Hank Green's recent G-Word video blog, taken from a secure vault that holds seeds from every crop for a 'just in case,' post-apocalyptic world, got me thinking about another precious, less doomsday-centric resource: children.
A mother of a six and four year-old, my sister does thing the green way just because it makes good, old-fashioned sense. She follows after my mom, an accidental environmentalist who cut paper napkins in half simply because she couldn't stand waste.
Here are some of her top tips for greening a kids birthday, no preaching required.
Bake the Cake
Eliminate both the big box packaging and unknown ingredients in store-bought cakes, while teaching kids how to get around the kitchen using as many organic ingredients as possible. And watch the pride on their faces as the guests ooh and aah over your little one's hand-baked creation!
Make a Card
Kids love to be given a project. What's better then telling them to copy their friend's name along with 'Happy Birthday' onto a piece of construction paper in crayons, paint or marker. Add a special birthday drawing, and voila! No store-bought card necessary... not to mention the tiny paper bag it comes in that typically gets thrown out immediately.
Pull out the most colorful ads and articles from old magazines, tape them together, and then use the homemade wrapping paper to wrap the gift. Newspaper works too-especially the comics section. Spruce it up by having kids color it with markers once the gift is wrapped. Always save old ribbons from received gifts to reuse. If you really want a more traditional style wrap, turn to Green Field Paper Company for 100 percent recycled paper with soy-based ink and other eco-specialty wraps.
Give a Modest Goodie Bag
Instead of seeing kids off with candy and plastic junk, why not give a small donation to a good cause? My sister recently had hosted a birthday party for my niece at Let's Dress Up! in Manhattan. Upon leaving, each 'princess' received a note that read: "a small donation has been sent on behalf of all the princesses here so that another little girl somewhere in the world may also be a princess for a day!" Each note signified a $5 donation to the Make a Wish Foundation. The facility provided a glittery pouch, one faux jewel bracelet, and a mini 'glass' slipper that had held M&Ms from earlier in the party, balancing good will with a small goodie.
Explain the importance of making eco-friendly choices to your kids as you do all of the above to help them understand the beauty of a less-waste life!