Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rethinking Party Favors

The other day I got a text from my friend that read:

"Unless u can help me come up with a cool party favor, I'm just NOT doin it!!! I'm not givin JUNK!!!"

I immediately called her and said, "Take a stand!! Don't give party favors!" I said that because I really hate party favors. I always find it kind of ridiculous that kids expect a gift for going to a birthday party and giving a gift to their friend. I certainly don't remember party favors when I was a kid. The only time we ever walked away from a party with something (other than bellies full of cake and ice cream) was when we did a craft activity such as decorating shirts with puffy paint.

At our house, we don't usually give out party favors for our kids birthdays and when we don't I am always left feeling like a cheapskate. SO... for my friend... I decided to think about it... BECAUSE some people just feel better giving party favors... and if they're gonna give them... the least that I can do is put some thought into it and help them come up with something besides a bag of plastic junk that will most likely end up in the trash can/landfill/oceans.

So here's what I told her:

  • Pencil Holders: Last year, for my son's 7th Birthday party... I wasn't going to give out party favors. Then I had some Smencils from our fundraiser... so I bought some to support the initiatives of the non-profits that I'm directly involved in. THEN... I looked under my kitchen sink and there were SO many steel cans. I decided that I was going to reuse repurpose the cans and make pencil holders for the kids. Here's how: I ran the cans through my dishwasher to make sure they were free of all gunk, let them dry thoroughly, then I spray painted them. (I did purchase acrylic markers for the kids to decorate their "pencil holders.")
  • "Sponge Balls." These are great in place of water balloons :) My mom and I made them for my daughter's pool party last year. We had a total of 4 friends invited plus a few it wasn't too much work. The kids had a blast playing with the sponge balls in the pool, however, they didn't really hold up well to the older kids throws.
  • Cloth Napkins-- Put the kids names on their own reusable cloth napkin. Use fabric paint to let the kids decorate their napkin with their handprints.
  • A Growable Favor-- Get small peat (or terracotta) pots, fill with dirt, plant a seed (flowers, vegies, etc) and if you want to make it fancy: tie a ribbon around it.
My friend and her 6 year old daughter decided on giving a planted sunflower seed in a peat pot :) I am SO grateful that my friend asked me my advice AND took it... woo hoo!! Now there are 23 kids (and their parents) who have seen a different kind of party favor!!

By the way, my kids are super excited to add the sunflowers to our flower garden!!

Here's some bumble bees enjoying one of our sunflowers from last year :)