Resources for the Preschool Years - 1001 Ideas for Toddlers and Twos
updated November 20, 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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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. Give your child the wooden tiles from a memory matching game. Although she is too young for the full Memory game, you can still find pairs together.
538. Walk. Like a duck.
539. Look at the beautiful flowers on a morning glory vine.
540. Stand up a row of beautifully colored wooden dominoes on end. Tap the first one and watch them all fall over.
541. Fish printing! We used rubber fish from Dick Blick and Daler Rowney Pearlescent Acrylic Ink. Cover your
surface with newspaper and lay the fish on an art tray (I have an old cafeteria tray). I used the eye dropper included with the ink to place a few drops all over the fish. He used a foam brush
to spread the color all over the fish. Then I laid a piece of newsprint on top and we carefully pressed the paper onto the fish, feeling into all of the details
and going out to the end of every fin. Then he got to pick it up for a big reveal!
He didn't have the energy to do more than one (compared to the four year old, who printed every single fish) but it was super-fun!
542. Petting zoo, hay ride, see saws, slides, a tricycle track, enormous corn sensory bin (big enough for thirty kids to get into), water pump races with little rubber ducks,
and climbing on gigantic tractor tires.
October 2017 - twenty-nine months old
543. Soapy Sea Foam Sensory Play. Great for seashells. Great for a rotary egg beater!
544. Homemade Button Snake. A great
gift for an older child to make for a younger. This is sturdiest when made with pure wool felt.
545. Pool Noodles & Rubber Bands. So inexpensive... so easy!
546. Sponge Blocks for stacking into tall towers. Lightweight. Silent. Fun!
547. Sand & Rock Box for little construction equipment. Love the PVC pipe "culvert pipes" in this sensory bin.
548. All of a sudden I turn around and Zac seems so much older... ready for lots of new things! Like a million Pinterest ideas... oh, and the
classic wooden pounding bench.
Read The Growing Story, then get out last year's winter coat and try
it on to see that it is too small.
550. Peanut Butter Play Dough -- this is easy but oily. Protect surfaces! Mix 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 2 cups powdered sugar or powdered milk, 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey.
551. A delicious sensory bin full of different kinds of citrus fruits, cut in half. I used nine: lemon, Meyer lemon, lime, naval orange, Valencia orange, ruby orange, red grapefruit, tangerine, and clementine. Juice
some and taste them.
552. Dye rice green (put a cup of rice, a teaspoon of white vinegar, and food coloring in a large jar and shake vigorously).
Set up a sensory bin with green rice and a collection of rubber insects and other creepy-crawlies. We did three separate batches of shades of green, and blended them for a more realistic look. A disposable
aluminum roasting pan isn't glamorous but it works well for this small sized bin and the lid makes for easy storage.
553. We are obsessed with the new French style yogurt by Yoplait and it makes
a great yogurt starter for crockpot yogurt! Plus, the delightful little glass jars (each portion is cultured in the glass jar it's sold in)
are wonderful for rinse water jars for painting.
554. Squashes and potatoes are perfect for a washing station with a little bristle brush. Set them in some water and let the fun begin. "Wash Squash" has a nice little
rhythm to it. Make up a little song to sing while you are scrubbing.
555. A collection of pom poms in different sizes, the wooden tongs from the Plan Toys beehive, and a muffin pan.
556. Roll a ball to the dog and watch him retrieve it.
557. Help collect firm green fragrant black walnuts; my seventh graders
are making Homemade Black Walnut Ink to use in their fountain pens.
558. Get a five inch aquarium net and some floating plastic fish and let your child "fish" while playing in the tub.
559. Zac has been watching his big sister Leah practice her color guard routine. So today he took his pool noodle and started twirling
it over his head. He told me he's doing a "drop spin." It was pretty cute, but actually twirling a pool noodle above your head like a helicopter by passing it from hand
to hand is a really good gross motor activity!
560. Bend pipe cleaners into the shape of simple fish (I used gold sparkly ones) and then bend one more into the shape of a fishing hook. I folded the end over and twisted it and then doubled
it and twisted it again for strength. It is easy to just lay the fish out on the sofa and have your child "go fishing" for them by using the hook to
pick them up. I did 16 gold and one black fish.
561. Make "naked eggs." Simply place a raw egg in a deep bowl and pour white vinegar over it until you've covered it up. Then watch as bubbles begin to form! The eggshell slowly dissolves overnight and you are left with a "naked egg." It is so much fun to play with!
562. Roll your naked eggs down the driveway. Try to roll them up the driveway. Play with the yolk when they break. Throw them!
563. Watch a local parade with marching bands, color guard, and lots of floats. We went to the university homecoming parade in our town.
564. Jello Snake Dig. We used a 10 x 15 casserole dish with nine snakes. A 3 oz box of flavored Jello plus three packets of
plain unflavored gelatin, 3 cups of boiling water, and 2 cups of cold water.
565. Marshmallow Play Dough! (Actually, it was my 13 year old daughter who could NOT STOP playing with this one!)
566. Make an Ocean in a Bottle. Simple. Gorgeous.
567. Visit a pumpkin patch and see the fields where the pumpkins and gourds grow. Choose a little pumpkin to take home.
568. Watch someone juggle.
569. I made up a new bean bin for Zac full of odds and ends of jars of dried benas I had in the pantry. I had tons of
different kinds of beans because we did dried bean mandala designs in summer camp and I bought every variety
I could find. It is so pretty if you present the bean bin
with the colors and textures organized in stripes, but don't expect the stripes to last for long. He will immediately and joyfully mix them together.
570. Pick up persimmons from the ground! (Put unblemished persimmons whole into a ziploc bag in the freezer. Never pick them off the tree; they only
are ripe when they fall. When you have enough to use in your chosen recipe, thaw, then push the persimmon pulp through a fine metal strainer to leave
the skin and seeds behind.)
571. Hidden Colors -- so so so fun! Put a few drops of food coloring in the bottom of
each compartment in a muffin pan. Cover each with a spoonful of baking soda. Set up an art tray or a shallow bin with the muffin pan in it and a squeeze
bottle of white vinegar. I also added a spoon because Zac liked to stir the fizzing colors and to move color from one compartment to another.
572. Walk sideways. Walk with your knees deeply bent. Walk sideways AND with your knees deeply bent.
573. Use a toothpick to spear and eat canned beans, one at a time. Zac loves black beans!
574. Sit under the kitchen table and play fort.
575. Evening nature walk in the woods, on a trail lined with dozens of flickering jack o' lanterns.
576. Put a little bit of acrylic paint (we used red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and brown) into the sections of an old ice cube tray. Set out
some art newspaper, a small pumpkin, and a few wine corks. Have your child carefully hold
the corks and pounce the ends into the colors, then stamp layers of colorful circles all over a pumpkin.
Proudly display the pumpkin on your front porch.
577. Prep some acorn squash for baking. Put all the "guts" in a bowl for sensory play. Add some snakes. Play snakes and seeds!
578. Learn how to take off your mittens by holding the end of one with your teeth and pulling out the fingers and thumb.
579. Frog World! Set up a frog sensory bin with water, lily pads cut from 3 mm green craft foam, green and clear flattened glass marbles, and little
580. Eat a small doughnut without using your hands... and the doughnut is hanging from a string tied to the ceiling!
November 2017 - thirty months old
581. Sing "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed."
582. Try toast with butter and cinnamon and sugar on it!
583. Play backyard badminton.
584. Children's music concert at the library. We sang lots of fun old-fashioned songs like "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes," "Shake Your Sillies Out," "Five Little Ducks,"
"The Wheels on the Bus," "Aiken Drum," and "Skinamarinky Dink Dink."
585. Current favorite book: Stuck by Oliver Jeffers.
586. HUGE MILESTONE! Zac can draw a circle (not a perfect circle of course, but a line that curves around and touches its starting point accurately).