February 9, 2018


Mum shares why she decided to buy her baby a pile of dirt for his first birthday.

I bought my baby a tonne of dirt for his first birthday. To be exact, it was organic soil mixed with manure (fancy) and we had it dumped in a giant pile in the middle of our backyard. Oh, yeah. Happy birthday kid!

But before you rush to get me that pooey parent award, stay with me here; all is not as it seems.

Let me give you some background. As a family, we live simply in a small – sometimes it feels tiny – house. We are actively trying to move our life into a more planet-conscious way of living. We are working hard to avoid plastics, use recycled items and buy secondhand goods where we can.

We hope we doing our best to backpedal on the pattern of overconsumption that seems to have gotten our planet into hot water [global warming pun intended]. Geez, I hope that doesn’t sound preachy. I find it hard to vocalise this shift in intentions without sounding preachy. I have been part of the problem. I hope to be part of the solution. It’s all learning and journey.

Anyhow, when my beautiful bub’s first birthday rolled around, we wanted to have a party but without the stuff. We have enough stuff. He was so I wonderfully spoilt at out baby shower that we didn’t need anything at all. He had plenty of toys, clothes and LOVE.

We still wanted to celebrate but in a way that involved our guests not bringing us gifts.

‘Don’t bring gifts,’ we could say… Ha, yeah right, try telling Grandma no gifts.

So, instead we said: “Bring a seed, herb or veggie to plant, and we will grow a garden together!”

Oskar’s Birthday Invite below

bday invite

And that’s what we did. Everyone brought something for the garden and we planted them on the day. (This is also a really sneaky way to get your friends to move a tonne of dirt and plant you a veggie garden. Just saying.)

Our family and guest were really open to the idea and made it such a special day.

It was a beautiful birthday gift that lasted beyond the special day. And a gift that we got to discover with Oskar over and over as things were growing. We would tell him, “Those are Doug’s sunflowers,” and “These are Alex’s tomatoes,” and  “Here’s Aunty Michelle’s blueberries,” and “That corn was planted by Amelie.” He got to connect, learn and eat throughout the year.

Buying your baby dirt for their birthday and asking people not to bring presents can be something really lovely and memorable.

Research also suggests that exposing children to dirt from an early age is great for their little immune systems and can help build healthy gut bacteria.

This post originally appeared on Wild Mountain Child and has been shared with full permission.

I LOVE this idea! Such a special thing to do.

Would you (or have you) do something similar for your child?

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  • Best possible thing to do for a child’s immune system. That’s what parents used to do and there were no allergies around then.


  • That’s cool! Kids love getting out in the garden too and are often more inclined to want to pick things and eat them so it encourages them to try new foods.


  • A very unique and wonderful idea, well done!


  • What a great idea, I love it!


  • I think it’s a great idea, a child would have so much fun playing in the garden with his parents and then cooking up everything once it’s all grown.


  • To answer your question in one word. No.


  • Beautiful idea of celebrating ! We’ve more then enough stuff indeed !!


  • Love it, awesome idea, great way to set up a healthy future, I am sure it gave everyone who attended some encouragement to start their own gardens.
    I once caught my son at toddler age attacking the pot plants and scooping dirt into his mouth, now a teenager is is very healthy.


  • A very different idea for sure!


  • It has been proved that children who live in a sterile environment take a lot longer to build up their immune system. Even nurses will tell you that. As long as you wash their hands (and faces if you need to) before they eat, you can bath them later in the day after they have finished playing. “let kids be kids”.


  • It looks like an amazing idea. Very original! And everybody creating a garden with the baby. How awesome is that??? :-)


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