Some Fun and Eco-Friendly Birthday Party Ideas For Kids From Pre-school to Teens

birthday party

One of the macaws at our “Parrotpalooza” party (photo my own)

As the parent of three kids, I’ve often had to try and come up with birthday party ideas that were new and different. I know the frustration of trying to think of something that the kids will like but haven’t tried before (and also the irritation of spending a lot of time and effort on putting something together only to have it be a flop), and I’ve been lucky enough to have enjoyed some real success. The ones that proved to be the biggest were ones where we combined fun with learning something new, so I thought it would be nice to share them and maybe give you some ideas for your own child.

 One thing that has made party planning a bit more of a challenge for us has been that two of our kids have #autism spectrum disorders, so anything large and noisy tends to not be a good idea. This means things like a bowling aprty, a pool party or anything else involving a noisy space and crowd are out. This being said, there are still lots of fun things you can do.

 One party that we held that went over really well was the “Parrotpalooza” that we had for our son when he was in kindergarten. There was a #parrot rescue and rehoming group in our area, and they brought over five or six of their #birds who were well socialized and loved an audience ( they were real hams). They ranged from tiny #lovebirds to a huge #macaw, and they loved the kids as much as the kids loved them. They birds were introduced, and the facilitator talked about them and gave information about how they live in the wild and things to consider if someone was thinking of getting one as a pet. All of the parrots were either rescues or ones that had been abandoned, and it was lovely to see the children’s faces when they got to see them up close and personal. The #party was held at our place, and, in total, there were about 17 kids there. Including the fee plus a donation I made to rehoming society, the cake (which I topped with a parrot ornament I found) and the parrot themed gift bags, the whole thing cost less than two hundred dollars, and was held in our living room. The kids also each got to have their picture taken either holding a parrot on their arm or sitting with one on the arm of the chair, and they all loved it. I admit that I had been nervous about how the parrots would feel about being around a room full of noisy kids, but their fascination with the birds kept them still and attentive.

birthday party

my son with one of the parrots at the party ( photo my own)

 Another idea that was #popular when my daughters were pre teens was a sleepover where we themed it around an Asian or other style of meal, decorations and treat bags. At the time, we were living in a small town where the most exposure any of the kids seemed to have was sweet and sour chicken balls from the local #Chinese take away, and we ended up making most of the food ourselves. We served sukiyaki, black rice, vegetarian sushi, and dim sum among other things, and we taught the guests how to use chop sticks. There was a lot of giggling and #fun, and they all seemed to have a great time.

 Younger kids can always be counted upon to enjoy getting their hands dirty, so “#garden parties’ were a popular choice for our two kids who had April #birthdays. This was something we facilitated ourselves, as both my husband and I have a background in #horticulture and plant science. We’d purchase some packets of #seed, some clay pots and paints, and save up seeds from avocadoes or mangoes. The kids would each get to paint some pots, and plant their seeds. While we helped them with this, we taught them a little bit about plants and how to care for them. The kids all got to take something home with them, and they had #fun too.

  As our kids got older, they wanted to have different types of parties. When the #teen years hit, the idea of having mom or dad around for the festivities went out the window ( it was deemed “too embarrassing”), so we had to come up with something new. My daughters both enjoy it when we take them and some of their closest friends to a nice restaurant. When we first did it, we’d sit with them, but as they got older, we’d simply pay the bill. Then we’d drive everyone home for a night at our place.

 For the spring birthdays, we’ve also held “#beach parties”. Since the North Atlantic is abysmally cold in April, these don’t involve swimming, but we took the kids there and had a 3picnic with a barbecue, had sand castle building contests, did some beach coming and just generally enjoyed one of the first chances of spring to get out and enjoy the warm sunshine and fresh air. We’d also try and give a few lessons about marine #ecology, so all the guests went home a little wiser. Since that’s a good time of year to find shells, driftwood, sea glass and other items that have been washed up by the winter storms, the kids were always able to find something interesting. I still remember how excited they got over finding things like mermaid’s purses (skate egg cases) and dead man’s fingers ( a type of sea sponge that lives in the cold waters where we live) and sand dollars.

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The beach during the birthday party ( photo my own)

 There were a few years when my husband was away with the army, so  we held off on the party until later in May. We’d  take a group of the partygoers to a nearby park that had woodland walking trails. We’d take them on a sort of “#nature hike”, explaining the things we saw. The fiddle heads were always a big hit, as was showing them the maple trees that can be tapped to provide maple sap for making into syrup. We’d sometimes find snakes and frogs, aand the flowers were just srating to open. After the walk, there was time on the playground and then a #picnic lunch. It was an easy sort of #birthday party, with little clean up required

beaver

One of our birthday party nature hikes took place in the early evening, and while we were walking with the guests on the trail, we saw this fellow. It’s a beaver!

The above ideas show that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to give your kids a great birthday. All you need is a little imagination and some effort and you’ll be able to give your child a #birthdayparty they’ll always remember.

 How about you? What are some of your birthady party ideas for kids?

 For the latest tweets from the Big Blue Bird, follow me on Twitter @EastCauthor #bigbluebirdarticles

birthday party

two of the feathered friends who came to our “Parrotpalooza” and also the facilitator from the parrot rescue

 

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