Resources for the Preschool Years - 1001 Ideas for Toddlers and Twos
updated September 17, 2017

Yes, you say, yes...
I understand that Waldorf early childhood programs are play-based (here is some important reading on the value of play) and do not include early academics or electronics.

But what does that LOOK LIKE? What do you do with your child each day?

Rhythm is key at this age and comfortable and familiar routines reign supreme. But it is also nice to throw in some new experiences and stimulate those curious little minds! Get those pudgy fingers and toes moving and exploring! And sweet eyes twinkling and little bellies rumbling with laughter!

This is not an exhaustive list and it is not a curriculum (the word curriculum literally comes from a Latin word which meant "racetrack"). Replace that idea of a "race to the finish line" with the thought that you are instilling a love of life, and a love of learning. This list is neither meant to be restrictive nor prescriptive; rather, it is meant to be descriptive. We all enjoy seeing and hearing about new ideas. So I hope these help to inspire you and I welcome your suggestions! Just email me.


Here are 1001 ways to enjoy your child during these wonderful, and all-too-short, years with your precious little Buttercups and Bumblebees.

NOTE: This project was started on Mother's Day 2016. My son was just turning one year old.


Go to the previous pages: 12 - 17 months old, 18 - 23 months old


May 2017 - twenty-four months old

    445. Zac loves to cover his doll with a silk and pretend that she's going down for a nap.

    446. Morning Verse for Early Childhood:
    (start by bending over touching your toes)
    I w-a-ke in the morning
    I stre-e-tch to the light
    (slowly stand and reach tall with your arms extended above you)
    I JUMP (jump, keeping your arms up high) to the Sun
    I am ready to start my day
    (bring your arms down to your sides)

    447. Evening Verse for Early Childhood:
    Safe I am, Safe I'll be,
    Protected by my angel.

    448. Shake a bottle of juice. Observe that it makes bubbles.

    449. Stack tall towers out of the groceries in your shopping cart. Yell ta da!

    450. Go strawberry picking at an Amish farm.

    451. Take a picnic dinner and go watch Stone Soup Shakespeare perform "Julius Caesar" in the park! Sit in a little camping chair and watch the drama unfold.

    452. Help put strawberries and banana slices into a smoothie. Yum. Don't forget to wash your hands before you cook!

    453. Help bring everyone in the house smoothies in bed on a Saturday morning.

    454. Go down to the pond and find an old rusty colored toad and a brand new little grass green painted turtle. Observe them carefully.

    455. Play in a log fort under the magnolia tree.

    456. Have an adult slice the tomatoes and mozzarella first, then help make Caprese Salad.

    457. Fill a large carwashing sponge up with water and then squeeze it out.

    458. Balancing Cactus! This is supposed to be for ages 3 and up but Zac loves it.

    459. Have popcorn for the first time.

    460. It's so fabulous that he knows the difference between "or" and "and." I love watching increasing language sophistication grow. He also, seemingly out of nowhere, knows all of his colors!

    461. Shopping for birthday presents. It's so sad that they don't make the Wild Animal Baby magazine anymore. My girls loved it!! Setled on Haba's Palette of Pegs and Color Pie and the Plan Toys Bee Hive.

    462. Make fresh-squeezed orange juice homemade vitamin C gummies. Store in the fridge. Gummy bear molds are adorable and easy. Let your child practice with the eyedropper and plain water for some excellent fine motor work.

    463. Finding toddler friendly recipes... mostly he is up for adding ingredients to a bowl, stirring, or washing produce. One example: Overnight Refrigerator Steel Cut Oats with Chia and Strawberries.

    464. Zac has only ever had white chalk. He was so excited when I presented him with a wooden bowl with different colors of chalk in it!

    465. Whisper together.

    466. Play hide and seek behind the peonies. Throw magnolia leaves at one another.

    467. Carefully refill the peanuts in the peanut bird feeder.

    468. Lift up and put back down the shapes in the Dog Magic Puzzle. This is made for dogs but Zac just adores it! Next up... we need to find a recipe for homemade dog treats.

    469. Travel and see new things. For us, this was a visit to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque IA.

    470. Stay at home and see new things. For us, this was Crispus Attucks Park, a park right here in town, which turned out to have a free (and toddler-friendly) water playground.

    471. Make peanut butter cookies. Use a fork to press a criss-cross design in the top of the little balls of dough.


June 2017 - twenty-five months old

    472. Three board books that we have loved from the library, and just had to buy!

    473. And one must-own (he's soooo interested!) that isn't available as a board book...

    474. Running around naked in the yard, now that summer is here. I tried to set up a sink/float bin but he wasn't interested. However, he did find it cool that potatoes splash and sink, but lemons splash and then float up to the top!

    475. No more crib. Although he never once tried to climb out, we switched him to a twin mattress on the floor, so that he can get to his little potty.

    476. And no more high chair!

    477. Go to a new park and enjoy the playground equipment. Every one is different! One near us has sprinklers that spray jets of water up out of the ground for kids to run through.

    478. Road trip to visit great-grandparents.

    479. Stay in a little log cabin. Sit on the screen porch and watch the lightning bugs. Hunt for wild raspberries.


July 2017 - twenty-six months old

    480. Help ream a lemon, then shake up all the ingredients for salad dressing in a jar.

    481. Spin the chunky screw in the Olivewood Nutcracker around and around.

    482. Zac is fascinated by environmental print. First, he demanded to have pages from the newspaper so he could sit with us at breakfast and read the newspaper alongside us. Now, he has been requesting food packaging to examine, such as cereal boxes and milk cartons and cheese wrappers.

    483. Look at your reflection in the side of a sterling silver tureen.

    484. Throw a crabapple and search for it in the grass. Over and over.

    485. Run around the ballfield yelling Run Run Run.

    486. Draw with sidewalk chalk on the basketball court.

    487. Walk in the waves (but only a little). Gather confidence. Sit down in the waves and watch them come up and greet you.

    488. Drop handfuls of sand in a little stream.

    489. Throw sticks and shells into the Chesapeake Bay.

    490. Draw in the sand with sticks. Pour pails of water on people's feet. Bury their feet in sand and then uncover them.

    491. Roll your toy car down the playground slide.

    492. Watch fireworks at the beach.

    493. Watch a great blue heron flying. See a horseshoe crab come out of the water onto the sand. Watch the tips of a cow nose ray's wings as it swims by.

    494. Unroll and entire roll of paper towels.

    495. Go to a quiet spot in the grocery store and practice pushing the cart back and forth and turning it left and right.

    496. Turn the coat closet into a fort.

    497. Eat a juicy piece of watermelon and spit out the seeds.

    498. Watch deer walk through your yard during a thunderstorm.

    499. Borrow a game camera and take pictures of the animals that visit your yard after dark.

    500. Check all the balls in the house to see if they float.

    501. Draw with charcoal on the patio.

    502. Turn a little 4-legged table into a ring toss game, by resting it on its back in the grass.

    503. Set up a kiddie pool and fill it with a hose on a hot day.

    504. Watch the sprinkler move back and forth and water the garden. Taste mint and basil picked fresh from the garden. Crush and smell the dill.

    505. Our newest obsession: Herve Tullet.


August 2017 - twenty-seven months old

    506. Crawl behind a corn hole board and peek out through the hole.

    507. Life pailfuls of water out of the wading pool. Carefully pour them out on the ground. On feet. On a table. In a bin. Back in the pool.

    508. Fill up the pail until it is too heavy to lift. Notice that it is too heavy to lift. Dump out some of the water.

    509. Pull the blossoms off a crepe myrtle.

    510. Watch a robin hop along the ground with a worm in its mouth.

    511. Draw with colored pencils on paper. Read The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse. Paint for the first time! I arranged the supplies on an old cafeteria tray (inexpensive paint cakes, paper, brush, small dish for rinse water) and I store the tray in a predictable place in the living room to encourage more painting.

    512. Try to sweep a puddle.

    513. Try to draw with chalk on water.

    514. Try to scoop the water out of your wading pool using a flower pot. Watch the water drain out the bottom of the flower pot.

    515. Make Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake together (I got this recipe from From Asparagus to Zucchini, p.171).

    516. More outdoor fun with the kiddie pool! Enjoy throwing, fetching, and squeezing out different kinds of sponges. Car wash sponges are enormous-fabulous-colorful-fun.

    517. So are homemade sponge water bombs!!!

    518. Carefully spread peanut butter on saltines using a small butter knife.

    519. Stringing beads!

    520. A board book and a (four piece) puzzle in one! Zac got this in his Easter basket and is finally old enough to do it on his own. We used to play a game where we would take all the puzzle pieces out and I would ask him, give me "two little black feet" and he would hand me every piece except the one I asked for and giggle hysterically. Now I can say, which one goes on this page? And he can hand me the piece, orient it correctly, and put it in its place.

    521. A great use for almost-empty shampoo, conditioner, and bubble bath bottles? Put them in the bathtub and let your child hold them under the faucet, running water into and out of them over and over, until they don't make any more bubbles.

    522. Flush the toilet. Zac is fascinated and loves to watch this happen. We have taken the back off of all of our toilets so that he can see the mechanism inside.

    523. Watch monarch caterpillars go into their chrysalises, and emerge ten days later as beautiful butterflies!

    524. Pick up old gumballs from last year and use them as a digging tool. Fill them with dirt and shake them all out.


September 2017 - twenty-eight months old

    525. Read Waiting for Wings. Create a butterfly garden in a little spot in your yard, starting with milkweed plants. Add a hummingbird feeder to the middle.

    526. Roll your cars through some playdough on the table and observe the tire tracks.

    527. Balance a shaker egg on a spoon and walk carefully across the living room.

    528. Play Sharks and Minnows in a big yard.

    529. Do yoga outside.

    530. Draw on the long crumpled pieces of brown butcher paper that come as packing material. Spread them out so they cover the living room floor.

    531. Stomp on cereal boxes to flatten them for recycling. We use milk crates to organize our recycling because they are easy to carry outside to the bins when full and they are color coded (red for paper, black for plastic/bottles/cans). It is an easy system for a toddler to understand.

    532. Play the Go Away Monster Board Game (tactile discrimination).

    533. Go to the grocery store and buy something small, paying all in quarters. Pay up front at the self-service kiosk. Let your toddler drop them into the coin slot one at a time.

    534. Practice learning to cut with scissors (they make special dual control training scissors).

    535. Cut small rectangles and squares of watercolor paper and let your child use Faber-Castell Gelatos to make beautiful cards. Draw with them on dry paper, then smudge with your fingers, then paint over them with clear water and a paintbrush, then draw on the wet paper. Anything you do is gorgeous! I suggest only giving your child three colors each time, so that the end result doesn't get too muddy.

    536. For more fine motor practice, make a series of different colored dots on the piece of paper, and give your child a wet paintbrush and say, put water on the __(colorname)__ dot.

    537.



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