Children’s ‘environmentally friendly’ birthday parties

Children's eco party

This guide has been put together for anyone wanting to throw an eco-friendly party for a child (or even an adult). It can seem like a lot of pressure and expectation to put on the ‘perfect’ party for our kids and their friends, but who says it has to impact on our planet (or our wallets!)? And why have we become so competitive in the first place, keeping the party simple can really be the best way to be sustainable.

Whatever the budget, whatever the size of the party, there are many ways to limit your impact, while it may not be possible to be entirely low impact, there are many ways that you can achieve a ‘greener’ / environmentally friendly party for your little ones, without missing out on any of the fun! 

Here are some ideas for you to consider.

The invitation:

You can reduce the impact of printing and sending paper invitations by:

  • Create a social media ‘event’
  • Send out texts / emails
  • Make invitations from upcycled / recycled paper


You can reduce the impact of transport and / or make it an environment themed party by:

  • Location close to the majority of your guests to limit distance travelled
  • Somewhere with good links to bus or train stations
  • Somewhere with bicycle lock up facilities
  • Nature-park
  • Your garden / family member garden
  • Your home
  • Sustainable farm / farm park
  • Museum (e.g. natural history)
  • Local park
  • Woodlands
  • A ‘sustainable’ / Good practice zoo / wildlife park
  • Local scout hall / church hall
  • A space that runs on solar / wind energy
  • Keep it outdoors, even if it is during the colder months


  • Re-useable / composable decorations / no decorations
  • Paper decorations made from recycled paper e.g. paper chains
  • Second hand fabric bunting or hand-made from fabric scraps
  • Use plants as decorations
  • No balloons or conventional confetti
  • Natural confetti (e.g. made from dried leaves / flowers)
  • Second hand decorations
  • upcycled decorations

Food and food equipment

  • Ask invitees to bring their own re-useable plates / forks / bottles
  • Reusable cloth tablecloths / napkins  
  • Green / healthy food (nuts / fruit / veggies)
  • Meat free
  • Limit or no sugar
  • Packaging free sweets or cakes etc
  • Home-made food or ask guests to Bring Your Own
  • Limit single use plastics
  • Provide bin / Terracycle / recycle bin for guests
  • Try to avoid food waste; don’t over buy
  • Encourage guests to take any left-over food home
  • Pass unused food on through OLIO etc
  • Collect food waste for green waste / compost


  • Ask for a monetary donation to a charity
  • Ask guests for no gifts ‘your presence is our present’
  • Ask or give second hand / upcycled / recycled gifts
  • No gift paper for wrapping (fabric / re-usable wrapping, newspaper / brown paper, re-used paper)
  • No sellotape
  • No card / upcycled card
  • Provide a birthday book in place of cards
  • No party bags / paper bags filled with ecofriendly gift such as bee bombs / sunflower / wildflower seeds / pre-loved items / gifts bought second-hand


  • Pass the parcel – using recycled newspaper / fabric wrap / other recycled paper and twine instead of Sellotape with pre-loved gifts inside
  • Provide games / puzzles / activities that you already own and set them up in the space you have
  • A ‘teddy bear’ hunt / scavenger hunt with clues
  • Plant a seed activity in recycled plant pots / can decorate the pots too
  • Recycling craft activities 
  • Second hand book swap / toy swap
  • Dress up with second-hand / already owned costumes

Invitation example:

100 Free Cartoon Background Vectors For All Your Projects ...

XXXX ‘Birthday’ Nature picnic

Please come along to XXX’s Birthday Nature Picnic at XXX Nature Park

The theme is ‘Nature’ and we’re celebrating all things natural so would also like everything to be as ‘eco-friendly’ as possible

Please can you bring your own picnic

Because it is environment themed, we all have to try to do the following things if possible:

Car pool where possible

No / limited single use plastic

Healthy and natural picnic food

No disposable plastic bottles

Bring your own reusable bottles/ cups/ plates/ forks

Kids are welcome to dress up if you already have a costume but don’t buy one for the occasion

No birthday cards

No gift wrap

With regards to a present, we don’t want anyone to buy anything new, if you want to buy anything, please either buy it second hand or something you have already, or something recycled / upcycled, or if you can’t think of something than please don’t worry as we’ll just be happy to see you.

Can’t wait to see you all there.

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.

Author Bio

Grace Darke is the Volunteer Co-ordinator for Eco Colchester and a project manager of en-form.

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