My daughter recently turned three and as I planned her party, I knew I wanted to incorporate some of our family’s eco-friendly practices in to the details. As I thought about party favours, I knew I didn’t want to do the traditional loot bag with a few trinkets inside that likely get played with a few times, then tossed out.
I wanted to do something that would last longer and be more eco-friendly. There are some great eco-friendly toys out there, but many of them are out of my price range for party favours (they’d make great birthday gifts, though!). So I decided on a ‘busy bag’ concept and turned it into an idea for party favours.
Since a green alternative to plastic bags was cloth bags, I got to work to sew my own and used a see-through window so the kids could see what was inside. I found a step-by-step tutorial for sewing a zippered pouch with a window. Instead of using vinyl for the window like the instructions suggest, I repurposed some sheer drapes I had kept from a long time ago. For the rest of the fabric for the pouches, I used remnants I had from previous sewing projects.
I chose a few different Busy Bag activities to include:
- Button Snake with Felt Shapes: The Button Snake is a great fine motor activity and will help teach children how to do up and undo buttons. I used:
- larger sized buttons I had in my sewing box
- leftover bias tape and/or ribbon
- recycled craft felt sheets (made from recycled pop bottles from Michaels)
I cut out shapes from the felt sheets, and then cut a slit in each shape. I sewed a button to one end of the ribbon/bias tape, and then sewed one small felt square to the other end of the ribbon/bias tape. This little square will prevent the shapes from falling off as your child puts them on the ribbon. The shapes are great for talking about to learn shapes and colours as well.
- Lacing Activity with Shapes: Another great fine motor activity – putting laces through holes in lacing cards. I used:
- foam shapes from Dollarama (came in packs of 20)
- bead lacing strings from Michaels (look like colourful shoelaces, I got 12 in a pack)
- regular one-hole punch
- glue stick
I glued together 2 identical foam shapes to make a lacing card that was thicker and sturdier. A regular old glue stick did the trick. I then used my hole punch to punch holes around the edges of the shapes. This was the most time consuming as I often had to stop to get rid of tiny circles of foam so they wouldn’t block up my hole punch. Otherwise it was a pretty easy activity to put together.
I made up little description cards for the 2 activities to put in the bag as well. Because the birthday party has a Ni Hao Kai Lan theme, I also included a mini colouring book available as a printable from the Nick Jr. website (printed on recycled paper) to round out the little gifts.
What green and eco-friendly party favour ideas to you have?
Judith is a mother to an angelic little girl, wife to a visual artist, sister to a breast cancer survivor, designer/ musician/ writer, and self-proclaimed ecoholic. Her blog juicygreenmom.ca offers tips on living green on a sensible budget, in Edmonton and online.