Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Focus on No-cost Eco-friendly Fun in 2011

Bring sustainability into every celebration this year by making fun the memorable centerpiece of your holidays and special events.
Instead of spending hours and lots of money on gifts, food and decor, focus instead on activities that everyone will enjoy and remember.
Cooking or crafting bring people together and can cost little. Group games, whether indoor or out, can be enjoyed by everyone from tots to grandparents.

Five years ago, to celebrate her birthday, Lynn Colwell, co-author of Celebrate Green!, started an annual tradition-hosting a chili cook-off for a dozen friends. She crafted a trophy for the winner and guests take home samples of chilis they like (assuming there are leftovers!), in specially decorated glass jars. Everyone looks forward to her waste free event.

For Valentine's Day, what could be nicer than preparing chocolate fondue together with your love, then doing with it what you will?

Or if you're hosting a Valentine's party, punch out old cards in the shape of hearts, cut them down the center in a zig zag shape and have teams put the puzzle together.

For an all-ages party, how about this competition?

Fill boxes (based on no more than six people for each team) with an assortment of houshold items, everything from spoons, to hair brushes, blocks, small boxes, tape, old CDs, anything goes.

The goal is for each team to create a game (with rules) using only the things provided in their box. Set the timer for 15 minutes to create the game, then let everyone play each other's.

If everyone enjoys it, you can mix up all the stuff and do it again.

You can do the same thing with an environmental focus by going on a walk at the beginning of the party and having everyone pick up items like rocks, twigs etc., then basing the competition on those items.

Think about how you can change or work with a traditional game to make it relevant to your event without spending buying anything new. That old favorite, Pin the Tail on the Donkey can be turned into "pin the X" on anything. Lynn made a "Pin the Trees on the Earth" game for one of her grandchildren's birthday parties.

Variations on tag are always a favorite. ("Clothes pin tag" is pictured below. Just attach several clothes pins to each participant's clothing. The idea is to grab as many clothes pins as you can. You can imagine the strategizing that can go on to "get" the last player!)

White elephant gift exchanges when everyone brings something they already own that they'd prefer not to keep, are popular at Christmas. But why not enjoy the fun for a birthday. Instead of purchasing junky toys for kids to take home from the party, have each child bring one they're tired of and exchange it for a new one. Take it from us, when a white elephant exchange is the center of a birthday or anniversary party, adults will enjoy the hilarity too.

Speaking of birthdays, hiding gifts instead of wrapping them is a way to engage everyone in a fun activity while avoiding buying and tossing wrapping paper. With young children, play "Hot and Cold." Older ones enjoy hunting via clues.

Thousands of ideas for games and activities for any age are of course, at your fingertips via the internet. One of our favorites sites for kids games and activities is Family Fun. We're also fans of cooperative game sites like this one.

The next time you're hosting a party or celebration, be sure to plan some eco-fun for everyone!

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and co-authors ofCelebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at www.CelebrateGreen.net

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment