From mylar birthday balloons to plastic birthday banners to theme-driven disposable birthday plates and cups and napkins, children’s birthdays can be shockingly product-driven.
As a green mom, it’s often hard to for me to give my children what I want for them to have without giving in to my baser consumeristic desires. Of course I want their birthdays to be magical, and when all their friends’ birthdays are magical by means of a plethora of plastic crap, then it’s tempting for me to give my girls the same.
But our children’s birthdays are more magical, and more meaningful, when we spend time and love on them, not money. Below, I’ve listed five handmade, eco-friendly, reusable birthday crafts that will bring the magic to your child’s birthday year after year:
1. Birthday crown. Many families choose to make their child’s birthday crown out of wool felt; I don’t often craft with wool, so I use upholstery sample fabric, and any fabric of similar weight will work, as well. An elastic band in the back of the crown enables a child to wear her birthday crown on her birthday every year. In addition, some families let their child pick a new button or bead or other embellishment to add to her crown every year.
2. Birthday bunting. You can make a birthday bunting a stash-busting project by using quilting cotton, or you can use wool felt or recycled plastic felt. You can embroider or applique a birthday message. You can make a giant, whole-house bunting, or a tiny dollhouse bunting, or all of the above, of course.
3. Waldorf birthday ring. If you’re a woodworker, then this is the project for you! A birthday ring is a wooden ring with peg holes around the perimeter. Each hole is filled either with a candle or with a small wooden item representing the child’s last year. If you’re not a woodworker, then etsy and many other sellers of handmade crafts can provide you with the same type of magic.
4. Birthday biography. When my little girls were not yet homeschoolers but still Montessori girls, their teacher encouraged a beautiful birthday tradition. At each child’s school birthday celebration, one parent recited a short biography of their child–trips taken, triumphs, broken bones, new siblings, anything memorable from the child’s perspective from each year of her life. The next year, you simply add to the biography.
5. Birthday shirt. My favorite part of the birthday shirt is that I get to sneak a lousy, stained, boring shirt out of my children’s closet to transform into the embellished birthday shirt that will greet them on their birthday morning. Recycling at its best!