What is it about loot bags that make kids go crazy with excitement and parents utterly unenthusiastic? The plastic toys, bouncy balls, gum and mini-notebooks may thrill the kids, but as parents well know, they're quickly tossed aside or lost under a couch. More often than not, the short-lived gratification gives parents a guilty conscience at having to throw items in the garbage soon after they get home. What a waste!
But, what if loot bags could be more practical, fun and impressive for kids AND parents? And what if they could be better for the environment? We've compiled 12 of our top Eco-Friendly Loot Bag Ideas for your next birthday party to help you achieve just that! We based our list on items that are multi-use, have low-to-zero plastic waste and are unlikely to end up in a landfill unable to breakdown for generations. We also focused on items that are made by small businesses and run by Canadian female entrepreneurs because #madeinCanada and #shoplocal matters to us.
Have an idea or company we're missing from this list? Please let us know by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Headbands are the perfect way to say thank you for attending a party. Beautifully crafted and comfortable headbands for girls can be worn again and again for years, enabling guests to wear them while recalling fun memories from the celebration.
Caring Confetti carries headbands from little ai, which is a sustainable-luxury brand that creates beautiful headbands. The Toronto-based company is run by three sisters that work with artisans in Seoul, South Korea. Shop headbands.
Enamel pins come in so many different styles and designs that there is bound to be one that fits your party theme! They can jazz up school bags and coats or can be added to a pin flag collection and displayed in a bedroom.
Caring Confetti carries enamel pins from Penny Paper Co. which is a Canadian company run by Toronto-based designer Lindsay Stephenson, who has a knack for creating bright, colourful and unique products. Shop enamel pins.
Tried and true products like crayons never get old. Crayons are excellent gifts for toddlers, kids and even adults! Many companies, such as Say It With Crayons, are getting creative and using crayons to mould fun shapes and letters, helping you personalize the gift! Say It With Crayons is run by Fabi, a Toronto-based mama and French Montessori teacher.
Who doesn't love chalk! It provides endless hours of creativity and leaves a rainbow of designs on any walkway. Companies like Twee make fun and beautiful designs that make perfect parting gifts. Twee is a female owned business out of Philadelphia.
Snack Bags and Backpacks
We went wild when we first laid eyes on Fluf bags. The level of quality and variety of designs made us instantly realize we wanted to include their products in our shop. Backpacks and snack bags are multi-use items that are so practical, parents will be wishing for an invite back year after year. An added 'eco-bonus' is that Fluf products are made from organic cotton.
Gift Cards to Local Businesses
Gift cards are an easy way to support small, local businesses, especially during times of Covid. Hit up your local candy store, ice cream or gift shop for a handful of gift cards to distribute to party-goers. You can put the same amount of money on the cards as you would have spent on loot bags. These small shops will thank you!
After indulging in cake and candies at a party, what better way to depart than with more chocolate in hand? Edible treats, such as chocolate lollipops from Lollipop Lala can be designed with colours and moulds to fit your party theme! Take it to the next level by printing photos of the party goers on the chocolate!
Flowers & Plants
Plants can boost mood, productivity and creativity! They also clean indoor air by absorbing toxins and producing oxygen. Give your guests the gift that keeps on growing and giving with a beautiful potted plant or flower. Our go-to shop for the best plants is Centro in downtown Burlington.
Did you know that Canadians use 5.3 million plastic water bottles PER DAY! Discourage use of plastic water bottles by giving guests a reusable bottle. Given how little is actually recycled, those bottles end up in landfills or oceans, never to be broken down causing harm and destruction to wildlife. A quality, reusable water bottle, such as S'well S'ip will keep kids hydrated without leaking!
Why not have kids don matching shirts with this fun and practical loot bag idea? They'll cherish the shirt they received from a friend and get excited when they "accidentally" wear them on the same day. Check out Burlington-owned Olive + Splash that creates eco-friendly bamboo apparel that is proudly made in Canada.
Fuel the importance of play-based fun with play dough. This loot bag idea encourages imagination, creativity and learning through play and the development of fine motor skills. Choose toxic-free dough from Canadian-based Hello Dough, which adds essential oils to their mix that reduce anxiety and stress in children.
When in doubt, donate to a charity of choice in lieu of loot bags. Instead, hand out cards to the kids with the name of the charity they donated to in their name. A few of our personal favs - Birthday Angels, Breakfast Clubs of Canada and the Bruce Trail Conservancy.