Urgh, party bags.
Not unlike a certain type of ‘surprise egg’, they provide our children with momentary pleasure in the form of toys and cake, then the plastic parts they leave behind clutter cupboards, annoy parents and spend up to 1000 years hanging around, wreaking havoc on the planet.
How do you feel about them? Generally, I think it’s agreed that kids love them (regardless of what’s inside, I might add) while parents view them as a necessary evil. It’s unthinkable to consider going without them for fear of being labelled the worst mum in the world. But so much about them is an annoyance, from the time it takes to source and buy the items, to the impact on the environment, as yet more plastic finds its way to landfill. That’s if you are indeed allowed to throw it away, and don’t instead end up with piles of tat taking up residence in remote corners of the house.
Luckily, there are now a whole host of eco-friendly options available (thanks mainly to David Attenborough and his one-man war on plastic). I’ve brought together some of the best in terms of plastic-free, sustainable products and kits that will get kids creating and learning new skills.
Craft and Crumb: Best for little bakers
Craft and Crumb produce baking kit party favours that are beautifully presented in a personalised cardboard box. Children can have fun making everything from fairy tale cupcakes to star biscuit bauble decorating kits and all recipes contain organic ingredients with ‘no hidden nasties’. Kit prices range from £2.95 to £4.25.
Cotton Twist: Best for little crafters
Cotton Twist is a company that combines a plastic-free ethos with the encouragement of imaginative play. Their craft kits, which let children create their own toys from materials such as lolly sticks, felt and twine, are the ideal party bag filler. With around 60 different kits to choose from, kids can make anything from a pirate catapult to an Emmeline Pankhurst peg doll! Kit prices start from £2.45, and you can also purchase paper party bags on their site (£2.95 for a pack of ten).
Little Otter: Best for nature lovers
Little Otter produce paper party bags filled with nature inspired stationery, seeds and wooden toys. You can choose from themes such as birds, bugs, sea creatures and farm life, and what better way to teach your children about protecting our planet than with a plastic free party bag filled with wildlife themed gifts! You can also purchase their natural cotton handprinted party bags for £1.99 to fill yourself.
The Paper Party Bag Shop: Best for all-round sustainability
Claiming the title of ‘party bags with a conscience’, The Paper Party Bag Shop produces a range of gender-neutral party bag fillers that are all eco-friendly, handmade and plastic-free. Choose from the brilliantly inventive ‘Sprout Plantable Pencil’, origami animals, dinosaur shadow puppets and much more. Their paper party bags are 55p each and come with a fun, free stencil on the label. What’s more, all the packaging is compostable and zero plastic is used in the company’s supply chain. Pretty impressive stuff!
Eco Party Bags: Best for dinosaur lovers
These paper party bags contain stationery, seed packs and wooden bracelets or keyrings. The products are all plastic-free and come in super colourful, eye-catching designs that are bound to delight your little guests. As with many of the above bags, you can choose from a variety of themes or have the option to fill the bags yourself.
Ways to Say Thank You: Best for green fingered kids
Planting British wildflower seeds is a great way of encouraging bees, butterflies and other wildlife into our gardens. Ways to Say Thank You produce personalised paper party bags filled with seeds, stationery and a biodegradable plant pot and tag. You can choose from a variety of locally sourced seed types, and the notepads and bags are made from recycled paper. This is also a pretty affordable option at £2 per bag.
Make and Wonder: Best for curious minds
Make and Wonder create craft kits with a difference: the end design is up to the child. Each bag contains an ‘idea card’ (rather than instructions) and a set of high quality, plastic-free materials. The idea is for children to lead their own play, giving them the confidence to explore and create freely, asking their own questions along the way. Each kit comes in a name-stamped cotton bag and costs £5.50, or you can purchase the kits on their own for £3.00 to put in your own paper bags.
OR JUST DO IT YOURSELF…
Depending on your skill level and the amount of effort you are willing to put in, making your own party bags is relatively easy. It could be nice for your children to decorate paper bags with their own designs or personalised messages for their friends and choose their own eco-friendly gifts to fill them. Books are a good shout (you can often pick them up for £1 each from The Book People), or you could include some edible treats, such as homemade brownies or cookies.
There are options to suit all tastes and budgets. With lots of these companies also stocking eco-friendly tableware, decorations, gift wrap and more, the great news is you can still spoil your child with a fantastic party without having to feel guilty about waste or unethical choices. And the last thing anyone needs is more ‘mum guilt’…
One-of-a-kind puzzles for one-of-a-kind kids
Personalise your jigsaw here. Just type your name into the box and see how your puzzle would look.
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