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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

 This guest post is by Nicola Baird, mum and expert UK-based writer on childcare, as well as enthusiastic blogger sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children.   This post looks at top party bag ideas.   Welcome Nicola, and thank you for using the word 'wellies' which is so wonderfully British and makes me smile!

For more info about gifts – giving and receiving without damaging the planet – see Nicola’s book HomemadeKids or click on to http://www. .

It’s my youngest daughter Nell's 11th birthday today. 
Her party was a week ago, and as it’s too cold to picnic outside (remember that when you next plan a baby!) we settled on a trampoline lesson for 15 friends at the local sports centre. This cost about £7 (11 USD) per guest – so I wanted to be sure the party bags were cheap. Nell had a better idea: "Don't give them anything!" So we didn't - instead the party guests got to enjoy choosing the sweets they liked from a range of candy plus chocolate eggs and jelly snakes (which aren't such a good choice if you have vegetarian or Muslim party guests because of the gelatin).

There's a moral in this tale: trust your children's judgment. A two year old doesn't need to send friends home with party bags, and an 11 year old may also think there's no need to blast her friends with yet more stuff.

And if you do end up giving out a party bag,  ideally avoid plastic.  
Instead collect paper grocery bags and use them to store party bag goodies. 
Below are some ideas – plants, woody characters, peanut kebabs, wishes and name tags - that may thrill party guests and are good for families interested in keeping celebrations creative, eco-friendly and thrifty.

1 Plants are great. You can plant up hyacinth and daffodil bulbs in old pots, pretty pots or simply special pots  (I’ve used unwanted potties) for indoor or outdoor flowering.  Outgrown wellies are fun to plant up too.  But they need lots of weight at the bottom (try biggish rocks or a half brick) else they tip up. Also if your wellies don’t have drainage holes they will become waterlogged if left outside.  
Suitable for any age, 3 – 101!
 2 Use offcuts from the log basket
Slightly wonky shaped bits of wood sometimes look like something else - maybe a face, maybe a snail. Use a marker pen to make it clear what you're seeing (snails are fabulously easy,
see photo).   Ideal for pre-schoolers, or get your guests to have a go themselves.
3 Going home gift for the birds
For children aged from five upwards it is fun to make items they can take home.  Homemade bath bombs, little felt animals, a crazy twig sculpture might all work well.
 Or how about a nut kebab that local wildlife will enjoy? (check for nut allergies!)
  • Buy a packet of peanuts in their shells (you'll need at least eight peanuts per kebab)
    •  Use a metal skewer to make a central hole
  • Thread the peanut on to a string (hard) or a wooden skewer (easy but watch out so you don’t stab yourself)
  • Tell party guests that this can be hung up by the bird table, tree or anywhere that birds might like to feed (ie, safe from cat attack). Ideally have one hanging up so grown ups/guests understand what to do.
4 Dish out wishes
This is an ideal alternative party bag gift. It's especially good if you've run out of inspiration, or cash, or there are a lot of guests.
Best if the party guests know how to read and are still interested in magical concepts (so suitable for 7-9 years). What to do:
  • Cut out strips of paper you can write on (you could even use silver birch bark)
  • Using your easiest to read lettering write up a different promise for each guest. Make sure you have a few spare - parties always seem to have extra guests.
  • Ideas could include: "When you see a man in a hat make a wish". "When you see a red car make a wish". "When you see a person walking a dog make a wish." Choose wish-activators that will encourage your guests to leave the party, and will probably be usable on the journey home.
  • Once you've got the wishes ready pop them into a screw top jar ready to give out at going home time.
5 Give them a nameplate
Any age.  
Depending on your skills, and resourcefulness, plan the party schedule so you can paint each guest’s name on an object they can take home. I’ve done this on pebbles, drinking glasses, horseshoes and even short planks (to make a nameplate for a child’s bed). Just make sure you spell all the guests’ names correctly!

Thank you Nicola for your wonder full ideas! ♥♥


grace said...

That’s a great tips thanks for sharing its really helpful.You can search party favours on ebay and can get the amount you need instead of having left overs.Find more ideas at here Party Bag Ideas

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