5 eco-friendly birthday party return gifts

You’ll never buy the cheap plastic stuff ever again.I am always stumped by the utter lack of fun things that will also be durable when it comes to kids birthday party favours. If your child attends two birthdays a month on average, you can be sure your house is full of unusable pencils and erasers that don’t erase (but smell very nice!)About three years ago, on my daughter’s fifth birthday, I gave up the idea of giving kids stationery or little toys that don’t last for more than a month, or aren’t interesting beyond that time. I decided to go with saplings. I thought five was a good age to get kids to respect plant life and enhance their inherent nurturing nature, by teaching them to look after plants. My own kids are very attached to the plants of the seeds they’ve planted. I assumed a lot of other kids felt the same. I was right. Three years later, parents still mention that the plant I have as return presents are still thriving in their balconies or gardens.Here are my top five picks for eco-friendly return presents that are cheap, fun and teach a kid a whole lot of things.1.Flower saplings/indoor plant saplings/ herbs: These work great because they already come in pots (which the kids can paint and decorate just as they like). Make sure these plants thrive indoors or in balconies and don’t grow too big. Many of us don’t have gardens to plant them in. Any nursery should be able to tell you what kind of plant to buy if you ask them for indoor plants that flower or don’t. I got delicate looking but hardy plumbago saplings with beautiful lavender flowers (see pic). Herb saplings are great because kids love finding leaves they’ve nurtured in their food. Trust me on this one.d2.Seed packets: What better way to teach your child where a plant comes from than planting a seed and having her watch it every day to see if it’s broken through the ground? It teaches endurance, patience and strength. It’s also a real fun science project. She’s going to have such a surprise when it grows into a plant and flowers.3.Capes and Bandanas: You find loads of eco-friendly fabrics online these days. Buy a couple of metres -- that should do for about 8 kids. Take it to the local tailor and ask them to stitch it in bandana shapes. Go one step further and monogram the receiver’s initials into it. I did it with capes and they’re still a hit with the kids (see pic). These things go perfectly if you’re planning a theme party of pirates or princesses or something.xfh xgd4. Drawstring bags: Kids love little bags and pouches and boxes to put their junk away. Make it a little one, or make it a big one that they can use for sleepovers or a little shopping when they come with you. Reuseable, eco-friendly and all their own. You could paint or embroider a monogram on it too!5.Bird seed bags: Take a nice translucent gift bag, fill it with grains and tie a pretty ribbon around it. You’re done. It really is that simple. Add a note with it saying how and when to feed birds, and who knows, the kids might actually make a habit of it when they run out of the bag you’ve given them!