Hey, Room Mom!… Green your children’s classroom party.

class prtyMy list of duties just got longer…  drumroll, please… I am now the Head Room Mom (read:  “Lead Party Queen”!) for our daughter’s 2nd grade class!  She is absolutely thrilled and while I’m excited too, I’m also simultaneously worried.

I know what parties essentially “mean”….  things like lots of trash, waste and “un-environmental” activities.  It’s fairly easy to control what goes on for a party in your own home but this is another situation entirely, yet I believe there are still plenty of things I can keep in check.

  1. Ask volunteering parents to send in bulk foods instead of individually wrapped items. One big box of Goldfish and a big bowl from home is far better than 25 individual packages!
  2. Same goes for drinks… large containers and cups over a bunch of individual boxes or bottles, then recycle the container and compost the cups.party pak
  3. Opt for supplies using materials that are less harmful:  Paper over plastic, please!  Paper plates, cups and napkins can be composted, but reusable products are even better.  I love the Party Pak from Kids Konserve.  Invest in this supply of party wares (plates, cups and utensils) and wash and reuse them for every party.  (Get 15% off, now through October 31, by entering: momgreen at checkout!)
  4. Skip plastic tableclothes.  Bring a fabric tablecloth from home and opt for laundering over plastic in the trash.  And borrow decorations from home and take them back afterward… simple as that!
  5. Make your arts and activities eco-friendly.  Consider decorating little totes or lunch bags so they have some usefulness after the party ends.
  6. Play games with supplies from home.  Or consider supplies that can be recycled, like a game of bingo.  You can print cards at dltk-cards and use edible “markers” (like M&Ms!) and recycle the cards afterward.
  7. Pass out goodies in paper bags instead of cellophane treat bags, and give extra thought to what goes inside.  Mounds of plastic will eventually wind up in the trash.
  8. Recycle and compost everything you can!

Sure, these little ideas won’t change the world but they will certainly help make sure that all of those “little partying feet” create a smaller footprint than would have been created otherwise!

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9 thoughts on “Hey, Room Mom!… Green your children’s classroom party.

  1. Also, consider making the party more community oriented. In my daughter’s third grade last year, we had one activity where the kids put together craft kits to be sent to kids at Children’s Hospital. For the winter party we made an assembly line of kids to scoop dried peas, beans, lentils and spices into plastic bags to make a soup mix that was given to a food bank (let me know if you want the recipe). The last day of school the kids held a car wash in the school parking lot. They washed the cars of parents and teachers, and even collected some tips, which they donated to the third grade teachers to buy books for the class bookshelves.
    .-= feefifoto´s last blog ..If You Give A Kid A Cell Phone: Watching Out For Your Child’s Safety =-.

  2. Okay — get ready. Here comes the recipe. Feel free to use it as a post (a link to my blog would be soooo appreciated!) If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. This is a fun and deeply fulfilling activity for elementary schoolers: a great way to balance out all the stuff they collect and ingest at class parties.

    Open a small Ziploc bag, and put in: one teaspoon of cumin, one teaspoon of oregano, one teaspoon of garlic powder, two teaspoons parsley flakes, one tablespoon minced onion, one teaspoon chives. Seal the small bag and place inside a large Ziploc bag.

    Add ½ cup of each of five types of beans to the large bag (you can use lentils, dried peas, navy beans, lima beans, white beans: really any type of dried beans or peas will work). Place a set of directions inside the bag. Seal the large bag.

    Bean Soup—Basic Directions

    Set aside the small plastic bag of spices. Use one of the following methods to prepare the beans for cooking.

    Quick Soak Method–Rinse the beans in cold water and remove any damaged or discolored ones. Place beans in a large pot and cover them with 2 inches of water. Heat until boiling and let boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove beans from heat, cover, and let stand for one hour. Drain and rinse beans, then prepare soup.

    Overnight Soak Method—Rinse beans in cold water and remove any damaged or discolored ones. Place beans in a large pot and cover them with 2 inches of cold water. Let stand overnight or at least 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse beans, then prepare soup.

    Prepare the soup.
    Place beans and 6 cups of water in a large pot. Cook beans gently for 1 ½-2 hours on low to medium heat. Keep beans covered with water; add more water during cooking if necessary. Add 2 more cups of water and the spices from the small plastic bag.

    Add optional ingredients, such as carrots, celery, corn, potatoes, fresh or canned tomatoes, or pasta, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste. The spice packet contains only cumin, oregano, garlic, parsley, onion, and chives.

    Cook an additional 30 minutes.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Notes:

    Most of the supplies can be found at Sam’s, although beans may have to come from a grocery store. If you can find beans in bulk, go for it. Make sure kids wash their hands and use plastic gloves. Set up an assembly line on each side of a long table, with individual measuring or disposable spoons or cups in each bowl of spices and beans. Place a label with directions for each step in front of each bowl. If you run out of one ingredient before the others, don’t worry — just double up on another ingredient. Kids like to make gift cards to attach to the bags; this activity keeps half of them busy while the other kids are working the assembly line, and then they switch places.
    .-= feefifoto´s last blog ..Strange And Bizarre October Holidays =-.

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  5. At the suggestion of another parent, I stopped using paper signup sheets and now use VolunteerSpot.com to coordinate and schedule parent volunteers. It eliminates wasted paper and time.

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