Parties are a time to have fun. First, select a party theme. Then ask the birthday child what they would like to play or create at their party. Consider the following with low cost on Mother Earth for toddlers, …The party theme ideas here are meant to be starting points for brainstorming a theme for an event that fits a particular group of toddlers, children, tween and teens.
What games / activities are right for my party?
- You can adapt a traditional party game so that it works with your theme.
- A nice theme for one group might feel sappy to another.
- The trick is to consider the group to be invited, the host or hostesses likes and dislikes, the ages, and whatever limits might exist.
- Limits might be budget, number of guests, place the party is held, and any special needs.
- Visit the Aquarium: Arrange to take party goers to the local aquarium (1.5-2 hours; all ages)
- Clean the Beach: Make arrangements to have a beach cleaning party at a nearby beach.
- Provide party goers with bags and gloves.
- Give prizes to the Eco kids who collect the most garbage.
- You can arrange a scavenger hunt at the same time.
- While children are cleaning, they can look for items (crab print, etc.) listed on a card and check them off when they see them. (1-2 hours; older eco kids)
- S.O.S: Save Our Seas: Compile an action list of things to do to help the oceans.
- Get party goers to work in small groups.
- Each group can choose one of the ideas on the list to illustrate in a poster.
- Provide large recycled poster board, coloured pencils, coloured paper, scissors, and Eco-friendly glue.
- Have Eco kids share their posters and talk about what steps they can take to help ocean life. You might arrange to exhibit the posters at a local Eco business or school. (1 hour; older eco kids)
- Ocean Adventure: Live near the coast?
- Take the children to the ocean and explain about the ocean life and tides.
- Buy some sea shells for the goodies bags.
- Footprint Spotting: Play detectives in the sand and spot footprints with young children at the beach. See if the children can discover different types of shoes, bird prints, dog prints and different-sized footprints.
- When you turn around, see if you can follow you own prints back to where you began.
- If the sea has come in and covered them, explain tides to the children.
- Sometimes, very young children are a little nervous of the sea and the waves.
- Always remember that children should be closely supervised at all times, whenever they are near water.
- Visit an Art Museum: Arrange to take your group of party goers to a local art museum.
- Find out in advance about kid-friendly exhibits to see and interactive art projects. (1-2 hours; all ages)
- Colour Their World: Tie-dye organic cotton T-shirts with natural dyes.
- Make a Mood Mural: A mood mural is a large piece of art showing different kinds of feelings or moods.
- Ask party goers to help you make a list of different moods (silly, happy, angry, excited, etc.), then have them work individually or in pairs, each selecting a mood to draw together on large mural paper.
- Provide Eco friendly markers, paints and brushes, or collage materials like construction paper, old magazines, and stickers etc.
- Take digital photos of the finished mural for each child to take home. (1 hour; all ages)
- Finger Paintin’ Fun: Use Eco friendly paints and recycled paper to let the children create their own masterpieces. The children can take these home as favours or you could hang them up in your child’s room.
- DIY Hand Paints
- 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup organic flour 1/2 cup Eco liquid detergent
- Mix together these ingredients then add organic food colouring or powder paint.
- The Perfect Birthday: Ask party goers each to select a medium (painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, photography, etc.) and provide them with the appropriate materials.
- Then challenge the children each to create a piece of art called The Perfect Birthday.
- Encourage experimentation, free-thinking, and wide interpretation of the theme. When everyone is done, put on an art exhibit of the finished works. (1 hour; older Eco children)
- Mini Van-Gogh’s: Take children to the local art museum or art garden.
- After the visit, have the children make their own art sculptures from recyclable objects.
Song, singer, band, or musical instrument
- For tween and teens: A vintage or popular song (Rock Around the Clock, We are the World, Today Was a Fairy-tale)
- Listen to the Music: Arrange to take party goers to a musical performance appropriate for the age, or have performers come to your home to play. You might organize a musical scavenger hunt for the performance. Give Eco kids a card with things to listen for (such as a a soprano voice, a string plucking, a bell ringing, high hat, etc.) and have them check off the items as they hear them. (1-2 hours; all ages)
- Move to the Music: Different kinds of music make us feel like moving in different ways. Play a range of music (fast and slow, soft and loud, dramatic and playful, sad and happy, etc.) and ask children to use their bodies to match the mood of the music. Encourage experimentation and innovation. (0.5 hour; younger kids)
- Musical Masters: Teach Eco kids how to play the cowbell, triangle, among other more simple instruments. Play along to some of the children’s favourite songs.
- Eco Kids Got Talent Quest: Have children create a talent—whether it’s singing, dancing, yodelling, etc.
- Have them make their own awards out of recyclable materials.
- Out in the Field: Take a tour of an organic farm, a dairy farm or an orchard.(all ages)
- Plant a Tree:
- At a nursery, purchase a tree native to your area that will provide habitat for a range of animals. Ask for planting instructions. Plant the tree in your yard or arrange with the park district to plant the tree in a local park. Have party goers help dig the hole and place and water the tree.Children can also plant tree seeds at home or as part of a large-scale tree-planting effort during the party.
- How Their Garden Grows: Provide seeds, pots and soil, and have Eco kids plant their own flowers, herbs or veggies. For treats, make fruit flowers and healthy “dirt pots” (deep bowls or pots filled with layers of yogurt, fruit and cookie crumbs)
- Take a Hike: Take your group for a hike in the woods at a forest preserve or park. Find out in advance about trails and choose one appropriate for children. Provide children with a park service list of flora and fauna to look for and have them check off species as they go. Explain that good hikers walk quietly, never disturb wildlife, and leave nothing behind. (1 hour; all ages)
- Make Like a Tree: Together create aforest ecosystem skit. Each child can play a different member of the forest (tree, bird,fern,and so on). Have children act out what happens when a tree is cut down, when there is a fire or drought, and when new trees are planted. (0.5 hour; younger kids)
- Follow the Track: Provide party goers with animal trackimages as models for making tracks out of construction paper and also pens and scissors. Each child should then use his or her paper tracks to make an animal trail and leave written clues about the type of animal that made the tracks. Children can take turns following each other’s trails and trying to identify each type of animal. (1 hour; older eco kids)
- Trail Party: Organize a trail upkeep party with your local park service or park district. Alternatively, host an ivy pull. Provide party goers with tools and together work on a section of forest. Make sure party goers understand what effects their work will have. When they’re done have a picnic in one of the park’s picnic areas. (1-2 hours; older eco kids)
- Eco-Adventure: Create a rain forest scene, have everyone dress up as their favourite African animal (you can even make masks at the party) and watch Tarzan. Adopt an animal from the National Zoo (about $50) and look through the adoption photos and materials with the children. Children are fascinated by animals and even the youngest child will enjoy a trip to the zoo.
- Backyard Eco-camping / Star-Gazing Start the party at dusk. Set up tents in the backyard, tell spooky stories, gaze at the stars and identify constellations. For treats, have children make their own organic trail mix. Older children can have a sleepover in the tents.
Bird Brain Party
- Go Bird Watching: Contact a local birding organization to arrange for a guided bird watching outing. Ask for a checklist of the birds you are likely to see and give each party goer a copy. Have children check off the birds they see. (1-2 hours; older Eco kids)
- Be a Bird Sleuth: Take a walk in your neighbourhood or local park. Tell the children to be bird sleuths and use their bird brains to look for evidence of bird life (sightings, calls, sounds of movement, nests, etc.). Have them walk quietly in small groups and take notes to share later. (0.5 hour; all ages)
- Bird Sanctuary: Have party goers help you build a bird sanctuary in your yard on a balcony or porch, or at school. Provide a large pot drainage saucer and a large pot. Put the saucer on top of the overturned pot and you have a birdbath for Eco kids to paint and decorate with mosaic tiles. Some party goers can make suet out of fat and black oil sunflower seeds and fill up plastic cups with the mixture when it is still warm. The cups can be hung from tree branches. Or gather pine-cones and roll in peanut butter and coat with millet and tie from branches. Others can make a ground feeder for black oil sunflower seeds out of a pre-cut wood frame and screen netting from a local hardware store.
- Eco Kids in the Kitchen: teach children how to prepare a healthy dish that they can eat at the party or take with them as party favour’s.(all ages)
- Japanese Tea Party: Hold a Japanese tea ceremony and teach children how to roll fruit and veggie sushi.
- Spa Divas: Girls can get makeovers with natural organic makeup, then top off their looks with manicures and pedicures using non-toxic nail polish. (older Eco-girls)
- “Come As You Are” Party: Surprise your guests with an early-morning pickup while they are still in their PJ’s (only parents will know the start time). Serve a healthy breakfast, putting Eco-friendly candles in healthy muffins instead of the birthday cake.
- Bookworms: Have each child bring a new or gently used book for a book exchange. Then have everyone sit in a circle and contribute to making up a story. Write their tale down on recycled paper, and let the children decorate with green / eco paints, beeswax crayons and markers.
Support the Community: Call the local fire or police station and ask for a tour. Perhaps in lieu of gifts, the families could donate money to the station.
Birthday Olympics: Set up a series of fun activities including relay races, jump rope and kickball. For treats, hand out organic cookie “medals” or organic fruit bars for Eco Kids.
- Around the World: Make the party internationally themed. Each child could represent a different country.
- Calling all Super Kids: Let each child create their own Eco Super Hero. Let them make pieces of their costumes with old clothes.
- The Big Dipper: Heat up a range of bee waxes and have Eco kids dip their own candles. (older Eco kids)
- Eco Fashionistas: Take old clothing apart and create new ones; works especially well with T-shirts.
- The Mystery Escapade: Stage a scavenger hunt at a local park.
- Shining Star: Let Eco kids dress up as their favorite Eco conscience celeb. Perhaps have children write emails (cut down on paper) to their celebrity and attach their dress-up photos. (older Eco kids)
- Bowling for Dollars: Take Eco kids bowling, set up teams and the winning teams get money to donate to a favourite local kids charity or children’s hospital. (older Eco kids)
- Who-Dun-it: Set up a mystery party (Clue-like)…only the theme is to find the person who didn’t recycle or who wasn’t eating healthy. Provide hints and costumes for the characters. (older Eco kids)
- Eco-crafting: Show children how to make Eco-crafts out of things lying around the house. As part of the invitation ask them to bring some things that you need for the crafts. They’ll be surprised to see what you make of them!
- Muscular Dystrophy Carnival: Have a carnival for the neighbourhood and raise money for muscular dystrophy. Get your friends involved in the planning and celebrate your birthday with a fun carnival that helps others! For more details, visit
- Scrap booking: Share memories and make new ones. Create scrapbooks from supermarket brown bags. Hole punch the bags and tie with ribbon. In the invitation ask children to bring some of their favourite photos. As a favour, give each child a camera to take photos throughout the party for their scrapbook.
- Mexican Fiesta: Have children make their own burritos with healthy beans, salsa, brown rice / millet/ quinoa / buckwheat, guacamole and organic cheese. In advance, make a pull string piñata with the birthday boy or girl; it’s a great way to reuse old newspaper. Fill the piñata with healthy snacks or small gifts – recycled pencils or rubbers.
- Picnic Power: Take children on a picnic. Have them make their own organic sandwiches and help pack the picnic basket. Take a few blankets and spread them out in your backyard or at a park. Talk about nature, go on a scavenger hunt and collect items from nature. Tell stories and sing songs.
If none of these ideas spring out at you, brainstorm with your child. Their ideas may surprise you.
- Next, you need to consider your party space and whether you’ll need to play indoors.
- We recommend that you select games and activities that can be played indoors and outdoors or have a few easy games planned in case there is a weather change.
- For the younger children, party games are not required, just take some time in preparing the party playroom / outdoors area.
- A cubby made from sheets draped over table / chairs, a few different stations set up – tea set on a table, dolls corner, kitchen, dress-ups, gum nuts, pine cones, shells, play cloths, river stones in a washing bowl with a wooden nail brush and cloth, beaters, watering cans if outside, found items from the garden etc. for creative play and a cooking activity is lots of fun and great as the birthday favor.
- For a simple fun party – get a collection of used cardboard boxes and let the children create and have fun.
- Spaceship to the Moon: Children love to play with cardboard boxes-whether they are making cub-by house in them, or flying imaginary spaceships to the moon.
- Have an astronaut themed party: explain walking on the moon, have pictures, then make their own spaceships.
- A cardboard box each.
- How many rockets does it have?
- Does it have windows?
- Older children will come up with all sorts of interesting ideas.
- Using a pencil, help young children draw features onto the boxes.
- Then let them loose with several different-coloured Eco paints to create their dream machine.
- Have rock cakes (moon cakes) for the birthday treat.
- A digger party is fun and easy for younger children – put a tarp and add sand and items to create – request children where digging clothes. Serve food in metal diggers.
- Bubbles 3+
- What you need: biodegradable detergent, water, a little glycerine or coconut oil, bubble-makers such as straws, funnels, wire, pipe-cleaners.
- What to do: Let the children help you make up the bubble mixture.
- Now give them a variety of materials, to make great bubbles.
- Have the camera handy to record some of the beautiful bubbles they will make.
Tips for Children’s Birthday Party Games
Select appropriate games, some games will be a hit and others will be a “dud”.
- When appropriate, ask your child to participate in the party game planning.
- If they think it’s a fun game.. their friends probably will too.
- Consider your party space and the age group of the children.
If you sense that a party game is not going well let it go and move on to the next activity.
- Or, make a quick adaptation to an existing game.
- If your party games are dependant on the weather..
- be prepared to take the party indoors if necessary.
Be Prepared Have all games set up and ready to go before the party.
- Make sure you understand how the games are played.
Everyone is a Winner Parties are a time to have fun.
- We always suggest that all participants receive a prize or none at all.
- Especially when entertaining very young children who don’t have a grasp on good sportsmanship. Consider playing most, if not all games without prizes but everyone gets a prize or stamp.
- Then when all of the games are complete, everyone is a winner.
- Some popular party activities for the young – washing clothes, small wooden pegs and a rope washing line -sing “Wet, wet washing hanging on the line, When the weather’s fine.
- Along comes the wind and blows it all around. Flip-flap, flip-flap,
- When the weather’s fine.”
- Cooking – gingerbread men or star shapes etc are great for birthday favours, remember to have a bucket to wash the hands. Read or tell the story of the Gingerbread Man.
- Organic apple bobbing
- Paper-bag kites– a great activity if you plan your party at a park – help the children decorate their paper bags, make sure their bright and colourful, attach some paper strips with a stapler or some sticky tape to the closed ends of the paper bags.
- These are the tails of the kite.
- On one side of the open ends of the bag place some masking tape for reinforcement, and then punch a hole in the masking tape.
- Thread some string or wool through the hole to complete each kite.
- Sand pits: are great for machine parties / for cooking – add pots and pans, spoons etc.
- Treasure hunt / Blind man’s buff /
- Garden obstacle course (get the party child to help set up the course using eg: crawl under some garden chairs, jump ten times on the re-bounder, jump through three or four tyres or hoops, jump over the broom, walk along the rope, crawl up a plank balanced on a very strong box, run around a tree, hop through the rungs of a ladder laid flat on the ground, walk sideways back to the start) these games are as endless as your imagination) 3+
- For Teens:
- Most teenagers feel they have outgrown themed parties, however a clever theme can bring together friends for a fun time without seeming too structured or cliché.
- However, teen party themes don’t have to involve childish colour schemes, cartoon characters, or corny games. It’s easy to get obsessed with making every little detail fit the theme of a party.
- In Party Like a Rock Star author Jes Gordon prefers the word ‘concept’ to the word ‘theme,’ writing, “I like the freedom of the word because it’s not set in stone, whereas the term theme feels like a party prison to me.” A party theme is only a guideline.
- Hold a recycling party:
- Invite ReplayGround to come to your next event! If you’re in the New York City area, they will come to your birthday party or event. Providing all of the supplies and hands-on instructions to create your own recycled masterpieces.
- Help you and everyone at your party create their very own Soda Bottle Candy Dish, CD Sun-catcher, Cereal Box Wallet, Glass Bottle Vase, and much more.
- The possibilities of working with scrap materials are endless! You get Eco-entertainment at your party, plus everyone does a good recycling deed. What better way to celebrate that special day?
- Hold a recycled fashion parade.
- An evening of visiting homes for a fun or fancy progressive dinner can be great fun.
- Each family on the “route” sets up one course of the meal, with the end of the travel coming to a home with dessert and planned events or just some places to hang out.
- This works best with a smaller group.
- Host a potluck meal: dance and white-elephant gift exchange. White-elephants are re purposed presents that can be funny, useful, or completely ridiculous.
- Eco dance: Go thrift shopping / or look in your mom’s /aunt’s closet for some stunning evening wear and accessories and host a formal dance held in the backyard or in the basement.
- A book or book series: (Twilight, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter) could exchange gently used books as gifts or collect books and deliver to elderly or sick children.
- A movie theme may have a generic Hollywood theme or may focus on a teen’s favorite actor or actress, a recent blockbuster, or just a fun movie. A movie marathon night with scads of organic popcorn, cookies and Eco-friendly treats can be fun and informal. Movies can run in the background or be played in a party room or home media theatre.
- A period in time: (medieval times, the roaring twenties, 1960s).
- Beach or Pool Parties can be a real hit with an organic BBQ or picnic lunch.
- Pamper parties with DIY products can be popular with a small group of close friends.
- Sport theme (soccer, swimming, the Olympics etc).
- Teen Yoga
- Plan a yoga birthday party at the studio or in your home. Party includes one hour of yoga and a half hour of cake. Yoga instruction includes partner yoga, balance poses, hip openers and sav asana. Or have Mary Kaye drop in at your birthday sleepover party for a yoga wind down.
- Go ahead and giggle. That’s the message outrageous yogi Mary Kaye Chryssicas tells teenagers as they twist and bend into poses and positions with names that sound like pig Latin and are awkward and embarrassing to do with a straight face. Yoga is serious stuff, but there’s a huge benefit when you can make yoga more fun and approachable. Mary Kaye sees humour as the best way to get teens hooked. Chryssicas’ book, Breathe: Yoga for Teens is packed with sage advice for kids struggling with poor body image, low self-esteem, issues of popularity, feelings of unworthiness and more plus an element of humour thrown in from Mary Kaye’s hilarious diary entries.
- Fundraiser: throw a party to raise money for many causes, whether it is for a school club, team, church, or local charity. The fundraiser can be many different activities, but in the end, both the guests and the recipients of the funds benefit from the party.
- Service projects are fun and thoughtful: Consider hosting a service-related gathering where teens help a senior with home repairs, pack items for ill children in hospital or animal shelters (from donated items).
- Afterward, celebrating with some homemade organic snacks and enjoyable activities will top off the event.
- A destination party in a specific location naturally creates its own theme, whether it is an overnight zoo experience, a movie or destination of choice.
- Whatever teens choose, it will always be extra special when good friends are able to get together.
- Teen party themes / concepts are generally more subtle and less structured than children’s parties, but that doesn’t mean that themes are out of the question.
- By choosing a focus that teens will enjoy and keeping it low-key, it is possible to create a memorable teen party with a coordinated theme with a touch of green!