Every year millions of children come home from birthday parties with plastic party favors that break quickly and (if we’re lucky) end up in the recycling bin.
Some of the items my kids have come home with include plastic cups made with chemicals that have been linked to childhood obesity and many other health issues for children. So not only are they annoying and wasteful, they’re bad for our kids’ health!
I’ve hosted a few birthday parties so far in my brief time as a parent and have never given out plastic items. One party was themed after the kids show The Octonauts and I gave out fabric snack bags since plastic bags litter the ocean plus the show’s characters’ jobs involve protecting the ocean and the creatures that live there. Another year, I hosted a princess and superhero party and made each child a reversible cotton cape. They wore them for the whole party and got to take them home… so much better than some plastic toy.
I’m in the process of planning the next one and I decided to make a plastic-free memory game for my daughter’s friends. She loves the game and, honestly, is pretty good at it. What better way to celebrate the birthday girl than to send her friends home with her favorite game?
Listen to this excellent Green Divas DIY podcast featuring Green Diva Leigh talking about making these wooden memory game party favors (the image at the top is GD Meg’s version that she made this past weekend for her grandson’s birthday)…
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Twenty 1.5 inches round wooden circles
- Stamps and ink
- Cotton bags
The sets of 100 1.5 inch wooden circles are easy to find at craft stores and are available on Amazon. They should cost somewhere around $16 per 100 circles. Decide how many sets you’re making before you start the project it will make it go faster. Have 20 circles for every set you’re making. You’ll need to pick ten different items you want to put on your game pieces. If you’re having a theme for your party you can stamp ten items related to the theme, like ten different dinosaurs for a dinosaur party or ten things princesses have for a princess party. If you feel it’s too hard to find stamps or stick with one theme, do not stress. You can take a marker and write letters, numbers or words on the circles for the children to match up. For older kids, you could put numbers and math symbols and they can use it to do math problems. This does not have to be a small child’s favor.
- Pick out your stamps and designs. Make sure they fit on the wooden circle. It’s okay to use a stamp that’s larger than the circle. Just make sure your main subject fits okay.
- Set up your wooden circles in sets of two (or multiples of two if you’re making many sets). You want to stamp the same thing all at once to make it go faster.
- Get your stamps inked up and make sure you have all the area on the stamp clearly covered with ink. Because you’re working with wood, you want to pick bright vibrant colors so they show through. Yellow and other light colors do not work well. If you’re not stamping, just write on the circles with permanent ink.
- Once your stamps are inked up, press them hard on the wood circles to make sure the ink fully comes off.
- Continue with your nine other designs and then you are done. Let them dry for several minutes so they don’t smudge.
You can put the completed set of 20 in a fabric bag that you sew or purchase. If you purchase plain bags you can stamp them with an item from the theme then take a fabric pen and write each child’s name on the bag. I personally guarantee that every parent will appreciate something different coming home. This was just one of the great segments from last week’s Green Divas Radio Show! Please listen to this segment and the rest of the show, which includes a fun interview with the Mafia Hairdresser about greening salons; an excellent GD myEARTH360 report with environmental news highlights; and a nice Green Dude segment on winter farmer’s markets! Please enjoy the full GD show podcast!