes it easier.
If you're wondering what on earth you will use as an actual party bag to put these things into - head here for a post on Eco-Friendly Party Bag Alternatives (including zero waste , Plastic-Free and DIY options)
Have a fabulous party!!
P.S. For decoration ideas, check out Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Balloons