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Everybody loves a goody bag, and I have been known to take an extra swag bag at a party myself. But no child (or parent) needs more bubble gum, ring pops, or squishy plastic trinkets loaded with yucky chemicals like phthalates.

If not for health or the planet, consider the sanity of the mom who doesn’t need 10 more little toys to trip over, sweep up, and later find in the dog’s bowel movements.

But if you want to offer guests a fun takeaway, there are plenty of simple, affordable ideas!

  1. Better Snacks. For a mom, there is nothing better than a gift that disappears without having to make room in the overstuffed toy box. It doesn’t have to be 100% organic—although a handful of Whole Foods Animal Crackers costs mere pennies. (For my son’s first birthday I bought a giant jug of these cookies for less than $10, and stuck a few in little matchboxes I bought on Etsy). You can send kids home with homemade muffins, or even take the opportunity to introduce your guests to all the healthier treats on the market. From organic lollipops to Cheddar Bunnies, natural foods are now accessible and kid-friendly.
  2. Crayons and Coloring Books. Fun-shaped recycled crayons are easy to make at home or purchase online from companies like Crazy Crayons. As for coloring books, if you can’t find recycled paper versions, it is easy and free to print sheets yourself on recycled paper. There are hundreds of free templates online to match any party theme.
  3. Anything the kids can make themselves. If your party involves a craft, that’s all the party favor they need. You can have the kids decorate small planters, create tiny terrariums, or build a jewelry box out of popsicle sticks. The possibilities are endless—and it’s also a cheap and easy way to keep the kids busy instead of renting a bounce house.
  4. Planted Goodies. Potted seedlings are the ultimate green takeaway, and kids love having something they can tend and nurture themselves. One friend gave us a bag of “magic beans” that grew oodles of tasty sugar snap peas!
  5. Short on time? Try Etsy. If you aren’t handy enough for handmade, leave it to the thousands of talented eco-minded crafters on Etsy. Crayons, candies, finger puppets – just do a search for “kids party favors” for some ideas and contact the vendor directly to special order and negotiate. Many of these crafters are green-minded, or will at least try to honor your requests for sustainable materials.

In recent years I have noticed that every kid wants a piñata at their birthday party. You can buy a conventional party piñata filled with gum and blow pops and Laffy Taffy for about $30.

Or you can make your own awesome DIY Piñata.

Paige is the author of Spit That Out! The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy Kids in the Age of Environmental Guilt and the owner of Paige Wolf Media and Public Relations, a B Corporation certified eco-friendly PR firm focused on sustainable clientele. Visit www.spitthatoutthebook.com for her blog on making green living practical, manageable, and affordable.

 

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