1. Kid’s Earth Day Party Ideas – Have Fun, and Save the World Too!

    Posted on April 17, 2012 by Chris

    tree planting

    Though every day should be spent celebrating the earth, Earth Day comes every year on April 22nd. Those most affected by the environment are, of course, our children. Many schools, libraries and zoos around the world celebrate a form of Earth Week, concentrating on recycling, composting and taking care of the planet. If your child has a birthday around this time, or if you are thinking of a spring party, why not turn this into a fun party honoring the earth? It’s easy to do, they’ll have fun, and (shhhhhh), your child and her guests will learn some important lessons they can take home with them.

    Here’s some ideas to make your party a success.

    Invitations and Partyware

    Cut out rectangles from paper bags and fold in half. Have your child draw an outdoor scene on each one, such as trees, a sunset, mountains, etc. Inside, write the party details, and add a seed packet of flowers or vegetables inside. If the party will be small and you can hand-deliver the invites, place the invitations in a small recycled container.

    Have your guests bring something to the party, such as a can donation to a local food bank or some recyclable materials like egg and washed milk cartons (which you can use for an activity – see below).

    At the party, use your own plates and silverware, which will of course be washed. If you’re uncomfortable with this, use recyclable party supplies or even those that can be composted, such as plates made out of palm leaves, corn starch or sugarcane fiber.

    Bugs, Leaves and Dirt

    If you live in an area where spring is well advanced, use this opportunity to have a garden party in your backyard or the park. Encourage guests to carpool, walk, bus or bike to your home or the park. There’s a lot of fun activities to be had here!

    • With a bucket in hand, send the kids scavenging in the park for old leaves, grass and flowers. Have them return to make a nature collage.
    • Go on a nature hike, and bring along a bird or butterfly guide book and have the kids try and find some of the wildlife.
    • In your garden or a local community garden, have the kids plant a row of flowers or vegetables. Give them little watering cans to water their plants or seeds (they can take these home). Send pictures to the parents a few weeks later to show the progress. If they planted vegetables, send them a bouquet of what they planted at harvest time.
    • If you are having a birthday party or even an outdoor tea party, focus on a nature theme – a ladybug party is one idea. There’s also fun themes and ideas for butterflies, caterpillars, farm animals and fruits and vegetables. Pick one and plan your activities and food around it.
    • With paper and water paints, show the kids a scene in front of their eyes and have them create a painting.
    • See if the local park is going to have a tree planting day. You can coincide your park party with it, and encourage all the guests to devote some time volunteering. Hey, if it means shoveling and playing with dirt, everybody will love it! (Our kids did, though they look a bit tired in the picture above.)
    • Set up some picnic blankets or decorate a picnic table for the food. Which leads us to …

    Nature’s Bounty – Earth Day Food Ideas

    What child doesn’t love digging in mud? My 3 year old decided last week to transfer a good part of the flower bed dirt to the patio, where she made “mud soup” – we all pretended to have some. This gave me the idea of “compost tea” which is, of course, a real term, (a liquid compost mix for your plants.) Our will be a bit more appetizing!

    Compost “Tea”:

    • black cookies, crushed
    • chocolate pudding mix
    • gummy worms
    • green coconut shavings
    • cleaned, recycled individual yogurt containers, small, clean clay pots or small glass jars

    Sprinkle a layer of the crushed cookies on the bottom, then pour in the pudding. Top with crushed cookies to make topsoil, then add coconut shavings to make the turf. Stick in two or three gummy worms. If the cups are clear, you can see the layers within, and point out to the kids that this looks like a compost pile.

    Here’s some other food ideas. Think of anything natural, organic and unprocessed:

    • water or fruit juice
    • fruit smoothies
    • vegetable and fruit slices on toothpicks. The toothpicks can be composted after.
    • Chocolate balls with blue icing. After the icing hardens, add green continents, and viola, you have mini earths!
    • Trail mix
    • Eggs in a nest treat. Check out how to make this here.
    • Use beeswax candles for the cake

    Earth Day Party Activities

    Plant a plant – give each child a small clay pot or part of a cardboard egg carton, fill with a mix of compost and dirt, and plant some carrot seeds. These they can take home.

    Ready, Set, Recycle! – Remember asking for recycled materials for the party? Now you can use them. Give kids a variety of recyclable materials, such as egg cartons, cardboard, paper rolls, junk mail and clean empty jars or milk jugs. Place the kids in groups, and give them a theme (for instance, make a bridge, a tower or a tree.) Give them some tape and see what they make from it! Take pictures and vote on the most creative project for prizes. After all is done, make sure they dismantle and put everything goes in the recycling bin.

    Gifts and Goodies Bags

    Think of reusing and recycling when it comes to gifts, too. Instead of wrapping paper, use newspaper instead! For gifts, encourage locally-made wooden or fabric toys, something vintage, or even in lieu of gifts accept a donation to a children’s charity. For goodies bags, use brown paper bags or small boxes and fill with seed packets, organic candy, and small wooden or fabric toys. Thank you cards can be crafted from junk mail or, keeping with the theme of the invitations, cut outs from paper bags.

    Enjoy your party, and celebrate the only planet we live on!

  2. This St. Paddy’s Day Ice Cream Really is Green!

    Posted on March 14, 2012 by Courtney

    Please welcome today’s guest poster, Chris Molnar.

    It’s true: being vegan really can be fun. If you run a vegan household — particularly if you’re raising your children in the Way of the Veggie — you’ll love the fun factor to this St. Patrick’s Day ice “cream” treat.

    The green comes from all-natural sources and because it’s homemade, it’s extra-delicious. A tip for the newly vegan: vegetarian does not necessarily mean vegan (this site is great for related info; look for Meatless Mondays), and some vegetable-based foods at your local grocery may include non-vegan items, particularly during processing. When in doubt, call the food manufacturer. Manufacturers’ phone numbers and websites are usually printed on the box. If not, do a Google search.

    Have loads of fun with this holiday recipe that’s not only delicious, it’s “green” inside and out. Read on for the scoop on making this delicious, creamy treat.   Read more…

  3. Green Valentine’s Day Gifts and Ideas

    Posted on February 14, 2012 by Courtney

    Please welcome today’s guest poster, Chris Molnar.

    For hundreds of years, Valentine’s Day has been a celebration of romantic love. Today it is celebrated with gifts like flowers, chocolates, and greeting cards. But once the holiday is over, what do you do with the endless packaging of all those gifts and cards?

    This Valentine’s Day, let’s turn the red into green with Valentine’s projects, gifts and ideas that are all eco-friendly.

    Finding ways to recycle and reuse those gifts and packages is a great way to be a friend to the environment while still enjoying the holiday. So if you are looking for greener options, check out these ideas and tips.   Read more…

  4. Getting New Gadgets? Don’t Trash the Old Ones

    Posted on December 21, 2011 by Courtney

    If you’ve been good enough this year for Santa to leave you some new electronic gadgets under the tree, make sure you’re on next year’s “nice” list by not throwing your old electronics in the trash.

    We currently use more electronics than ever before, and it’s only natural that we’ll upgrade and replace them after a while. What most people don’t realize is that these gadgets are made with toxic materials that can be harmful if they’re not properly disposed. If they end up in a landfill, toxins can leach into the soil and groundwater, which creates a serious pollution problem.

    So when you unwrap that new iPad or GPS or digital camera this holiday season, what to do with the thing your new toy is replacing? You have lots of options:  Read more…

  5. The Greenists Gift Guide Part 2: Gifts that Give Back

    Posted on December 16, 2011 by Courtney

    When it comes to giving presents, a lot of people feel they have to buy something that can be wrapped and put under the tree. Not so! For many people, especially those of us who don’t like a lot of extra stuff in our lives, a gift can be a favor, a donation to a charity, or just spending time with them. Bonus: Promising to do something for someone else is great for the environment, too. And spreading love and joy are what the holidays are all about!  Read more…

  6. The Greenists Gift Guide!

    Posted on December 15, 2011 by Courtney

    Still not done with your holiday shopping? It’s OK; even the best of us are procrastinators sometimes. If you want to be an eco-friendly Santa this year, The Greenists are here to help! We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite green products that anyone on your list could enjoy.  Read more…

  7. A Homemade Holiday

    Posted on December 14, 2011 by Melissa

    No one enjoys talking about it, but the costs of the holiday season really accumulate. Between numerous trips to the grocery store for special holiday foods and baking supplies, and drives to department stores for gifts and decorations (or if you’re like me, strolls to the laptop on the kitchen table to make sure Amazon stays in business)  we may tell ourselves, “It’s okay! It’s the holidays . . . I’ll get my budget under control again after New Year’s Day.” Read more…

  8. Buying a Responsible Christmas Tree: Renewable Tree Farm Sources

    Posted on December 13, 2011 by Courtney

    Please welcome today’s guest poster, Melanie Henson.

    It’s all-natural — but is it really “green”? Real holiday trees from tree farms smell gorgeous, look wonderful and are a Christmas tradition for many families. Just keep in mind that if you’re concerned about the environment and the impact tree farming can have on the globe, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting your evergreen from a responsible source.

    Here’s how to enjoy your beautiful natural holiday tree this year without sapping natural resources. (Hint: it’s easier than you think.)   Read more…

  9. Green Holiday Traditions

    Posted on December 8, 2011 by Jody

     image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hitolonen/3140421889/
    In what I consider to be a long, sad turn of events, Christmas and the holiday season has arguably become the most excessive time of the year.   Christmas certainly isn’t about modern day consumerism or consumption, but these distractions have often left many beautiful Christmas traditions dismissed or forgotten.  So as more people look to “go green” and shop locally or buy more responsibly, here is a small list of “green” traditions that may be worth reviving, or in the very least, it’s time to make them slightly more popular again:

    Read more…

  10. O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, If You are Fake, You’re Not Green

    Posted on November 30, 2011 by Courtney

    Image credit: freechristmaswallpapers.net

    OK, fake trees may be green, but in color only. If you’re looking for the most eco-friendly Christmas tree out there, you’re better off dusting off your axe and heading out to a local Christmas tree farm.  Read more…

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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