Your soon-to-be toddler completed his or her first trip around the sun! Congratulations! First birthday parties are a time of joy and celebration. Soak up those last moments of infancy before the little one becomes a full-blown exploring and rapidly developing toddler! This is also the perfect time to start thinking about lasting, sustainable, and eco-friendly gifts for the birthday babe.
Whether you are buying for your own child or gifting for a family or friend, we’ve pulled together the perfect gift guide for the best eco-friendly gifts for a one year old.
Developmentally appropriate gifts for a one year old
One year milestones are magical. Kiddos are developing those big muscle groups by moving the whole body with gross motor skills. They’re also tuning fine motor skills, practicing using their finger tips with precision. Those first steps may have happened, or they might be right around the corner. Sippy cups and spoons will become a huge part of your lives. Watching another human eat Cheerios will be an oddly satisfying endeavor. Recognizing body parts, the foundations of language skills, and generally communicating and revealing more and more personality are all part of that 2nd year around the sun.
At Marley & Moose, we recognize (and are greatly aware from our own 4 kiddos) that our littles all develop at different rates. Our selection of toys aim to enhance all stages of this exciting part of life.
Why buy eco-friendly?
The average plastic toy has a lifespan of around 6-months. Even if wooden toys end up in landfills they are often biodegradable. Eco-friendly toys also often adhere to socially responsible manufacturing practices and are typically sourced, assembled, and painted with the highest quality, safest materials. You don’t have to worry about micro-plastics ending up in the oceans or harmful chemicals in your baby’s system.
Enough about why though, below are our favorite eco-friendly toys for 1 year old boys and girls.
Mini Rainbow Stacker
Wooden toys aren’t just cute and a nice addition to the nursery, they are naturally more germ-resistant, and often their durability outlasts plastic counterparts. Rainbow stackers promote a long list of early development concepts. Stackers help children learn the concept of balance. They also help with hand-eye coordination and can be used to lay the foundation for recognizing shapes, colors, size, height comparisons, etc.
While not specifically designed to be Montessori, Rainbow Stackers do fit Montessori criteria for those who adhere to the method. They do align nicely with Waldorf education.
They also generally don’t take up a lot of space and are easy to clean up, which is why they are on top of our list of eco-friendly toys for a one year old.
Geometric Shape Puzzle
Geometric shape puzzles help develop fine motor skills as well as help kiddos with skills such as shape recognition, concentration, and give them a sense of achievement. They help encourage perseverance, patience, and problem solving skills. This is why geometric shape puzzles are a cornerstone of early childhood development. Our Oyuncak House geo shape puzzles are eco-friendly, sourced from linden and walnut wood with organic oils that meet EN71 and CE standards for safety.
Chunky Eco-Friendly Crayons
Coloring is undeniably a childhood favorite activity and crayons are great eco-friendly gifts for a one year old. These chunky crayons support early fine motor development as the birthday baby is beginning to explore movement and create their very first art pieces. The rainbow set is earth-friendly and the bright bold rainbow colors supports color recognition as well. And since our crayons from A Childhood Store are made out of beeswax, they are non-toxic. I wouldn’t recommend serving them with lunch, but an accidental lick is pretty harmless.
Kids love lovies, that’s why they’re called… lovies. In our house, we have “Silly” the proboscis monkey, we have “Bear,” of course there’s “Bear Bear,” and then we have “Toto” the cairn terrier. Oddly, as parents I think every single one of our kid’s lovies was a gift from a friend or family, which is why we’re emphatically labeling Dave Dog as one of our best gifts for a one year old.
In addition to just being cute, stuffed animals provide children comfort, manage their emotions, and practice language and social skills. Kiddos can role play, self sooth, and practice social situations in a no-risk setting, making plush toys excellent eco-friendly gifts for a one year old boy or girl.
Wooden Alphabet Block Set
Similar to the stacking rainbows, these alphabet blocks help encourage hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, problem solving, patience and imagination. While it is definitely a bit early to expect your child to actually learn the alphabet, it’s never too early to start building foundations for learning that is yet to come. Because these blocks are wooden, they will last throughout toddlerhood.
Another benefit of block play is your child will begin to experiment with things like pattern recognition, symmetry, and as they get older, you can introduce concepts like fractions and measurement. With blocks you can start to teach counting and the connections between words and objects.