We’ve all been there. The kids go to a birthday party, load up on sugar, additives and deep-fried junk food and then as a special treat, are given even more sugar and additive-laden lollies and treats to take home.
More and more parents are becoming aware of the health and behavioural impact of allowing our children to eat these kinds of foods, and are taking action to limit their intake of such items. Families are now much more familiar with dietary requirements such as gluten, dairy additive and egg intolerance, and are having to change the family diet accordingly.
In addition to the sugary treats, most lolly bags also have some sort of miniature toy, gadget or novelty item included. These often consist of cheap plastic items that fall apart the first time they are used, or ones which are choking hazards or made with toxic materials.
So how do we, when hosting a children’s party, provide the expected lolly bag with healthy alternatives which will still be attractive to kids? There are lots of options, which are not only healthy and environmentally friendly, but are also delicious and lots of fun!
- Natural and organic lollipops, lolliess and jellies from companies such as Yummy Earth (just search online for local distributors)
- Homemade mini-muffins or mini-cupcakes, made from healthy ingredients. These can even be decorated to match the theme of the party.
- Homemade muesli bars – these could be wrapped in gorgeous paper or fabric with ribbons to dress them up.
- Dried fruits, also packaged in themed or decorative wrappings (think mini-tulle bags, decorated mini-boxes etc.)
- Homemade cookies or gingerbread men (or women) – there are thousands of recipes online to make your own healthy cookies.
Toy / Gift options:
- Fairy wand / tiara
- Tiny terracotta plant pots with some herb or flower seeds. If you’re particularly creative you could even hand paint each one, perhaps with the birthday child’s name as a keepsake.
- Glow sticks
- Handmade bead jewellery
- Handmade hair clips (bows, sparkles – use your imagination!)
- Finger puppets (knitted or made from felt)
- Juggling balls
- Mini art kits with pencil, tiny sketch pad and crayons
- Homemade play-dough
- Mini-photo frames (you could take instant photos of each child at the party and present them with a picture to put in their frame)
- Handmade paper windmills (my 13 year old still has fun with these!)
- Pencil toppers
- Diecast cars and trucks
- Colourful bandanas or headbands
- Coloured cardboard noodle boxes, or save money by buying plain white ones and decorating them yourself with stickers, ribbons etc.
- Mini tulle or fabric drawstring bags (like those used for wedding bonbonnieres)
- Coloured or decorated paper bags
- Paper cups, perhaps ones decorated with the theme of the party, then wrapped in coloured cellophane
Just a little bit of imagination and creativity on your part is all that is needed to make sure that your party guests leave with something extra special, which is both healthy and fun! Some of the ideas, such as the plant pots or photo frames could even be used as a group crafts project during the party – the kids decorate their own and then take them home.
For more fantastic ideas on frugal and eco-friendly birthday parties, visit Eat at Dixiebelle’s fabulous blog.