Wow, thanks everyone for the feedback (PS Bloggers – is there a way for readers without their own blogs to leave comments? I’ve been inundated with emails from friends). I’m feeling so much more positive about the whole experience and I’ve been brainstorming the plan below, incorporating some of the wonderful and innovative suggestions you’ve made:
Ways to make an awesome kiddies party that’s also eco-friendly:
¶ SMS invites (to save on paper ones that have to be printed, posted, and then recycled)
¶ Electronic thank you notes (including a photo taken of the person with the birthday boy!)
¶ Outdoor venue to let the kids connect with nature (sign: “Thousand Acre Wood?”).
¶ Take our own hard plastic cups, and only use disposables for the few extra if we need.
¶ Finger food to eliminate need for plates entirely – thanks Suzie! (see Menu, below)
¶ I’m going to go with paper napkins as at least they are somewhat degradable, and if I can find Pooh ones they will carry the theme.
¶ Sarongs we have anyway to sit on and brighten up the place. (Think my mom has some folding tables in the back of her garage too).
¶ Bring Ari’s stuffed toys (including the whole Pooh clan, naturally) to up the fun factor.
¶ I love balloons, but the rubber is terrible for the environment. So I can limit (or even eliminate) the balloons and print my own banner with pics of Pooh and a message (“Happy Birthday Ari”?) which can be saved for next year or recycled.
¶ Pooh Bear cake to carry the theme (Grandma in charge of this one)
¶ Brown paper “goodie bags” with Pooh stickers, filled with dried fruit (healthy but yummy) for the kids, and some bread to feed the ducks at the pond. Also a great way to use up bread that’s gone dry – I’ve already put two hunks past their prime in the freezer for this purpose!
¶ Vegetarian, of course – the greenest way to go.
¶ Platters of snacky things (mini wraps, sarmies, veggie-dogs etc) that both adults and kids can enjoy. As I’m a bit pressured at work right now I’ll outsource these to a local catering co. I can even take my own tray to avoid another plastic platter to recycle.
¶ Pooh yoghurt tubs (which we have in the recycling bin already) filled with popcorn.
¶ Fresh finger nibbles to up the health factor: cherry tomatoes, cucumber hearts and carrot stars (cut with small cookie cutters – the off-cuts I can nibble myself or save for soup); strawberries and naartjie wedges (is my kid a freak because he really thinks all these are treats?)
¶ Cookies (if I have time to make them myself, I’d really like to. Maybe I can even find a Pooh cookie-cutter or else the numeral 2. Can also be made the weekend before, or even earlier and frozen. But if I don’t manage I’m sure he won’t mind if I buy some!)
¶ Loved Durban Diva’s idea of pin-the-tail-on-the-Eeyore, which doubles as décor, but since Ari is just two and his guests mostly younger, I don’t think we need other games.
¶ Feeding the ducks is great fun and lets the kids interact with the animals, hence the stale bread “goodie bags”!
It’s starting to sound like a really fun day, and not too much hassle either if I start working on it slowly from now (e.g. one goal a week – first SMS invites, then banner, then cookies, then goodie bags, etc).