My kids love having birthday parties with their friends, and they especially love picking out party favors. Personally, I’m royally tired of the standard plastic favors that only last a day or two before breaking that kids get at most parties they attend. I think my kids have received most of them at one party or another, and the favors are usually junk.
Now, the easiest solution to all this is to simply skip the whole party favor thing. It’s the most eco friendly solution too. But if you or your kids aren’t ready to give up on the concept of party favors, you can at least try to make them more eco friendly. It’s possible, and you can even keep the costs down.
If you’re the kind who likes to make treats, these can be wonderful party favors… just be sure you know about any allergies or sensitivities to take into consideration. Popcorn is often popular with kids, although there are GMO considerations. You can make homemade cookies, brownies, chocolates, candies, whatever you like to make.
This can be a party activity and favor all in one. Have the kids paint or otherwise decorate their pots early on in the party, so that any paint or glue has time to dry. Later on, have the kids plant seeds or small plants you have ready for them. Make sure parents know in advance that the kids might get messy!
Homemade Play Dough
Homemade play dough is easy to make and lots of fun for the kids. Have a little fun with it and add some glitter – kids love sparkling play dough. Here’s a basic recipe:
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tbs cream of tartar (optional but helpful)
1-1/2 cups hot water
3 tbs cooking oil
Glitter (optional but pretty)
Combine all dry ingredients. Separate into one container per color, then add oil (estimate amount per color) and food coloring as desired. Add hot water slowly, and mix by hand until the consistency is right. Add a little more flour or salt if the dough gets too wet. Put into sealed containers for each child.
Decorating t-shirts can be a lot of fun, but potentially messy, so make sure parents get advance warning. You can use t-shirt paints, Sharpie markers, tie dye kits or anything else you like that works on shirts. My kids like to draw on shirts with Sharpie marker with sections of the shirt pulled tight over a container, then drop rubbing alcohol over the design to make it spread. This is best as an outdoor activity, as the alcohol really stinks!
To make it more eco friendly, look for organic cotton t-shirts and other eco friendly supplies.
For younger kids, crayons are a nice treat. You can give them brand new ones or melt old, broken crayons into molds for a more interesting look.
Pick an eco-friendly craft that is age appropriate for the kids. You may even be able to find ideas to go with any party theme you’ve chosen. Give the kids the supplies early on and let them go at it. Make sure you have a place for everything to dry after that is visible enough that you won’t forget to have the kids take their projects home.
Homemade Bath Bombs/Salts
This can be a fun activity for older kids or teens. Get the supplies to make some bath bombs or salts. Salts are usually easier because you don’t have to worry about how long they need to dry out.
Rocks, Fossils, Coins
This is a favorite of my kids. I go to ebay.com and find tumbled rocks, foreign coins, fossils, etc. for party favors. It’s great if you have a treasure hunt theme. The quick way to give these to the kids is to fill containers with treasure and sandbox sand, then have each kid sift out their treasure. This is best for younger kids who might get upset over unequal distributions or who might not have the patience for an actual treasure hunt.
For older kids, consider an actual treasure hunt. Hide the treasure, and give them clues to find it. Make sure you find a way to limit how much treasure each one gets, or hide the treasure in a different location for each, and warn the kids not to take treasure that doesn’t come from one of their clues. You can also mark each one with a color or logo so that everyone knows which treasure is theirs. You don’t want the fastest kid to get an excessive share of the prizes.
Favors From Eco Friendly Sites
Check out some of the websites that offer eco friendly party supplies and favors.