Sharing ideas and knowledge on teaching our kids some nearly-forgotten low and no tech lifeskills. Can yours do long division? Make a campfire? Mend a flat tyre on their bike? Grow tomatoes from seed? Replace a button? If it can't be done with the click of a mouse or the flick of a switch, you can find out how to do it here, and how to get your kids involved in some serious Low Tech Fun!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Healthy lolly bags for kids' parties

This is a recycled article I wrote a few years ago and I thought I'd share it here as well:

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!

Edible options:
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

Packaging ideas:
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.

1 comment:

  1. Love these ideas - and you're absolutely right - I've been witness to far too much candy being handed out at parties and the poor parents are the ones that have to deal with the subsequent meltdowns all in the name of a good time!
    Another idea for food at a part a friend of mine does in order to cut back on the amount of "orange food" left in bowls and gorged on by the handful (chips etc.) and this also cuts back on making tons of food that doesn't get eaten - pre-packaged individual "lunch boxes" for each child - there are many craft stores that sell the little chinese take out style boxes for cheap which can be left plain, decorated in party theme or individual names painted/written on them depending on how much time you have in the build up to the party! Then you just make some really yummy sandwiches OR do some chicken wings or drumsticks - a bag of real fruit juice chews - some veggie sticks and/or little babybels or laughing cow cheeses - you mums are better at knowing what to put in them but it cuts back on wastage and you have control over what and how much each child is consuming - the kids also usually like having their very own lunch/dinner box.......just more ramblings! x