Some time ago, I had written an article on ‘Planning Birthday Parties’, and I tried to list a number of different ideas for unusual kinds of parties. Here’s one more I came across recently that sounds very interesting, beneficial and unique.
Smita Karbanda runs EcoKids, an organisation that is dedicated to spreading environmental awareness amongst young children and teaching them to go and grow green. I knew that she runs gardening classes for children (we took her inputs for our article on Children and Gardening), but recently, when browsing the EcoKids FB page, I discovered that she has also begun organising ‘green’ birthday parties for kids.
What a wonderful idea this is – celebrating your “child’s birthday with a hint of green, a dash of sunlight and a sparkle of hope!” For one of the critical lessons that we need to impart to our children today (among the plethora of others!), is ecological awareness. Environmentally-inclined children are responsible citizens who understand the value of their surroundings and are more likely to be sensitive even as adults. If you teach your child early on about the importance of caring about issues bigger than her, you are preparing her to be a thoughtful and concerned member of her community as an adult. She will develop the qualities of patience, understanding and perseverance. And finally, environmentally-inclined children learn how to appreciate diversity, and find beauty and uniqueness in everything around them.
Anyway, to get back to the ‘eco-parties’ that Karbanda organises – her concept is that we must consciously make an effort to introduce our kids to small changes which are beneficial to our environment. And of course, if there’s fun involved, chances are that kids will actually listen!
Some of the activities that such an eco-party offers are eco-friendly games like watering can races, nature treasure hunts in gardens, taking a tree census around the area, and making scarecrows from recycled materials. Older kids have cooking sessions using fresh vegetables, and plan and prepare ‘masterchef salads’.
What really struck me when I was looking at photographs of one such party was that children were served their snacks in leaf plates! And apparently, only e-invites are sent out as well, so right from the word ‘go’, children are getting lessons in recycling, reusing and conserving.
I am impressed with the number of activities and opportunities that such a party idea presents. Now, as parents, we can appease our guilt (I am spending so much on a birthday party!) as well as satisfy our cravings to be different (I don’t want to do the same boring type of party my neighbour had!). And what a wonderful way to teach our children some important life-lessons as well.
Reading about this party made me want to move back to Mumbai all over again, just so I could organise an eco-party for my daughter’s next birthday. For those of you who are interested, do check out https://www.facebook.com/pages/EcoKids/235706419832806.
If you know of any more such parties – unusual and useful – being organised around the country, do write in. I’m sure all parents want to know!