Kids & Company Blog

How to Host an Eco-Friendly Birthday Party for Children

Girl in Kids & Company sweater holding a flower

If you’ve ever thrown a children’s birthday party, then you already know how much time, planning, effort and money these celebrations can cost. But there’s another aspect you might not have considered, and that’s the incredible waste they produce - All the tissue and wrapping paper. All the packaged treats. All the one-time-use plates, cutlery and cups. All the plastic trinkets in plastic loot bags. And don’t forget the mountain of presents your child will be obsessed with for about 10 minutes before they make their way to the bottom of the toy bin. 

We all want our children to enjoy their special days, but there’s a lesson here for adults and children alike: Birthday parties don’t have to be wasteful—there are ways to prioritize sustainability, save a few bucks, and focus less on consumption and more on the celebration itself. Here are a few tips to help you plan a child-friendly, wallet-friendly and eco-friendly birthday bash this year.    


Since you’re already planning on going green, why not go green all the way? If you’re celebrating a birthday in warmer months, take the celebration to your nearest green space—your backyard, a local park or a public garden make great venues for a variety of party themes. Not only do these spaces allow children to spend time outdoors, but you’ll be saving electricity, and you won’t have to worry about decor when you’re surrounded by lush plants, blooming flowers and vibrant foliage. If your child is born in winter months, bundle up and hit the toboggan hills, go for a skate or hold a snowman-building competition.


Children always love princesses and superheroes, but there’s a plethora of fun ideas that support a more eco-conscious event. While you can set up pretty much any theme you’d do inside outdoors, take advantage of your surroundings and get inspired by nature. Children who love getting creative will enjoy painting rocks, making leaf prints and tie-dyeing t-shirts using homemade flower, fruit and vegetable dyes. Aspiring athletes will enjoy participating in relay races, obstacle courses, frisbee tournaments and mini-Olympics. If you have a child who has his or her heart set on a classic tea party, simply throw a tablecloth over a picnic table, use reusable cups and serve homemade goodies. You can also move the party to a local farm, zoo or beach, or if you prefer to be indoors, consider booking a room at your community centre or library. 


Many of us enjoyed receiving paper invitations to friends’ birthday parties while we were growing up. Today, a quick email or text message to parents work perfectly, or a phone call from your birthday girl or boy to their guests (yes, children still talk on the phone) is personal and saves invites and envelopes from being tossed into recycling bins. If you want to get creative, use online tools (Canva, Evite, Punchbowl) to design something special to send to partygoers. 


Homemade baked goods, locally sourced goodies and ingredients from your local farmers’ market are always a good idea, as are skipping processed snacks and sugar-loaded “fruit” drinks. That said, be mindful of how many guests you have and how much food you really need—most of us buy too much and end up tossing what guests don’t eat. (If you do have leftovers at the end of the party, send them home with attendees…in reusable containers, of course). And leave the disposables—either use utensils, dishes and trays from your kitchen, or choose compostable or bamboo options. 

Check out our booked goods recipes from the Kidco Kitchen here. We recommend trying our Oatmeal cookie recipe - they are the most popular baked goods at Kids & Company!

Homemade Oatmeal Cookies

Party Gifts

Party guests love a goodie bag. Well, they love the idea of a goodie bag but the truth is, children often can’t wait to check out their goodies, then forget about them completely. If your children are in this camp, suggest an experience or activity for the party that includes a take-home item (t-shirt tie-dyeing, painted pottery, decorated hats, etc.) in lieu of spending money on plastic bits and bobs that will land in the trash. If you don’t want to skip goodie bags, consider a small token, like a reusable water bottle, a succulent or a gift card in a small amount to a local shop or restaurant. 


For most children (and some adults), gifts are often the most exciting part of celebrating a birthday, but your home is probably currently full of toys and games that haven’t been played with in eons.Instead, ask guests to donate to your child’s chosen charity in lieu of gifts (make sure your child is on board with this game - it’s their special day!). EchoAge is a reference for a charitable donation present. Add this information right in the invitation so parents are well aware presents aren’t expected or required. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take heart—even if you choose one or two of these ideas, you’re making a difference. There is such value in throwing an eco-friendly bash, we’re all for helping to save the planet (and a few bucks) while our children enjoy time with friends and a slice (or two) of birthday cake. And you’ll feel good about less hassle, mess and less junk when the party’s over.

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