How to throw a plastic-free kids’ party

How to throw a plastic-free kids’ party

I don’t know about you, but it’s that time of year again birthday party season. But sadly, I don’t mean for myself anymore. I don’t know if it’s the same for the other parents out there but all the kids at our daughter’s day care seem to be born between September and January.

Firstly, good on you for doing a Google search and reading this article. That means you care about your impact and are consciously making efforts to reduce your plastic waste. And let me tell you, this is a hard one with kids! Especially at party season. I mean we can’t deny them of party bags and pinatas, can we?! So how do we plan for a plastic-free birthday party? I want to help unburden you with another stress, to help out with a few tips from one parent to another.


  • Beg and borrow reusables over single use plastics.
  • 'Marrickville – Pay It Forward' has a free sharing party pack full of reusable plates, bowls, cutlery, glasses, a drink dispenser, popcorn maker, table decorations, and bunting.
  • Check out your local Facebook groups, search ‘eco mummas’ or 'buy nothing project' to see if someone is doing this near you. Or ask around the rest of the mums you know, you could probably pull together these things from a few people, or you could even start something like this yourself. If you have a group of 20ish kids, if each parent put in a $5-$10, you could set up a party set that everyone can use for each party!


Most kids will bring their own water bottles, then if you can have a jug or dispenser, add some fun colour and berries or fruit to impress the little ones and make it look on theme if you have one.


  • Food try cut up snacks like fruit and carrot sticks to try and limit single use.
  • Pizza is a good one if you’re doing takeaway; they are actually the most sustainable takeaway containers (to my husband’s joy).
  • Try make the cake, trust me, everyone will be impressed. Add a bit of food colouring in theme or your little one’s fave colour. Bring out the Women’s Day recipes and get crafty. Being able to add in a bit of banana or carrot isn’t a bad thing here too, I’m always happy to reduce amounts of sugar.


  • Bunting and a sheet with a fun pattern for a tablecloth. If you’re a whiz with the sewing machine, make what you can!
  • Check places like creative reuse centre Reverse Garbage in Marrickville.


I made ‘pin the tail on the unicorn’ with material scraps and ribbons from my sewing kit (which I hope will get many uses over the years). Remember, the kids don’t actually need much to be entertained/impressed. Going to a playground is an easy one and lets them run off that sugar.

Party bags

This one is a bit of a tricky one, but please don’t feel the pressure to fill it with plastic crap that basically breaks as soon as it’s used. I’m sure we all have a collection of these that no one really wants (and the kids don’t want to throw anything away, lol).

Try get natural Kraft paper bags. We used this as an activity for our little one to paint a rainbow on each bag to match the theme. It’s so nice getting them involved where you can.

Get crafty if you can (I know, I know, time might not be on your side here). Here are some ideas we had:

  • Mini blackboards (if you have access to building materials) grab a big box of chalk from Kmart/Target in a cardboard box and give a couple per child
  • Magic wands (I made these from stuff around the house, fimo balls, on top of wooden skewers with some miscellaneous ribbon I’ve collected)
  • Masks can be made with felt
  • Seeds to plant
  • Box of crayons or pencils and split them out between the bags
  • Paint some pasta tubes and add some sting/ribbon so the kids can make their own necklaces
  • Try unwrapped lollies from pick-n-mix, you can create your own wrapper or leave them naked. Raid the lolly jar (we actually did that this year) or try making something, you could sneak in a healthier treat


If you’re attending, try avoiding the usual plastic. If you’re on a budget, I have managed to find a couple things in Kmart that aren’t packaged in plastic and they had an eco-colouring book. Also, a book is always a good option. If you want to spend a bit more, there are a couple really fun kids eco gifts online like those from Poppy and Daisy Designs.

Recently, a couple of mums in my little one’s group asked for just $5 in a card so that their child could then choose one big present themselves from everyone. I loved this idea for a few reasons:

  • I don’t know about your situation but our parties are the whole day care class. So there’s something like 20 parties that we go to and for some reason they are all across the same four months. So that is a lot of presents to buy for some people, especially in the current climate
  • I feel like the amount of gifts our little ones get (remember it’s x 20 or more for us) is extreme spoiling and not teaching them the right things
  • For me, I have the dread of what plastic toys we were going to receive, this is something you can specify, and the families that know me and my values have always gone out of the way to buy something that is eco 💚

I know, kids’ parties aren’t an easy one to do eco-consciously, and a lot of the plastic-free options can be more time consuming that just purchasing the easy single use plastic alternative, but I know you care and that’s why you’re reading this! We can only do our best, and if you swap out as many of the suggestions above then it’s still better than nothing. Every little change we make, makes a big impact together.

You got this mumma. x

Links: Marrickville – Pay It Forward, Buy Nothing Project, Reverse Garbage

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