A Less Waste Kid’s Birthday Party

Did you know that average child’s birthday party can cost from  $300 to 1,000’s of dollars? I am not what you call the crafty type or creative at ALL. So, when I started to think about my little boy turning two and his birthday party, thinking about having a less wasteful birthday party, actually lessened my stress. I knew I didn’t want to spend much and I wanted it to be less waste.  The toughest thing to me about organizing a birthday party was thinking of the options that are out there. So, less waste = fewer options AND I also felt really good about the choices that I did make.

Two Year Old Birthday Party Theme

The first thing I tried to do was think about a theme.  My little boy loves the nursery rhyme Old McDonald so, I thought that would work  perfectly. Old McDonald was something I could wrap my head around, a theme I knew he would enjoy and the other kids would understand it too.

Looking for Birthday Ideas

I reached out to my friends on facebook about some ideas on how be more Earth friendly with a birthday party.  Two heads are always better than one. I got some really good ideas and kept them in my back pocket for later. Of course, I had to check pinterest because it’s full of ideas and I thought I could try to modify them to make them Earth friendly or just take on whatever I could handle.

These are the “Rules” I tried to follow:

*Use what I already have
*Buy Used
*No single use items


I am pretty sure that most people do this already but I didn’t even send out evites.  There is an free app called Greetings Island on google play store for android and I sent a text!  I am a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to most things ( I do my best work last minute) so, I found an app that you can make birthday invites and I texted all of my invites out!  It was awesome.

Birthday Party Decor

This was by the far the most difficult part for me and where I spent the most time.  As I said before, I am not creative but sticking with the Old McDonald theme made it easier.  My thinking was this, I’d get some farm animals and maybe dress my little boy up in some overalls (which he used as a Halloween costume a few months prior). So, I started gathering and brainstorming.

Overalls from the Halloween Costume

Use What I Already Have

Repurposed rubbermaid into animal play yard


I started this by asking my students (they have lots of unwanted toys) if they had any farm animals that I could borrow for his birthday party.  At least 3 of them brought me little bags of farm animals. SCORE! I also reached out to my a friend with kids that is moving. She also brought me a bag of farm animals. I also got a great tip from a friend to check out the birthday themed books from the library. I used them as decor and and a little activity for the kids.

Buy Used

I asked my mom to check out the thrift stores for overalls and a farmer shirt. She didn’t find any used ones but she bought me some news ones that will get lots of use!

No Single Use Items

I hate goody bags at children’s parties.  They end up being a bunch of cheap crappy plastic toys that break in a minute. So, I decided I was going to do something different.  I wanted something that the kids could use for a while and maybe something they could be creative with. What better solution than playdough!  I used this recipe and made my own!  Now this was a BIG stretch for me.  I was nervous but I just went for it and it worked. I gave each kid a reused food takeaway container full of playdough.  They loved it!

I also ended up buying some checkered fabric (that I will reuse-maybe for Christmas?) to use as a tablecloth, blueberry ties and some bunting that I made (an idea from another Earth Mama) as decor.

Birthday Party Tableware

Use What You Already Have

I used cloth napkins that were red from Christmas and matched the Old McDonald decor and some wax wraps I recently made to line the veggie tray. To be festive I also used old jars that I saved to put out the silverware and store the napkins.  I wrapped the glass jars in burlap that I bought for Christmas and twine that I reused from Christmas present.


Since we recently moved to Malaysia, we still don’t have a ton of house stuff.  I asked friends that were invited to the birthday party if they extra plastic plates and or bowls instead of buying plastic or paper tableware.  I was able to borrow some!


Use What You Already Have

As  a family we get food delivered a lot.  Probably too much but that is another topic for another day.  Anyway, as a result we get a lot of plastic take away containers which we reuse for MANY different things.  I used some small sauce ones to give out these delicious dried blueberries for the kids.

Dried Blueberries in re-used containers

No Single Use Items

Instead of going to the grocery store and buying packaged dried fruit, we visited our local bulk store and purchased a couple of kilos of dried blueberries which, my little boy loves.  


I asked for no gifts or for hand me downs. I was a little nervous to say no gifts but it worked! For the most part the parents were on board.

All in all I am pretty proud of myself!  I stuck to my rules for the most part, it was fairly inexpensive because I borrowed most things AND my baby boy looked freaking cute with his Old McDonald overalls on! Also, I have lots of decor that I can reuse.

Happy Birthday Boy

4 thoughts on “A Less Waste Kid’s Birthday Party”

  1. Great ideas and reminders! What I love is that people are getting on board, more and more, and leaving behind old expectations of what a party ‘should’ look like and moving toward what a party ‘could also’ look like. Making space for change….that’s what this is all about! oh….and happy birthday baby boy!

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