...Kids, General ramblings, Happy Stuff!

How to Have a Zero Waste (ish) Zero Spend (ish) Kid’s Birthday Party

BigSmall is SEVEN!
That is bonkers.
Seven sounds incredibly old (for a child of mine).

Anyway, we have discovered this week, that the party might actually be more exciting than the actual birthday, if the levels of excitement in our house as the party approached are anything to go by.
So far, the kids have always had smallish parties at our house, and we offered BigSmall the opportunity this year to have a whole class in the village hall party, but he said he wanted to have a party at home again. And only named about 4 or 5 friends he wanted to invite-awesome 🙂

We managed it pretty successfully (if the noise levels were anything to go by), and as excitingly (for me!) managed it with very little waste, and buying nothing new.
Here’s how we did it:

Designed on PicMonkey, and printed off at home.
Hand delivered into book bags at school.
Cost: £0

Party Games
We decided to have a ‘Minute to Win It’ Party. Basically a series of games where they each had a minute to complete a task.
1. Make a paper aeroplane (this wasn’t a Minute to Win It game, but we managed to sneak it in)
and then see who can fly it the furthest.
We flew them down the hall, and used pieces of masking tape to mark each person’s furthest throw
2. Smartie moving using a straw
We put our newest purchase (actually new, in the spirit of zero waste) of some stainless steel drinking straws to good use.
You put some smarties in one bowl, hand the kids a straw, and they have to move the smarties from one bowl to the other, as many as they can in a minute.
They got to eat the smarties they have moved.
3. Balloon keepy uppys
Basically see if you can keep a balloon off the floor, using your head, hands, feet etc for a minute
4. Target practice
Hubby bought home a couple of big boxes and cut out different size and shape holes, and assigned each one a number of points depending on how hard it would be to hit the target.
I made some pompoms to use as the balls (less damaging than balls if they don’t hit the target…!)
5. Build a Lego tower
Who can build the highest Lego tower in a minute
Cost for all the games: Maybe £1 for the Smarties and a balloon (I’m not including the price of the straws as we didn’t buy them specifically for this, and they will be used again, obvs)


Homemade Party Rings
We made:
:: cheese and ham wraps
:: mini sausages (hubby saw some reduced to 15p a while back, and we froze them!)
:: crisps (from a large share bag to limit the number of packets going in the bin)
:: carrot sticks
:: homemade party rings and iced gems (blog post to come!)
:: grapes
:: orange juice
All served on ‘normal’ (ie not paper or plastic) kids plates and beakers
Cost: Less than £3. We had most of the stuff already in the fridge.

The Cake
I may have gone slightly overboard here, and the cake ingredients probably cost more than the rest of the party itself…
I made a rainbow pinata cake.

It was supposed to be a kind of stop watch on top...

It was supposed to be a kind of stop watch on top…

Pinata cake 2
SIX layers….
Cost: The ingredients must have been over £10. But it was pretty epic.

The Party Bags
I struggle a lot with party bags, and part of me would love to just send them home with a slice of cake.
But I’m not that brave yet.
We used brown paper bags, and inside they had:
:: A keyring (hubby had been given some freebies at work, and managed to open them up and personalise them for each child)
:: The paper aeroplanes they made for the party game
:: A pompom each
:: A small paper bag with some ‘7’ cookies, and a homemade slightly mis-shapen cake pop
:: A slice of cake
:: A tube of smarties (we may have over bought for the games and the cake!)
Cost: Maybe £2. Again for the smarties!

The Presents
I sat down with BigSmall before we sent out the invites, and we had a chat about how many toys etc he has, and whether or not he wanted to put “No presents please” on his invites. I emphasised to him that it was his decision, and I would be ok with whatever he chose. I have to admit to feeling a bit gutted though when he said he didn’t want to.
But one of the advantages of having a smaller party, is that you don’t get the deluge of presents that you get if you invite the whole class.
The presents he got were all lovely, and mostly book themed.
Now I feel really bad about my decision last year to ‘just’ give a bag of homemade biscuits 🙁

All in all, not too bad though, as parties go these days…


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  • Reply Susie - secondhandsusie.blogsp October 13, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I NEED to see how you made the party rings! Please 🙂

    • Reply Jen October 13, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      I’ll blog it ASAP!

  • Reply Rachelle Strauss October 13, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Such brilliant suggestions Jen and you’re right – that cake IS epic. I’ve got away with ‘no party bags’ before by getting them to paint and decorate t-shirts and plain shortbread biscuits during the party, then they get to take home their works of art, along with a slice of cake. Sounds like you had a fab time!

    • Reply Jen October 13, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Great ideas Rachelle, thankyou!

  • Reply Hannah Taylor October 12, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Stainless steel straws genius!!! I think about party bags a lot. My daughter is so young that I have just got away with cake but I don’t think we will next year and i’m not brave enough to be bold on this one. My daughter is young enough that we put no presents on the invites but everyone ignored this and gave her beautiful presents and like you I felt guilty about some of my handmade gifts I have given.

    • Reply Jen October 13, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Hannah
      Did people acknowledge that you’d put no presents, or just completely ignore it?
      Not sure what the answer is to feeling guilty about homemade gifts 🙁

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