Resources for the Preschool Years - 910 Ideas for Toddlers and Twos
updated June 13, 2018
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 910 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, 24 - 29 months old
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).
587. Dye chickpeas in rainbow colors for your child's sensory bin. You will
need one quart-sized Ziploc bag per color. I filled each bag
about 1/3 of the way with dried chickpeas, then added 3/4 tsp of white vinegar to each bag along with several drops of liquid food coloring. Shake until the chickpeas
have absorbed all of the beads of liquid covering the walls of the bag, then add some more color if desired. Spread on a baking sheet to dry overnight.
For presentation, this is especially pretty in a bin with the set of rainbow nesting boxes. If you want your child to sort by color, add the wooden tongs from the Plan Bee Hive toy.
588. We have the earlier version of this toy -- from thirteen years ago -- and ours is a man with a yellow top hat instead of a clown, but the idea is the same.
This is a great toy for
more advanced shape matching and stacking.
589. Draw all over the daily newspaper with a pen. "Mommy, look my ART!"
590. Carefully line up the 12 arches of the Rainbow Stacker to make tunnels for the train set to go under and hills for it to go over.
591. Pull the horse and wagon happily along the floor. Put the wagon
over the wooden duck and pull it along. Constantly change the toys which ride in it.
592. Arrange woodland animals in a circle and tell "Autumn Bear" story from Suzanne Down's book of Autumn Tales. It's also nice to have a snowflake
silk for this, since it's a story to transition from Autumn into Winter. You can use felt finger puppets, beeswax animals, needlefelted wool animals, or wooden animals. You can also
substitute other woodland animals for the Raven, Raccoon, Rabbit, Deer, Owl, and Fox.
593. New slippers! Learn how to put them on and take them off all by yourself.
594. Read Feathers for Lunch, shaking jinglebells before you turn each page.
595. Set up the wrapped Advent calendar. We open gifts on St. Nicholas Day (Dec 6), so we start our countdown as soon as Thanksgiving ends.
Simply choose enough Christmas or Winter books so that you have one for each day of the counting down, and wrap them in cheerful holiday wrapping paper.
Set them in a basket and let your child choose one every night to unwrap and read as the bedtime story. This is a lovely
way to build the anticipation.
December 2017 - thirty-one months old
596. Go to a local craft show so your big sisters can do their Christmas shopping. We went to the Christmas Extravaganza at Irons in the Fire.
Say hello to all of the vendors. Eat a delicious cupcake. Look all
around at the displays. Watch donuts being made and eat a hot fresh donut rolled in powdered sugar.
597. Help decorate the Christmas tree! For Zac this year we did a table-top tree made of wrought iron. I store my ornaments in tissue-paper lined
Christmas cookie tins (why store the tins empty?) and we gave him an assortment to choose from. He decorated the tree all by himself! We also
set up my handmade needle-felted Nativity scene.
598. Play "Red Light, Green Light." When we say Green Light, Zac can run all around the living room pushing his wooden buggy. When we say Red Light,
he freezes. When we say Green Light, he can go again.
599. Watch the nighttime Lights Fantastic Parade.
600. Learn how to open doorknobs!
601. Watch the dog get his haircut at the groomers.
602. Joyfully bounce brand-new tennis balls.
603. Set out your shoes with carrots for St. Nicholas's horses.
604. Wake up to find chocolates in your shoes!
605. Run outside to stand under the first snowflakes of the Winter.
606. "Let's read it! Mama, what's that?" Zac is fascinated by guide books, such as A
Field Guide to the Wildlife of North America by Bryan Richard. We like this simple book because there's an animal (full color picture plus a brief paragraph of facts) on each page and the book
includes mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and a few common invertebrates.
607. Representational drawing. Zac has started to name his drawings (I'm drawing a barn. This is a big big oval.) and loves his new easel! I like
this easel too because it has a strong clip instead of a roll of paper, so we can clip up all kinds of paper for him to experiment on.
608. Sing traditional Christmas carols like "Frosty the Snowman," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Go Tell It on the Mountain," and "Deck
the Halls with Boughs of Holly."
609. Watch a handbell choir perform.
610. Slide quickly down the stairs on your bottom. Climb up the steps and do it again.
611. Watch a paperwhite narcissus grow and bloom.
612. Read chapters from the four-books-in-one Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury.
613. Open Christmas cards. Listen to Bing Crosby's White Christmas.
614. Zac declares, "I want to ride in that!" to every piece of equipment we see. Tractors, airplanes, trains, etc. There is a series of books by Steve Light which we love for making vehicle sounds as we read along:
I am also a big fan of Whose Truck? and Whose Tools? and DK Braille's On the Move.
615. Drink different kinds of water from all around the world, both still and sparkling. We tried water from Fiji, France, Italy, and Norway.
616. I labeled Zac's paper cup at the water tasting with his very own symbol: a duck. This is a quick and easy animal to draw, and his most common request
at the easel. "Mommy, draw a duck. I do the eye." All of my girls had a symbol so that they could recognize their things before they were old enough
to read. Natalie had a heart, Leah had a fish, and Becca had a butterfly.
This is a practice used in Reggio Emilia schools. The classroom teacher chooses the child's
symbol after the initial home visit before the school year starts, and then has a custom rubber stamp made for the child. The rubber stamp is ready
when the child arrives at school on the very first day! This is so all children can label their paintings and other schoolwork
independently. The child's symbol is also used to label cubbies and all personal items.
617. Draw with your finger in the steam on the shower doors.
618. Turn a somersault!
619. Holiday visits with family and friends. Experience the joy of Christmas cookies!!
620. Wake up in the morning and watch the snowflakes coming down. After breakfast, walk in the newfallen snow. Make footprints on fallen logs. Brush the snow off. Shake the tree branches and watch the snow come down from the leaves.
Refill the bird feeders and bird bath. Watch the birds and the squirrels enjoy their birdseed and nuts.
621. Hang up wet mittens, hats, and socks on the drying rack in the laundry room. We love Smartwool's socks for kids.
622. Use the envelopes which the Christmas cards came in for cutting work. Learning to use scissors takes lots of practice!
623. Run down the hallway for no reason.
624. Zac's big St. Nicholas Day present was the wonderful David's Double Shelf Playstands with Canopies
from Elves & Angels. These are the people who made the play kitchen my girls had when they were little (they are now teenagers and we gave it away some years
ago to a friend, before I knew I would have another baby) and it was so beautiful and sturdy. Truly heirloom quality. Now Zac and I have
the joy of arranging his wooden animals and other toys on the playstand shelves. It fills me with happiness to have it sitting in my living room. I always wanted playstands
for my girls, but never have had any until now!
625. Mix up a batch of cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup sugar, 2 T cinnamon) in an old glass peanut butter jar. Put the lid on and shake vigorously to combine.
some softened butter on a whole wheat tortilla, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, microwave for 30 seconds, roll up into a cigar shape, and eat! Wonderful for breakfast
alongside some sliced fresh strawberries and a glass of soymilk.
627. Present a lot of different tastes to your toddler in each food group. For example, Zac has had cow milk, soymilk, almond milk, coconut milk, and goat milk.
628. A lot more imaginative play! Zac held up a cylinder block to me and told me it was my chapstick. Then he held up a rectangular block and told me it was his "restaurant dinner."
629. Drum circle! Sit your toddler in the middle of a variety of things which make different sounds when they are struck. Give him a pair of rhythm sticks.
Then join in! Don't forget that you can tap the rhythm sticks together too. We used
a basket, a cereal box, a wooden salad bowl, an oatmeal container, a drum, a plastic container, a wooden box, and a metal steamer basket. The metal steamer basket
was his favorite.
630. Feel a hairy coconut. Watch it float in a bin of water. Coconuts can float for years before they land and sprout to be a new palm tree. Shake it and hear the coconut water sloshing around inside it.
631. When you're done exploring the outside of the coconut, open it and taste the water and the meat.
632. Learn how to blow your nose.
633. Put a set of coasters in and out of its holder.
634. Peer at each other through toilet paper tubes.
635. Rotate out books and toys. Try to have 50% of them set out and the other half put away at any given time.
636. Ride a hobby horse!
637. We still have the wooden monkey bowling set from
when my girls were little. So cute and Zac loves it just as much as they did!
638. Zac is completely potty trained now (he only wears a Pull-Up at night) and the enamelware chamber pots from Nova Natural have been fantastic! I got
two. Originally we had one in each bathroom, so that he could imitate us when we went to the bathroom. When he became interested, I moved one
to the living room so he could run to it while he was playing. Then I put the other one in his bedroom for naptime. Now we have the one in his bedroom still, which
he uses first thing in the morning or during his naps, and we carry the other one in the car. They are so sturdy and completely adorable.
639. Eat a bunch of blueberries. Check to see if your tongue is turning blue.
640. Make Peppermint Scented Oatmeal for sensory play. This is a bit harder to dye than
some other things, but it's fun for this time of year! We have had
lots of sensory bins so far including flour, rice, cornmeal, kosher salt, sand, dried beans, rainbow chickpeas, and
jello. But never oatmeal! I made eight cups of oats. Because you are doing two colors you will need two 1-cup measuring cups, two quart Ziploc bags, two gallon Ziploc bags, and two
rimmed baking sheets or large casserole dishes.
Take two 1-cup measuring cups and put 1/4 cup of water in each. Dye one a deep red and the other a deep green
using food coloring. Take two gallon Ziploc bags and put four cups of oats in each. Add 1 or 2 drops of peppermint essential oil to each bag
and shake vigorously. Now add 3 T of your red colored water to a quart Ziploc bag and add 2 cups of the scented oats. Shake to distribute the color right away, so
the oats won't get moldy, and spread them in a rimmed baking sheet or large casserole dish to dry. Repeat with the remaining scented oats from the first
dyeing them red. Now repeat this procedure with the scented oats from the other gallon bag, dyeing them green in two batches (3 T colored water : 2 cups scented oats) and using the other quart Ziploc bag.
641. Continue with finger plays, nursery rhymes, and songs. Zac knows all the words to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and can sing it all by himeself now.
642. Handkerchief silks. Playsilks in a perfect size for two year olds!
643. Choose your own pants, shirt, and sweater for the day. Zac has a bookcase in his room with all of his clothes arranged neatly on it. He's old enough to keep things on the shelves... for the most part. I learned to put his
dirty laundry basket outside his bedroom door, in the hallway, because he would take all of the clothes out of his dirty laundry basket and take all
of the clothes off his shelves and throw it all on the floor; then we couldn't tell the clean from the dirty. He has four shelves. PJs on the top shelf. Shirts on the next shelf down, sweaters under that, and pants on the bottom.
He has a basket for his underwear. His socks are in a basket in the coat closet by the front door and that is where all of his shoes are organized as well. He also has a bin for warm hats and mittens by the front door.
644. Play "Peter Hammers with One Hammer" from The Wheels on the Bus: And Other Action Rhymes.
645. Lie down and pretend to take a nap. Have your toddler "read" to you from her favorite books.
646. "Mommy, it's snowing!" Read a book with snow in it, like I am a Bunny, play
outside, and then come in and have some REAL hot chocolate!
647. Hold hands and jump down the steps.
648. Now that Zac doesn't need diaper cream (our homemade recipe was 1 cup coconut oil + a few drops tea tree essential oil), I used the leftover coconut oil in the jar in Coconut Oil Cloud Dough. This recipe is 1/3 cup melted coconut oil plus 1 1/2 cups flour.
Because ours was diaper cream, it smells faintly of tea tree oil, which is nice.
649. Teach your child to turn off the faucet when brushing her teeth, to conserve water.
650. Do the Hokey-Pokey.
651. Sticky Sheep using cotton balls and contact paper. The cotton balls can be pulled off and put back in the
bathroom... they aren't ruined by this activity. Draw the sheep on the contact paper backing, then peel the backing away a bit at
each of the four corners. Hold up to the window with the sticky side facing you and put tape at the four corners. Then slowly peel the backing
off and tape the top and bottom to secure. Add a bowl of cotton balls and your toddler is ready for business! Or, you could make a Winter snowman and snow scene.
652. Roll a golf ball and chase it all around the house.
653. Run and get a towel when you make a spill. Wipe it up and put the towel carefully
in front of the washing machine. I keep a blanket chest in the corner of the dining room full of old towels for cleaning up spills.
All of my children, plus the ones in my homeschool co-op, know immediately where to find them.
654. Put a car on the sofa cushion and watch it roll along until it hits the back of the sofa. Blow on it to make it roll faster. Put
a cookie tin on its side and roll it down the slope.
655. Snail's Pace Race. Zac can only
play one round before he gets tired because it involves a lot of concentration (for a two year old) but he loves it! This is his first game where he's
to roll a die. I love the chunky colorful wooden snails.
656. Frog Wobble Game. This simple game can be played cooperatively or solo.
657. Color Scavenger Hunt. So easy to put together... only requires a white paper lunch bag and some colored pencils. Something different to do indoors on a chilly day.
658. Have a tickle fight.
659. Lie in bed and read Mother Goose rhymes together. I love Salley Mavor's whimsical board books.
660. Go into town and choose a pastry from the glass case in the bakery. Enjoy it together.
661. Go to the library and carefully put the books into the return slot, one at a time.
662. Painting on Aluminum Foil. Surprisingly fun... great for a collaborative
663. "Read it again!" Zac loves silly songs and rhymes. Currently, he's all about The
Lady with the Alligator Purse (and I pause at "the lady with the..." and he
fills in "alligator purse" in his cute little toddler voice). Previously, it was Down By the Bay.
Happily, both are available
in sturdy board book format so that you can read them over and over again.
664. Snow Dough. Mix 1 cup baking soda with 1/4 cup water. Add glitter as desired. Freeze for 15 minutes. Play!
665. Eat raw broccoli florets. Notice that they look like little trees.
666. Find a small slug on an old wet leaf.
667. Taste three different kinds of honey: acacia, neem, and orange blossom.
668. MARCH around the house.
669. Take coat hangers off the clothes bar and hang them back up again.
670. "I'm filling this up." Take Pouring Work to a whole new level. Give your child a milk or water plastic gallon jug to play with in her bath.
671. Mix up a batch of yummy Peppermint Cocoa Lip Balm
for your little one during these cold winter months. Zac's big sisters loved helping me with this project!
672. Take the ice out of the bird bath and refill it with fresh water for the birds. (We use a vintage aluminum pot which we
set out on a tree stump. The birds love it!) Put the ice into a bin and play with it. Explore it. Watch it melt. Older preschool
siblings might like to try the Melting Ice Science Experiment with Salt and Liquid Watercolors.
673. Check out a huge pile of Dr. Seuss books from the library. Sit on the dog bed and carefully look at all of them.
674. Play with the last bit of an old bar of soap until it melts away.
675. Look excitedly through boxes and bags of hand-me-downs. Try on new clothes! Walk around
in your new shoes. Put things neatly away on shelves and hang things
in the closet.
676. Give an empty toilet paper tube to the rabbit to chew on.
677. Explore new art materials. A friend recently gave us Twistable Crayons (which
I store in a basket sitting on a pile of blank computer paper)
and Do a Dot Markers
(which I have out on an old cafeteria tray with a large piece of thick watercolor paper). While not my favorite, I do like having them in
the rotation for when we need something fresh and new.
678. Drink sparkling water from a can. This is harder than it looks!
679. Read poetry together. My favorites for this age: Tomie's
Little Book of Poems (available as a board book) and Here's a
Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry.
680. Sift flour, either for a recipe or for fun. (If you're doing this for sensory play I suggest that you make the flour bin pretty big. Zac climbed right into ours. "I want to get in it.") Remember
that flour is explosive so if your toddler is going to fill the air with flour, don't locate your flour sensory bin near anything that will spark.
681. Help make the bed, by fluffing pillows and pulling sheets smooth.
682. Learn how to rotate your fingers the other way and put lids back on bottles.
683. Snug as a Bug in a Rug game. Zac's
first time playing a game which uses a spinner.
684. We've started a new Art Tray routine. In the morning when I need to get
a bunch of last night's dishes done -- more than what he can help with -- I've been bringing Zac an activity on a tray
which he can do at his seat. An old tray, a pile of paper, and a tin of block beeswax crayons... so simple. Older children
can help clean the beeswax crayons if they get marks on them from the other colors. Just use a drop of sweet
orange essential oil on a clean cloth. I have a cloth napkin set aside for this purpose and we've used it for years.
We also have a painting tray all set up and ready to go for Zac, if I need more time and he's
done drawing... plus a pile of library books which is only for
looking at during Art Tray time.
January 2018 - thirty-two months old
685. Make Tallow Bird Seed Ornaments and hang
them outside for the birds.
686. Read the poem "First Snowflake" by N.M. Bodecker (found in Talking Like the Rain: A Read-to-Me Book of Poems
on page 74)
and do a watercolor painting using a round brush and only one color: blue.
687. Painting on a Block of Ice. Another
great use for that chunk of ice you get out of your birdbath every morning!
688. Draw a big shape on a piece of paper and then draw lots of little colored squiggles on it. "I'm drawing on the ice!"
689. Roll a sheet of paper into a tube.
690. Sit quietly and watch a dog sniff excitedly all around a new room.
691. Eat really really long crunchy sesame breadsticks.
692. Run into your big sister's room and climb up on her bed and say Happy Birthday!
693. Zac is interested in yoga! He's busy looking through all of the bright cheerful cards in our Yoga Pretzels Deck. He loves
Downward Dog and Happy Baby. A good book for teaching yoga to children is Fly Like a Butterfly: Yoga for Children.
694. Carry a nice heavy gallon jug of water around the house.
695. Build a beautiful farmhouse scene and tell a story with the Varialand wooden tiles.
696. Zac loves the Pancake Pile-Up game! I do really like the concept (sequencing skills, motor skills, imaginative play) but
don't like that it's almost all plastic. If you really wanted to, however, it wouldn't be too hard to replace the pancakes with felt ones you made yourself. Cut two circles of pancake-colored
pure wool felt per pancake. Embellish as needed
to match the "customer order" cards (you will need to make two plain, two blueberry, two banana, two strawberry, and two chocolate chip... along with two pats of butter). Put a circle of cardboard inside each pancake before
sewing it up so that it is stiffer and can be picked up by the spatula. (You could also give your child
a real mini spatula). All the pieces are stored inside a box which is decorated inside like
the surface of a griddle. Pretty cute!
Magic Cabin's 100% wool felt
available in 14-piece packets (Earth, Pastel, Harvest, Jewel)
697. Try sushi.
698. Help out in a family bingo game by turning the cage.
699. Threading Station. A bin, pipe cleaners, and an assortment of straws cut to various lengths. You can also add an overturned colander.
700. A bin of water and a turkey baster! And towels...
701. Set up a sensory bin with an old potted mum. I got mine on clearance in the "Save Me" part of the grocery store floral department. Let your
child take the plant apart completely and explore the dirt, the roots, the stems, the leaves, and the flowers. If you have older children,
they can do the "plant dissection" for Science and then you can pop all of the components into a bin for your toddler to enjoy! When this
exploration is over, gather the plant parts to put into the compost but save the potting soil and plant something new in it.
If the idea of the plant dying makes your child sad, read A
Log's Life by Wendy Pfeffer.
702. Fine pine shavings animal bedding plus an assortment of hidden toy frogs and lizards. A new hide-and-seek sensory experience!
This is the bedding we use in our rabbit's litter box but I had never thought of making a sensory bin with it until today. It was so fun!
703. Help dip the tops of warm Cinnamon Apple Muffins in
melted butter and cinnamon sugar.
704. Roll a big snowball down a hill and chase it.
705. Watch an older friend do paper weaving.
706. Play Animal upon Animal... a game with a more advanced die. Stacking fun!
707. Drink a cup of Throat Coat tea when you get a stuffy nose and a scratchy voice.
708. Try gravy.
709. "Look at my snow art!" Painting on a tray of snow.
710. Pengoloo, the perfect penguin board game for this kind of snowy weather!
711. Go to an art museum to watch a harpist perform. Pluck the strings of her harp.
712. Make a "Mr. Greenie." Put a teaspoonful of grass seed in the bottom of a knee-high stocking. Add a cup or so of potting soil. Bounce it up and down
so that the soil
packs down tightly and forms a ball, and then tie a knot above the ball of soil. Flip the ball over and look at the grass seed. Place
the ball -- with grass seed on top -- in a jar and make sure the diameter of the ball is wider than the jar. Fill the jar with water and place
the remaining stocking into the jar so that the water can wick up it. Add googly eyes and a pompom nose if desired. Place in a sunny spot.
Wait to see if Mr. Greenie's grass "hair" will grow!
713. Look for matches with the Ravensburger's Mix & Match vehicle cards.
714. A GIANT sensory bin filled with different colors and textures of packing peanuts!!! Zac sat right down in it like an easy chair and calmly started
sorting the colors into different compartments of his muffin tin.
715. Old things played with in new ways. Zac's bean bin is still a huge hit, and the spice jars I put in months ago
to promote more specific pouring skills are now filled with extra beans and carefully lined up as "ingredients" for the soup.
716. Snuggle up and read a book about knitting. A favorite: Extra Yarn.
February 2018 - thirty-three months old
717. Read The Carrot Seed. Put two
dried pinto beans
from the bean bin into a doubled-over damp paper towel and put it into a Ziploc bag. Zip closed. Let stand on a sunny counter and check every few days to see what happens.
718. Drop a marble and see if it bounces like a basketball. Try to dribble it.
719. "I am doing it, Becca!" Stand on a long board balanced on a round log. Stand in the very middle, with one
foot on either side of the fulcrum, and rock the seesaw back and forth. Great work for strengthening the core!
720. Work together to wet felt a bar of soap. For this age, just wrapping the soap in plain white batting and tying the wool
in place with colorful pure wool yarn (which then also becomes part of the felt) is simple and decorative.
Zac couldn't figure out how to cup water in his hands so he ended up pouring the hot water over the soap with a ladle. But
he loved rubbing it and seeing the bubbles come out!
721. Still more board games are finding their way into our repertoire. He's fascinated by watching
sisters play -- and sometimes joining into -- The Yoga Garden Game.
722. We are also playing
and Dice, two wonderful German games from Selecta! Even though Zac doesn't fully
understand them yet, the artwork is so appealing that he loves to get them off the shelf, and he can play with a partner.
723. Zac is now asking "why" to everything, endlessly. This is such a normal
stage! Resist the temptation to give too many answers. "Well, I wonder..." is a perfect
response. It allows the child to come up with his own explanation, which will not be too intellectual. Sally Schweizer's book
Well, I Wonder: Childhood in the Modern World: A Handbook for Parents, Teachers, and Carers
is a wonderful parent resource for Waldorf families, and gives good advice for this stage and others.
724. Action rhymes are wonderful at this age!
Pease porridge hot (sit on the floor, cup hands, pretend to blow on hot soup)
Pease porridge cold (wrap arms around body and shiver brrrrr)
in the pot 9 days old (pretend to stir a huge cauldron of soup in front of you)
725. Zac has started Suzuki Baby music classes. They
are full of classic nursery rhymes, which I love. Little Tommy Tucker. Hickety pickety my black hen. Wee willie winkie.
Hickory dickory dock. Pop goes the weasel. Here we go round the mulberry bush.
Baa Baa black sheep. Bow wow wow / Whose dog art thou? To market to market to buy a fat pig.
726. Run a mallet up and down a xylophone, lifting your arms or your whole bodies up and down
as the pitch rises and falls. If you also have an infant, lift your infant's whole body up and down as your toddler stands and sits.
727. This morning we enjoyed a wonderful Little Brown Bulb puppetry (the link
is to my notes from a workshop with Suzanne Down... both the instructions for making the puppets and the story itself). Start growing some bulbs
indoors. We chose grape hyacinths.
728. Look at a vanilla bead pod. Break off a piece and sniff it.
729. Winter play dough recipes! Our most successful were the Chocolate Play Dough
and the Christmas Play Dough. If speed
is what you need, the fastest one to make was the Gingerbread Play Dough!
730. Read a special story for Valentine's Day. I love "The Valentine Baker of Pink" from Suzanne Down's
Valentine Tales for Young Children.
731. Walk around the block and deliver valentines to the neighbors.
732. Continue with lots of new foods... our latest was Teff Porridge.
March 2018 - thirty-four months old
733. Find matches in the Qwirkle wooden pieces.
734. Climb into the big box which the new art drying rack came in (ships fully assembled!) and play kitty cat.
735. Enjoy new collections of lullabies. Our new CDs are Goodnight Songs
by Margaret Wise Brown (discovered posthumously) and
African Dreamland by Putamayo Kids.
736. Watch a bean plant grow its way through a maze (directions in The Curious Kid's Science Book).
737. We made a Cutting Bin for Zac, with a pair of blunt-tipped small scissors and a whole variety of things to cut, including
tracing paper, newspaper, bubble wrap, straws, colored gift tissue paper, paper towels, toilet paper, kleenex, a brown paper bag, construction paper,
and the paperboard from a cereal box.
738. Paint an oatmeal container to be a colorful drum. This age is too young to understand how
to properly rinse a brush and how to not "scrub" it and damage the brush's bristles, so I suggest a disposable foam brush, an egg carton
of paint colors, and NO rinse water. Lay down a tarp first. You have to lay the container on its side and twirl it while you paint it.
You also have to hold it still while you paint, so
be prepared with baby wipes for painty fingers.
739. Read Ladybug on the Move
and manipulate the little paper ladybug as she goes about her journey.
740. Go to a recital of children's poetry, performed by the students of a homeschool co-op.
741. Roll a golf ball down the stairs and watch it bounce.
742. Play Simon Says.
743. Look for matches in the deck of Snap playing cards.
744. Feed a neighbor's cats and fish for her while she is on vacation.
745. Throw and catch a large beanbag (5 inch diameter).
746. Draw all over a huge cardboard box, inside and out, with block beeswax crayons.
747. Put your jammies under your pillow in the morning.
748. Watch a key being cut at the hardware store (from a safe distance).
749. Visit with a brand new 10 day old baby. So tiny! So cute!
750. Make handmade paper Easter ornaments.
751. First chapter book! We have begun to read a chapter each night at bedtime from Reg Down's The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly.
752. Help plant a tree by shoveling some compost into the planting hole. We planted hawthornes, hazelnuts, and chokecherries.
753. Five different activities for 6 lines of tape. So much fun for so many ages!
April 2018 - thirty-five months old
754. Have an egg toss outside on a warm day.
755. Watch men reseeding the lawn. Throw handfuls of grass seed yourself.
756. Learn how to hold your shirt sleeve when pushing your arm through a sweater.
757. Stomp on an empty plastic milk carton and put it in the recycling.
758. Sort the mancala gems, four in each pit.
759. Paint on a paper plate and carefully put it into the slots on the art drying rack.
760. Watch a beekeeper place a bee swarm trap high up in our cypress tree. Watch the box carefully each day to see if the bees have found it.
761. New play dough tools! Yes, these are plastic but he loves his play dough scissors. We also got cookie cutters and rolling pins with different textures.
762. Watch a dump truck tip and dump a load of dirt.
763. Watch children fly kites on a windy day.
764. Let your child pull the masking tape lines up off the floor. This is great fine motor! You can also put tape lines down on a coffee table or the backside
of a cookie sheet for her to pull off. Try different colors and widths.
765. Sound boxes. We have the ones from Nienhuis Montessori but it's easy to make your own with old film canisters. Fill each pair with different items (sand, rice, beans, etc) and see if
you can shake them, listen carefully, and match them correctly. This builds auditory discrimination.
766. Play "Goosie, Goosie, Gander" outside on a warm day.
767. Check on the baby grass to see if it has grown.
768. Zac has paperback picture books in his room now instead of board books. Current favorite:
Make Way for Ducklings.
769. "Where will the jelly be?" Zac loves imaginative word games like this. It is based on a kid's song I learned long ago when his big sisters were in Kindermusik. You say, "Jelly in the bowl. Jelly in the bowl. Wibble wobble,
wibble wobble, jelly in the bowl." Then you come up with some kind of other silly place to have the jelly, like "Jelly on the floor." Then everyone repeats with an amazed voice, "Jelly on the floor! Wibble wobble,
wibble wobble, jelly on the floor." And everyone takes turns coming up with fun places for the jelly to be.
770. Watch a group of children shoot marbles.
771. Learn how to twirl a roll of masking tape on its edge. Watch it wobble and fall. Try twirling a wooden bowl as well.
772. Listen to music from Jane Austen's time.
773. Play the hand stacking game. Place hands flat on the floor alternating between yours and your child's, and then have the person with the hand
on the bottom bring it up to the top. Repeat, keeping the pattern. Simple but so fun.
774. Take a Spring wildflower hike.
775. Throw rocks into the pool at the base of a waterfall. Kerplunk!
776. Draw thickly on watercolor paper with a white crayon. Paint over it with watercolor paints. See your lines appear.
777. Inspired by this Nuts & Bolts Set for fine motor skills
I bought several cabinet knobs from the craft store and put them in a basket, to be disassembled and reassembled.
778. Catching Worms. It's a great use for the pipe cleaners which got all bent
out of shape from the Threading Station (#699). Also a perfect fit with Spring and Are You My Mother?
779. A friend gave us some really cool rubber stamps which fit over finger tips and have different textured ends. Simply dip in the paint and stamp on your paper.
A small piece of paper works well for this. Another
great fine motor activity...
780. Patty cake. This is the first time Zac has gotten the "clap, tap" pattern straight.
781. Mark Zac's water bottle with his symbol. This is a lightning bolt (Z) which will
stand for Zig-Zag and Zap when he gets older and learns his letters in the Waldorf way.
782. Go to the auto shop and watch new tires being put on the car. Look at tire treads. Look at the tread on the bottom of your shoe. Feel the brand-new tires before they are installed. They're prickly like hedgehogs.
783. Tinkergarten class!
784. Make beautiful designs with colorful glass mosaic tiles from the craft store.
785. Stand on a big tree stump and twirl around and around.
786. Draw something with a pencil and then erase it.
787. Draw with a fistful of eight pencils.
788. I'm sewing play kitchen foods for Zac's birthday present, inspired by some pictures
on Pinterest. Pure wool felt, a little batting, and some free time in the evenings... priceless.
789. I do like the Montessori Sensorial materials, which are not academic. We have the Cylinder Block No. 4
which is for visual discrimination. There are materials for the Tactile sense,
sense, Stereognostic sense,
and Visual sense.
790. Deep clean of the bedroom. Sort socks in the basket into matches; pair shoes up and line them in a row. Sweep
everywhere, even inside the closet. Hang up empty coat hangers on the bar. Put fresh sheets on the bed.
791. Change out the books on the little bedroom bookcase every few weeks. Now that Zac can have picture books instead
of just board books, it's easy to give him new things to read. I have a huge collection of picture books from when his sisters
where little, and from being a teacher for so many years. Right now he's really interested in the idea of Time. I've noticed that whenever my girls and I
ask each other when something will happen, Zac pipes up and answers "6:40 pm" or "Monday." He says those every time, with no idea of what they mean.
But he knows they mean something that is close to the right answer. And he keeps telling
me that his birthday is in May. So, naturally, his favorites right now are books about the seasons, like Around the Year by
Elsa Beskow and
The Year at Maple Hill Farm.
792. Learn a little Swahili. We had a special guest at our homeschool co-op and my daughters are still singing the Jambo Bwana song and using the phases
and they've taught them to Zac. He will often hide in his closet and then peek out at me cheerfully and say "Hodi!" To which I reply, "Karibu!"
793. Watch a huge red fox walk through the yard!
794. Roll the long bolt from the doorknob activity (#777) on the floor and watch it go in a circle... every single time.
795. New Morning Verse!
Good morning, dear Earth.
Good morning, dear Sun.
Good morning, dear stones
And the flowers, every one.
Good morning, dear beasts
And the birds in the trees.
Good morning to you
Good morning to me!
796. Drape long silks all over the playstand and clip them in place to make a fort. Cover the floor inside the fort with silks also.
797. Hop on one foot, holding hands for stability.
798. Look at the SCOBY in homemade kombucha.
799. Revisit old ideas from this list. Lots of the many sensory play ideas I wrote about earlier are still perfect for this age... go back to parks you visited
with your child when she was younger and see her play on new equipment... discover how to play with familiar toys in new ways.
May 2018 - Zac is turning three!
800. Keep track of all the cute things your child says each day with a three year journal. I love the Spark
Joy Every Day journal by Marie Kondo.
801. Paint on an outdoor plexiglas easel.
802. Balance on a stump as a chair.
803. Take a pail of water and a paintbrush outside and decide what to paint. Paint the sidewalk. And the grass. And the park bench.
804. Tear grass up and put it in the pail of water to see if it makes green paint.
805. Throw old gumballs into a pond.
806. Pick violets.
807. Fill a small brown paper bag with dandelion fluff.
808. Mix up a batch of mud using spray bottles, hands, and sticks. Set up a provocation for your child! Find a bare patch of dirt.
Set small pails of water and spray bottles of water near by. Later, add spoons and small pie pans. Or dinosaurs.
809. Add a full pail of water to another full pail of water. Over and over.
810. Rescue a bug, who is trying valiantly to walk along the grass but who keeps getting smothered in mud.
811. Make mud soup. Or mud cake with grass frosting.
812. Run a toy truck in the mud and then run it along a board to see the tire prints.
813. Stick a mud ball onto a tree. Does it stay? Make a face with mud on the tree.
814. Use a tiny set of insect rubber stamps to stamp bugs all over a large blank piece of paper. Then draw green grass all over it to make
a meadow scene. Read Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni. Find
the tiny inchworm in each of the illustrations.
815. Clip a piece of corrugated cardboard up to the easel and paint on it.
816. Drag a long piece of wool roving behind you and pretend it is a snake.
817. Try to connect some Connectagons
together. Or pretend they are cookies and serve them up in a play store.
818. Walk all around the house unrolling a long ball of yarn.
819. Enjoy the amazing colors in the Swirling Milk Experiment.
820. Watch the Maypole dance and ribbon weaving.
821. Tie a variety of colors of ribbon to a canning jar ring and run around, watching the rainbow colors fly in the wind.
822. Spatter paint a large piece of posterboard clipped to a clothesline.
823. Clip a bunch of fabric triangles up to the clothesline and watch them blow in the wind. Read and feel What Color is the Wind?
824. Spritz a spray bottle of water into the wind and feel it blow back on your face.
825. Say goodbye to some of your grass and add a BIG dirt digging pit to the back yard. Fill watering cans full of water and pour them joyfully in. Put your hands in water and then swirl
them around in the air. Notice how much cooler they feel.
826. Have a collection of short pencils which your school-aged kids have sharpened until they are nearly gone? Put them in a little basket
for your preschooler. They are the perfect size for a little one.
827. Crumple up a piece of paper to be a ball.
829. Add some new songs to your family's repertoire, celebrating daily or seasonal rhythms. There are accompanying CDs for both
Seven Times the Sun by Shea Darian and Let
Us Form a Ring by Nancy Foster. Lovely!
830. Run through the park with a long piece of crepe paper streaming behind you.
831. Hang long pieces of twine from a clothesline and tie different nature items onto them. See how the wind makes them move.
can you add to your wind wall?
832. Draw with your fingers in a big tray of kosher salt.
833. Paint a flower pot for Mother's Day. Put a cheerful marigold in it.
835. Figure out how to make a fist and stick out your thumbs. Then beat on a drum using only your thumbs. Tap with your whole hand - forte! Tap with
pinkies - piano.
836. Go to a gymnastics birthday party. Jump on the trampoline. Slide down a slide into a pool of foam blocks. Hold hands and walk a balance beam.
837. Paint a stick of chalk with water. Draw with it on the sidewalk. Draw on a tarp. Paint the tarp with water to erase the chalk.
838. Go to a farm and watch peacocks running around.
839. Feel a duck egg. Crack it. See how the yolk and white are different from a chicken egg.
840. Look around and see if you already have the animals and props for a fairy tale. I have everything needed for "The Bremen-Town Musicians."
I have the hand-made dog and cat from the Enormous Turnip set by Anne Moze of huttonroad, the
Holztiger running donkey,
the Engelberger pecking hen, a wooden stable from Nova Natural, and
the hand-painted robber peg doll from Anna Davis of
Ana & Mei. Add a green playsilk and the story is ready to tell!
841. Use a simple cotton drawstring bag (I am reusing a "busy bag" from Ana & Mei) to create a tactile
discrimination activity. Use pinking shears to cut pairs of squares of different textured fabrics. See if your child can put her hand in and find the matches without looking.
842. New toys! I got Zac the lovely volcano puzzle
and pterodactyl set from Anna Davis.
843. We still have the bamboo from Zac's old garden tipi (#104) but this year we are placing the end of each bamboo post into a large flower pot. This
will serve to stabilize the structure as he runs in and out more vigorously. It also makes for nice loose soil to plant the morning glory and moonflower
seeds in. This is a great way for your child to watch seeds sprout and plants grow.
His sisters and I are finger knitting colorful yarn to weave in and out of the tipi poles to make a trellis (don't forget to leave space
for an entrance). This year we want to make a rainbow, with a purple stripe at the bottom, then blue, then green, then yellow, then orange, then red at the top!
844. Put smooth river stones in a winding path through your yard. Add a wooden footbridge over this prentend "stream" if you like. A dry streambed
creates a surprising number of opportunities for creative play!
845. An outdoor play kitchen. In its simplest form I've seen black circles stenciled on wooden stumps for "burners." We stenciled a few on a long low bench which
used to hold firewood. Add a few pots and pans, spoons and a whisk and a colander, a dish drainer and some plates and cups, and you are ready for play!
846. Even though he can't weave yet, Zac loves to stretch potholder loops from one side of the loom to the other.
847. Have a large basket of fabric pieces available for play. This is really easy if you know a quilter who is willing to give you her scraps.
848. Have a large basket of colorful wool roving available for play.
849. Use a vintage Boston lever handle three hole punch to cut holes from a piece of colored paper (large motor). Then pick them all up and throw them away (fine motor).
Or collect them for play kitchen food or a mini sensory bin.
850. Arrange the Colorku wooden balls into designs on the wooden board.
851. Sort the Qwirkle wooden pieces
and look for matches.
852. Zac has become interested in playing store. He can count up to six, which pleases him a great deal. He likes to exchange "money" for things. Add
a wooden box to be the till, or even a
a wooden cash register to the playstands or outdoor mud kitchen area.
853. Help shake whipping cream in a jar until you've made butter.
854. Watch a thunderstorm. Read Thunder Bunny.
855. I always read nametags and introduce Zac to our cashier ("This is Miss Janet) or others who help us in a store. Then when we leave we
make sure to say good-bye to them and use their name.
856. Feel a soft fur such as a beaver or mink pelt. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has a "Mammals" bin which we can
check out from the local park or from our library. It is full of furs and skulls. It also has Replitracks
which you can ink and stamp.
857. Use found materials as natural stamps in play dough. The 2 parts cornstarch : 1 part hair conditioner recipe would be good for this.
858. Citrus printing is also simple and smells lovely.
859. Set up an Animal Washing Sensory Play station outside on a warm day. Or even stone washing
with shaving cream and water.
860. Make stone soup with a selection of veggies from the grocery store or farmer's market.
861. It's lots of fun to try painting with your feet. Or tape the paper
up onto the bathroom wall and let your child lie on his back and paint the paper.
862. Set up a tape line walking activity. The garage floor is nice for this.
863. Tea Bag Sensory Bin. And/or try some painting with tea bags!
864. Tape a large piece of a paper to a tree and use block beeswax crayons to do bark rubbings. Do all trees make the same rubbings? Try rubbing
the top of tree stumps too.
865. Starch-and-glue slimes aren't safe to eat so you have to save them until your child is old enough to know NOT to taste the slime recipe. But
this Zebra slime is really cool and it goes well with the finger puppet pattern in
Suzanne Down's Around the World with Finger Puppet Animals (verse on page 47, pattern on page 123).
866. Walk out to the mailbox and check it for mail. Politely say hello to the mail lady when she comes to the house with a package.
867. Help move chairs and sweep the kitchen floor every morning. Wipe down the placemats after every meal.
868. Sweep the front walkway.
869. Draw cheerful welcoming messages on the sidewalk when family and friends come to visit.
870. Use the wooden hammer from the pounding bench to pound wooden golf tees into a cardboard box.
871. Water beads (also, not safe until your children are three) is our latest sensory exploration/fascination. Try water beads and shells for
a simple sensory bin...
872. Or shaving cream and water beads...
873. Or frozen water beads...
874. Or water beads in mud...
875. Stand on a wooden pallet "raft" in your yard and use a stick and string to pretend to go fishing.
876. Watch people fishing and try your hand at casting a rod & reel. Watch waterfowl fly over a lake and glide in for a landing. Watch them take off.
877. Use your facial muscles to raise your eyebrows and lower them.
878. Gallop around like a horse.
879. Modify the dyed rice sensory bin by adding a bit of star shaped pasta, making a Night Sky Sensory Bin.
880. Ivory Soap Explosion...
881. Plus taking an entire roll of toilet paper off of the tube (every child's dream)...
882. And making a batch of Ghost Mud...
883. Then using the toilet paper tube to do TP Roll Haircuts. A nice variation on this is the
Hedgehog Paper Plate.
884. Hard boil a bunch of eggs and let your child practice peeling them.
885. A star hole punch and some paint chips.
886. Let your child help you in the kitchen by snipping off the ends of green beans. Set up three bowls: one with the whole
green beans, one for the ends, and one for the trimmed green beans. It helps to describe them as "noses" and count as your child snips off the noses "one, two." Otherwise
he will snip the beans into oblivion quite happily.
887. Spray bottles of water are one of Zac's favorite things. Spraying Rice Krispies cereal with water
is a really fun thing to do, and you get to hear it make sounds.
888. Painting with water outdoors (the sidewalk, the house, the trees, etc) goes to a whole
new level when you use a paint roller with your water.
889. Combine leaf rubbing with
a watercolor resist.
890. Visit the local Waldorf school (our closest one is in St. Louis MO) for a morning in the early childhood classroom. It's always
beautiful and inspirational to go to a Waldorf school.
891. Revisit the insect sensory bin (#552) using dyed macaroni. Love this as a sensory
table idea! We haven't done macaroni before.
892. Speaking of new ideas, how about Pom Pom Ice Cubes!
893. A wonderful early fairy tale for this age is The Magic Porridge Pot. Act it out by placing a golden silk inside a little cabin
which you've built with Lincoln Logs, and slowly pull the silk out through the window as the porridge overflows in the streets.
894. For the Three Little Pigs, have a collection of straw, a collection of twigs, and a collection of mini bricks from Teifoc (my older
kids are really into these right now, and Zac wants to play with them too, so this is a simple activity that doesn't require mortar and all
that). Make a wall of
each and let your child see if she can blow them down.
895. Pick up a piece of cardboard which has been laying on the grass for several days. Find a small snail underneath. Watch it carefully. Pick
up another piece of cardboard and discover a vibrant ant's nest. Watch the ants quickly and carefully move their babies to a safer spot.
896. Take a nature walk and stop and do yoga poses for the things you see (happy baby, cat, tree, etc.). See something on your walk that there isn't a yoga pose for and go ahead and invent one (wind, bush, etc.).
897. Draw with chalk on cardboard.
898. Make naturally-dyed Dandelion Play Dough.
899. Rainbow Spaghetti!
900. Enjoy a fresh mango and a bowl of yogurt.
901. Some more wooden vehicles from Fagus. We have the car carrier and he loves it, so I got him the tractor, horse trailer, and hay wagon.
902. Pull your vintage red wagon all around the yard. Constantly.
Use it to collect leaves and sticks.
903. For his birthday, I finally purchased a Jonti-Craft Light Box. I'm so excited!!!!
904. Use translucent pattern blocks or colored chips to make designs on the light table.
905. Use the light table to look at vertebrate X rays (fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, mammal).
You can also get a set of invertebrate X rays.
906. Wave to a boy riding by on a bike.
907. Learn how to ride a tricycle.
908. Choose ornaments for the birthday ring.
909. Create a beautiful ribbon tree.
910. Go to the bakery and choose a birthday pie. Invite a friend and her family over for dinner.
Happy Birthday, Zac! We love you so, so much!!!!