Author Topic: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats  (Read 1629 times)

gatortator

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Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« on: August 27, 2018, 10:32:09 AM »
Hi!

My kid's elementary class has enough food allergies in it this year that the teacher has requested non-food items be brought in for birthday treats.  I am also not a fan of plastic toy clutter, so I am now in the search of non-annoying, non-food, minimal plastic treats for my kid to share.  Also, no pencils since this is the gift the school already gives.

I understand that they don't have to bring something into to share but for my child's preference I am trying to find a compromise. 

My thought right now is erasers or temporary tattoos, but wanted to see if others have had this challenge and found a creative solution.

Thanks in advance for the suggestions!

ixtap

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2018, 10:33:31 AM »
A small, wood toy?

thd7t

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2018, 10:34:26 AM »
Hi!

My kid's elementary class has enough food allergies in it this year that the teacher has requested non-food items be brought in for birthday treats.  I am also not a fan of plastic toy clutter, so I am now in the search of non-annoying, non-food, minimal plastic treats for my kid to share.  Also, no pencils since this is the gift the school already gives.

I understand that they don't have to bring something into to share but for my child's preference I am trying to find a compromise. 

My thought right now is erasers or temporary tattoos, but wanted to see if others have had this challenge and found a creative solution.

Thanks in advance for the suggestions!
For kindergardeners or first graders, paper/cardboard masks could be a good option.  Although I just remembered that masks are against my kid's school policy...

jeninco

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2018, 10:44:48 AM »
Fun erasers are a good idea.

Maybe also cool pencil bags/something to help kids corral school supplies in their desks?
Slightly ornate pens? (they come in glitter, or swirly patterns, or ??)

Decks of cards or card games? If these are too expensive, could you bring in a bunch of age-appropriate card games for the classroom? I think there's one called "24" which is math-oriented, and SET is pretty fun for older kids... There's a younger kid version I can't think of offhand. Maybe check with the teacher on these?

Dry-erase pens for the classroom, and the kids can color during birthday time?
Keychains with goofy things on them? (my 14-year old is carrying one with a rainbow pompom, which I think was a gift from a friend.)

Backpack/bike decorations? Those keychains with LED lights on them?

historienne

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2018, 11:21:48 AM »
Paper crowns?

I think temporary tattoos might be the right answer, though.

nessness

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2018, 12:41:43 PM »
For younger elementary kids, you could do coloring books or stickers. But I like the idea of temporary tattoos.

elliha

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2018, 12:47:21 PM »
I was going to say small coloring books but that has already been listed. A small container of soap bubbles might be another option but I would tape them shut to make it harder for the kids to try them out until they get back home...

Cranky

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2018, 04:19:04 PM »
Well, you can NEVER have enough pencils in an elementary classroom! So I wouldn’t rule that out...

Otherwise, what about a book for the class library?

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2018, 10:10:28 AM »
When my kids bring home temporary tattoos or stickers or even erasers, they go straight in the trash the following day.  The kids are really excited to get them and never ever use them.

I love the idea of paper crowns, if the teacher will allow that. 

What about funky straws?  That actually gets used in our house - or, if passed out in the morning, could be used at lunch.
Our local Wal-Mart also has the little plastic reusable cups with pictures of Disney characters (including Star Wars) all over them for about $1 each.  My kids LOVE these (even the middle school ones).

Frankies Girl

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2018, 10:20:11 AM »
Pencils, cool erasers, stickers, coloring or activity books, bookmarks, small craft kits....

Might I suggest you check out Oriental Trading? And their offshoot Mind Ware? They are both Berkshire Hathaway companies, after all. ;)
« Last Edit: August 28, 2018, 10:22:04 AM by Frankies Girl »

I'm a red panda

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2018, 10:26:09 AM »
Costco has mini play doh with their Halloween stuff right now.

Also Shopkins grab bags, but that fits plastic clutter...

What about a coloring book? You can sometimes find them for 99c. 

As a Mom, not a fan of stickers, but kids love them.

AMandM

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2018, 11:46:25 AM »
Are you saying a birthday child is now expected to give everyone in class a little gift? Man, I'm glad I'm past that stage of childrearing.

A few sheets of origami paper and a folding diagram
Craft supplies--chenille stems, glitter glue, popsicle sticks
A ruler (those are about 10 cents each at back to school sales!)
A tiny notebook--when I was a kid I loved anything tiny and anything paper


PharmaStache

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2018, 12:17:13 PM »
As a mom, I beg of you- give nothing.  I can't handle any more crap coming home.  Also, why in the world is the birthday child expected to get everyone a gift? 

I'm a red panda

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2018, 01:42:27 PM »
As a mom, I beg of you- give nothing.  I can't handle any more crap coming home.  Also, why in the world is the birthday child expected to get everyone a gift?

For ages birthday kids have brought in cupcakes. So the tradition of the birthday kid giving something is not new. These things are just not edible.

I wish we didn't get this crap brought home 26 times a year, but that's not how kids work.

jeninco

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2018, 02:14:12 PM »
We used to call a lot of that crap "STDs" for "Straight To Dumpster."

I really like the suggestion of a classroom book or two. If the teacher can make time, you could read it to the class, as well! (Extra points for setting a great precedent!)

TrMama

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2018, 02:30:02 PM »
As a mom, I beg of you- give nothing.  I can't handle any more crap coming home.  Also, why in the world is the birthday child expected to get everyone a gift?

This.

Thank goodness my kids are past this age so I no longer have to decide whether to capitulate or buck the trend, but I rarely did anything more than send in a box of Oreos and no one has shunned me yet.

CNM

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2018, 03:14:34 PM »
I really like the origami idea!  It becomes more of a party when they're doing it together.  Takes the place of a cupcake party.

dragoncar

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2018, 03:52:39 PM »
Metal fidget spinners

Keychain lasers

Wooden bird whistle


TrMama

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2018, 04:26:53 PM »

Keychain lasers

Wooden bird whistle

Do you hate the parents of your child's classmates that much? A laser and a whistle? Really?

I'm a red panda

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2018, 04:44:54 PM »
As a mom, I beg of you- give nothing.  I can't handle any more crap coming home.  Also, why in the world is the birthday child expected to get everyone a gift?

This.

Thank goodness my kids are past this age so I no longer have to decide whether to capitulate or buck the trend, but I rarely did anything more than send in a box of Oreos and no one has shunned me yet.

Oreos aren't peanut safe. (Depends how severe the allergy since they are just in a facility that handles peanuts, not a line)
Great option for a classroom without peanut allergies.

Mezzie

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2018, 06:33:14 PM »
I second thr origama paper + instructions for a few things.

calimom

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2018, 06:38:07 PM »
How about a 4" plant in a biodegradable container? Could be a succulent, something like herbs (though that's edible, technically) or blooming color. Also an activity, but a somewhat messy one.

Tuskalusa

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2018, 07:04:17 PM »
Stickers. Simple, kids love them, and they get used.

tthree

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2018, 08:31:13 PM »
Another vote for nothing  My two kids are still young (9 & 5) and I have never done anything in their classes/daycare for birthdays.  Doing nothing is the norm here (so I'm not bucking any trends).

However, I usually do non-food, non-plastic crap for Valentine's Day.  Couple of things we have done:
  • Paper airplane templates (instructions included)
  • Homemade book marks

Here you can get some pretty decent books for a dollar or two at the dollar store.  If the point of this exercise is to teach giving and kindness (not the perpetuation of consumer culture).  I would buy a book for everyone an have your little one write a personalized message to each of their classmates on the inside cover.

jeninco

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2018, 09:42:26 AM »
Another vote for nothing  My two kids are still young (9 & 5) and I have never done anything in their classes/daycare for birthdays.  Doing nothing is the norm here (so I'm not bucking any trends).

However, I usually do non-food, non-plastic crap for Valentine's Day.  Couple of things we have done:
  • Paper airplane templates (instructions included)
  • Homemade book marks

Here you can get some pretty decent books for a dollar or two at the dollar store.  If the point of this exercise is to teach giving and kindness (not the perpetuation of consumer culture).  I would buy a book for everyone an have your little one write a personalized message to each of their classmates on the inside cover.

This reminds me -- we once had a birthday party where we asked the guests to all bring a copy of their favorite books. This was particularly helpful, as the birthday boy was at an age where it was tricky to choose appropriate books.

Anyhow, you could also hit up a used bookstore and have your kid choose something s/he likes for the classroom, or for each student, depending on how spendy you want to get. I also love the paper airplane templates + instructions, and the origami (with instruction) ideas.

kanga1622

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2018, 10:47:08 AM »
Depends on your budget. What about using the Scholastic book order to order enough of the $1 book titles to give one to everyone? Hot Wheels cars for the boys? Small cans of playdough for everyone?

Our school asks that instead of individual birthday treats you simply donate a book to the classroom library. Then everyone gets a chance to read it during their free reading time.

Spiffy

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2018, 12:06:31 PM »
Yet another vote for nothing! I have three kids. We are out of the elementary school age now, but that goodie bag junk pretty much went immediately into the trash. Kids are bombarded with junk everywhere they go. Treasure box at school, at the dentist, at church, etc.  One time I took my toddler with me to the liquor store. They were so excited to see a kid in there they handed out lollypops and stickers! Why? My kids stopped caring about that stuff long ago and learned to say "No, Thank You." But I still find little plastic pieces of junk under furniture...

TVRodriguez

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2018, 12:09:23 PM »
Another mom vote for NOTHING here. 

Our school allows dunkin donut munchkins, which I do, but I would never in a million years send anything that cannot be consumed immediately.  I personally hate those awful character or holiday pencils--they never sharpen well and the lead always falls out.  Those go straight into the trash when they come home.

gatortator

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2018, 12:14:14 PM »
OP here.

Thanks all.  we chose to donate a book to the classroom library.

LinneaH

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2018, 05:59:59 AM »
I think that was a great choice, as so many others have said, little trinkets often are forgotten by the kids and then STD as jeninco said.
 
We used to call a lot of that crap "STDs" for "Straight To Dumpster."

Books on the other hand - I like! Also, I think it is nice that it is "to the class".

Dianalou

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2018, 04:19:51 PM »
And as a Mom I love being able to bring in something edible so that I don't bring any junk home with me. I think the donation of a classroom book is an awesome idea. And stickers pretty much rule my household. Really any sort of craft/activity/book from the dollar store works for my kids.

Blueberries

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2018, 12:26:01 PM »
Depends on your budget. What about using the Scholastic book order to order enough of the $1 book titles to give one to everyone? <snip>

Exactly what I was going to suggest.

okits

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Re: Non-food, minimal plastic classroom birthday treats
« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2018, 01:53:30 PM »
Our school asks that nothing be brought in.  Every kid's birthday is celebrated the same way (birthday hat, sticker, class sings to the birthday kid).  I think it's great.  No disparity in celebrations due to kid's family income level or cultural practices.

At most, I'd make a directed donation to an international development charity then print a picture to show the class ("in honour of Kid's birthday a class in another country will be receiving school supplies/children will receive medicine/a family will receive a goat").  There's a catalogue with lots of choices.  Educational, philanthropic, and no clutter!  (Though maybe fellow parents will be annoyed when their kids come home asking for a goat, too.)  🐐