Birthday Parties Are Great Fun
Birthday parties are a great time for kids. Children of all ages love to spend an afternoon eating cakes, ice cream and chocolate and playing games with their friends. But with many families now trying to eat more healthy food and be less wasteful, birthday parties can be a challenge for many parents. Leftover food, plastic forks and knives, paper plates that go straight into the bin and throw-away plastic favours and other disposable plastic games all mount up. There must be a more environmentally friendly way to organise a kid’s party.
How many kids actually cherish the plastic toys that they receive in party bags? Usually the toys are discarded minutes after getting them. However, it needn’t be this way. There are plenty of party toys that can be given out to kids that are less wasteful and are more natural, and more likely to be enjoyed for a lot longer.
Natural Party Bags
One great idea is for the kids to make their own gift. A party bag given to a child that contains a selection of shells, some small tubs of water-based paint and a paintbrush will keep them amused for ages. Kids love to make things and to show their parents their creations. This idea not only amuses but also teaches them about nature. You can ask them to think up a story about how the shells arrived on the shore and they can try to image brightly colour fish that live in the ocean and decorate their shells with those colour.
Fun Party Games
After the creative session is finished, there are a number of great games that can be played, which are not only environmentally friendly, but go a long way towards teaching children about the natural world. For example, a scavenger hunt can be most amusing for kids of all ages. Make up some coloured cards. Each card should have a descriptive word on it, for example something spiky, rough, smooth, brightly coloured, colours of the rainbow. Children take the coloured cards away and try to find natural objects from the garden that match the card. A small prize can be awarded for the team that collect the best items.
The ‘web of life’ is a great way to entertain kids. Not only is it an energetic way to spend an hour, it also teaches kids that we all depend on one another. The first thing to do is discuss with the gang how all living things need other living things. For example, if you have a dog you could mention that it needs someone to feed it. How about our breakfast, we depend on the farmer to grow the crops to make the cereal and we depend on the truck drivers to deliver the food to the shops.
Ask each child to draw a picture of one of the things you have been discussing, for example, a cow, a farmer, and truck driver. Each child’s picture is taped onto their shirts. Each person is given a length of string, a tennis ball and some tape. Their first task is to tape the string to the tennis ball and then wind the string around the ball.
The person in charge of the group calls out a phrase to the kids, such as, ‘the farmer milks the cow’. The person with the farmer picture on their shirt throws the ball to the person with the cow picture, making sure that they hold tightly to the end of the string. The leader says, ‘the milk gets taken to the shops’ and the person with the cow picture throws their ball to the person with the truck driver. The game continues until each child has thrown the tennis ball at least once. At the end of the game, there is a jumble of string all around, but it actually looks like a spider’s web.
By collecting natural items and with a little imagination it is quite possible to invent some fantastic party games for kids. Not only do these games teach children about the natural environment, they cut out a lot of waste. These games don’t need plastic toys, they don’t generate much waste and they are great fun. Instead of kids throwing away useless plastic junk toys from party bags, they will cherish their creations and, guaranteed, they will go home to their parents full of enthusiasm for the things they have made.