A birthday bash outside shows kids that a low-waste party can be super festive. Take a peek at how eco-expert Danny Seo helped Eric Ryan, the cofounder of Method natural products, celebrate his daughter's day in a magical forest near San Francisco. With Mother Nature as the party planner, there's no need for streamers and balloons to make it fun -- all you need is your backyard and a little imagination.
Anya's invites were handwritten on plantable wildflower paper. Instructions on the back told guests to lay paper in a pot of soil or a small garden patch that gets plenty of sunshine, cover with a thin layer of dirt, then water well.
Party guests ran around with recyclable wands made from fringed, rolled-up newspaper.
The birthday girl was greeted at her party with a darling welcome sign -- Seo spelled out Anya with sticks, flowers, vines, and greenery, using thin garden wire to secure the various elements.
The kids ate under a sweet and simple tent made from curtain panels (strips of fabric work well too). We suspended it from a branch, making the perfect dining room for Anya's outdoor party.
We filled old jam jars with juice and kept them cold in an ice-filled pail until ready to serve.
Whoopie pies are making a comeback, popping up at hip bakeries around the country. With no paper wrapper and no need for plates, they were the ideal sweet for a green party. Top a platter of pies with all-natural beeswax candles.
A meal wrapped in a bandanna-turned-napkin created a paper-less lunch.
Ryan leads partygoers Jacob, Noah, and Mia through the trees, following a red string to discover small notes and a treasure box. It's a new take on the standard scavenger hunt!
Each party child went home with a small sapling bundled in burlap.
Encourage guests to save on wrapping paper by using reusable wooden boxes or sheets of newspaper. For the eco-conscious birthday child, set up a donation registry at echoage.com, where she can select from a list of youth-focused nonprofit causes that friends can give to in lieu of buying gifts.
Originally published in the July issue of Parents magazine.