One year olds are hard, because they're barely walking, and they're not really playing with much. BUT, by the end of the year, there's a lot they can do. I tend to give one year olds toys that they'll grow into. Here's some ideas off the top of my head:
- tiny shovel, and maybe a small "garden bed" of dirt for them to scoop and dump. One year olds LOVE to scoop and dump. Tiny buckets/pails are a huge hit, too. This is my son when he was just over a year, planting his apple tree:
- a wagon or a wheel barrow. Once they start walking, they love pushing and pulling things with wheels. Here's some pictures of my son when he was not-yet-2 (taken from my Gardening Gear for Kids and Babies):
- a water play table. Just a tray of water with cups and tiny watering cans is a huge hit. Help the kids know and understand nature, starting with the most simple forms (soil and water)
And, of course, there's things like natural wooden baby toys. Look up "waldorf toys" and you'll find a lot of cotton/wool/silk/wooden/metal toys for babies on up.
William Bronson wrote:Picking and eating fresh fruit is the thing my kids would have liked best about permaculture at 1 year of age.
Digging in the dirt would be the next best thing.
I don't know.
Bug houses or worm farms?
Their own bit of land?
WORM FARM! Loveit!
Lovin' the "own bit of land" idea too. If I remember from Mr. Sepp Holzer's book, that's how he became one of the most advanced gardener-farmers on planet earth: his parents gave him his own little plot of land to "play with" at age 4 or 5 and he simply Observed & Interacted (Permaculture Principle Numero Uno) with it all day every day... digging little frog ponds, etc. Nowadays he does the exact same stuff as he did back then, just with heavy machinery! HAHA! WIN!
Thanks Nicole! Those are all wonderful suggestions and epic photographs. Thanks for sharing.
When birthday time comes around I'll definitely be considering adding your Dragons and Fairies to the registry! :-)
If we're talking in terms of sustainable gifts that last a long time and support long-term growth (which I think fits the spirit of permaculture), play silks and wood blocks are two favorites for our family.
Both are open-ended toys that support tactile exploration, discovery of the basic rules of the world (ex: object permanence, gravity, air resistance), fine motor skills (stacking, simple knots), and later small-world play (of which creating sustainable full-scale environments is a natural extension).
Play silks, in particular, are widely misunderstood by adults, but kids intuitively understand who to play with them. (My 8 and 9 year olds still play with their tattered and discolored play silks).
It's not "teaching them gardening" per say. But when I see my girls playing outdoors, creating forts out of vine cuttings and gathering "herbs for potions", I can see how this kind of play was born out of simple open-ended toys in early childhood.
Another interesting option at 1 year old is a "discovery basket", with a few safe natural elements.
Ours initially had a few large rocks (some smooth, some rough), a giant pine cone and a piece of driftwood. Other options are a piece of (recycled) fur, a (very clean) feather. These are all items that do require some adult supervision, but that provide interesting tactile experiments and a direct experience of nature. Just putting the items in and out of the basket is challenging at first.
Then, as kids grow and stop putting things in their mouths, you can add other elements like seashells, pieces of bark, interesting minerals...
It's another one of those toys that still lives on our shelf 8 years later (my girls will use it for drawing inspiration or to find cool things to look at through a microscope, and they now fill it up themselves with various "treasures").
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association