Add A Little – 1 Year Old Curriculum – Unit 2


Vocabulary: Pillow, Soft, Container, Put In

Disclaimer: All activities require adult supervision and discretion. Read more…

Let’s Wiggle

Pillow Mountain


  • Large thick blankets
  • Pillows
  • Open floor space
  • Optional: Giant stuffed animals (if entirely soft)
  • Optional: Couch cushions, etc.
  • Optional: Foam mats, exercise mats and/or similar


  • Clear a large floor space by removing any hard objects, including any tables or chairs that have hard legs which could pose a bumping hazard.
  • Place any mats on the floor.
  • Spread your largest blanket on top of the mats (this will help keep everything else from sliding, especially on hard floors).
  • Spread any other thick blankets you have on top.
  • Heap all your pillows and giant stuffed animals on top of the middle of the blankets.

Let’s Play:

  • Lead by example. Climb onto the pillow mountain. Roll around enjoying the softness.
  • Encourage your toddler to join you.
  • Have fun tumbling around on the mountain.

Let’s Explore

Pieces of Nature


  • Two bowls or containers, etc.
  • 3-7 items from outside that are taste-safe and not choking hazards, consider:
    • Pine cones
    • Flowers (taste-safe only)
    • Rocks (too big to choke on)
    • Leaves


  • Clear an area for playing on the floor
  • Place one bowl with all the objects on the floor.
  • Place the other bowl beside it.

Let’s Play:

  • Model how to pick an item from the first bowl, examine it, and put it in the second bowl.
  • Encourage your child to explore the items.

Let’s Sing

She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain

Let’s Read


Author: Jaye Garnett

Illustrator: Ariel Silverstein

Note: For 1 year olds, read as a point and name book.

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Let’s Sing

Christian Song

My God is So Big

Words and Actions for “My God is So Big”



I looked out the window as we sped along the highway. We’d left the forests and fruitful prairies of southern Alberta behind.

I stared across the barren hills of Montana. Even wild grass struggled to thrive here. There was not a house or building in sight.

This desolate landscape continued for mile after mile.

It changed, however, when the highway joined paths with the beginnings of the Missouri River.

As we zipped along the river valley, I observed lush trees and thriving farmland.

We drove past house after house clustered at the river’s edge. People were out on boats or busy tending their farms.

When I looked at the hills beyond the valley, I saw the same dry barren countryside with hardly a house to be found. Yet everywhere in the valley I saw vibrant colors of thriving plants and human habitation.

I marveled at the difference plentiful water makes. Good water is life-giving.

Then, hours later, we arrived in Yellowstone National Park.

(For those unfamiliar with the park, it is an area of the United States with volcanic history. Now, rather than lava, boiling water gurgles or sprays through holes in the ground. The water comes mixed with sulfur. The well-known geyser, Old Faithful, is only one of the many phenomenons to be witnessed.)

As we drove through the forests of Yellowstone National Park, I noticed a column of steam rising in the distance. As we got closer, we could see sputters of water bursting from the ground.

The runoff from this geyser poured over scaly white ground to a pool.

The steaming water from a nearby spring left orange build up where it trickled to join the pool.

I glanced at the trees in the area. They were ugly skeletons of branches. Not a speck of green could be found on them. They were bleached white and dead – oh so very dead.

As we drove on, we again passed through good forest with strong healthy trees interrupted by the occasional meadow of thick wild grass.

“Look! Bison.” I called as we came across another clearing.

The giant animals were grazing peacefully.

But then the landscape changed once again. Ugly skeleton trees stood ridged.

I looked around. Sure enough there was a nearby geyser spouting its venomous water.

Some days later, as we drove homeward, I pondered the things I’d seen.

I came to the question, “What type of water is flowing through me?”

Jesus offers Living Water (John 4).

That Living Water is like the river in Montana. Everywhere the river goes it brings life and abundance.

It doesn’t matter that the terrain the river cuts through is dry and barren – hardly habitable for humans. The river brings life with it.

Have I received that Living Water from Jesus today? Am I filled with it?

If I am filled with that Living Water, it will spill over bringing hope and encouragement to those around me.

Sometimes, however, I choose to do what the people of Israel did in Jeremiah’s day.

God declared: “They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves…” (Jeremiah 2:13b CSB)

When I choose to try to do things myself rather than receiving the help God wants to give me, I quickly become like those geysers and springs in Yellowstone.

The water spouting from them is not life-giving. Regardless of how clear it may appear, it is venomous. It sucks the life out of nearby trees.

Indeed, the Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone has pools hot and acidic enough to melt through rubber boots and more.

So what will I choose today? Will I lean into Jesus to be filled with His Living Water, or will I try to do things on my own?


Add A Little – 1 Year Old Curriculum – Unit 1

Open and Shut

Vocabulary: Open, Shut, Hiding, Lid

Disclaimer: All activities require adult supervision and discretion. Read more…

Let’s Wiggle

Big Box Hide and Seek


  • One or two of your child’s favourite toys
  • One cardboard box big enough for your child’s favourite toy to fit in
  • Or (even better) one cardboard box big enough for your child to hide in


  • Consider making the box easier for your child to open and close. To do this, remove two of the flaps from the opening leaving only the largest two flaps.
  • Place your child’s favourite toy in the box.

Time to Play:

  • Open the box just enough for your child to see that their toy is hiding inside, then encourage them to open it and retrieve their toy.
  • Laugh with your child while making the toy say, “Boo!”
  • Place another toy in the box for your child to find.


  • If you have a big box, encourage your child to crawl into the box and pop out saying, “Boo!”

Let’s Explore

Lids and Containers


  • Various non-breakable containers and lids. Consider recyclable items such as:
    • Yogurt container with lid
    • Cream cheese container with lid
    • Grated parmesan cheese container with lid
    • Box with lid
    • Cookie tin with lid
  • Tips:
    • The lids don’t have to be the originals. Rather look for something that is easy to place on top of the container without becoming stuck.
    • Beware of lids that are small enough to be choking hazards.


  • Place various containers with matching lids on the ground.

Time to Play:

  • Sit down with your child and show them which lids go with which containers.
  • Encourage them to try.

Let’s Sing

Open and Shut Them

Let’s Read

Where’s Spot

Eric Hill

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Let’s Sing a

Christian Song

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

Words and Actions for He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

A pot with steam rising from it beside the title "Cool Down"


I turned the burner off and gave the sauce a final stir. A savoury aroma wafted up.

Opening the cupboard, I pulled out a small plate and scooped a little sauce onto it. I set this “cooling plate” on the table.

I glanced at my little one as she happily stacked tuna cans in the corner.

“Almost time for supper.”

I set two trivets on the table followed by plates and cutlery.

Using oven mitts, I pulled the rice out of the cooker and set it on a trivet. I paused to scoop a little rice onto the small plate.

I set the sauce on the other trivet, then filled the glasses with fresh water.

“Okay,” I said, turning to my little one, “let’s put away the cans and sit in your seat for supper.”

I helped her stack the cans in the cupboard. I lifted her into her seat and buckled her in.

My husband fetched the bib for our little one as I set her water on her tray.

We took our seats and paused for a moment to pray.

After the “amen”, I touched a finger to the food on the small plate.

“It’s ready for you,” I said to my little one as I scooped some onto her tray.

I laughed as she eagerly dug in, shovelling a handful into her mouth.

Later that evening, having finished our meal and put our little one to bed, I realized that I could be similar to the food set aside to cool for my little one.

How do I cool the food for my little one? By separating it from the rest. Otherwise, it would still be far too hot for her to eat.

As a Christian, I am to be on fire for Jesus, not a useless lukewarm (Revelation 3:15-16).

When I separate a small amount of food out for my little one, it cools to room temperature much faster than if I had left it in the pot. The same happens to me as a Christian.When I separate the food for my little one, I spread it as thin as possible on the “cooling plate”. Why? Because if I leave it in a heap, it will take longer to cool. When I get separated out and don’t stay in touch with other Christians, I cool off. I lose my excitement and depth in my walk with Jesus.

I typically don’t notice this cooling down. I can’t feel it because it happens so slowly, so subtly, but it does happen.

Surely this is why, in Hebrews 10:24-25, we are told not to neglect gathering together.

When we as Christians remain in fellowship together, going to church, participating in small groups, and engaging with other Christians, we are far less likely to cool off in our faith.

You keep me accountable. Hopefully, I help keep you inspired. We help each other keep from cooling off.

If I want to stay on fire for Jesus, it is vital that I stay connected with the church – with other believers who know and love Jesus. I must regularly attend a Bible-believing church.

On the days I’m feeling distracted or just worn down by life, connecting with other Christians is critical. It is as soon as I stop attending church – as soon as I stop connecting with other Christians – that I am at great risk of cooling down in my own faith.

So today may I remain intentional to be connected with other Christians. May I not cool down, but stay on fire for Jesus. For He is worthy and the joy and peace He gives only comes when I’m walking close with Him.

May I engage with other Christians with the mindset given in Hebrews 10, that my aim might be to warm others up.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25 NIV)


Add A Little – 1 Year Old Curriculum – Intro

Parent / Teacher Guide



Why name a curriculum “Add A Little”? Because that’s exactly what this curriculum is designed to do – add a little enhancement to your child’s development by providing ideas and activities for you to do with them. This light curriculum was developed with the busy parent or caretaker in mind. It is divided into monthly units of repeatable activities.


Activities For 1 Year Olds

Every 1 year old develops at a different pace. The Add A Little 1 Year Old Curriculum is designed to be easily adapted to your toddler’s developmental level and interests. Units 1-5 target children aged 12-18 months while units 6-10 focus more on activities of interest to children aged 18-23 months. Units 11-12 are optional Christmas and Easter themed units designed to hold appeal for ages 12-23 months.

Check out the Tips for Success below.



To keep things easier for you, most of the materials used in the Add A Little 1 Year Old Curriculum are things you likely already have or can access inexpensively. Some activities call for recyclables. If you don’t already, I recommend washing and collecting various recyclable items since they can make excellent toys. More specifically, recyclable materials you will need this year include:

  • Paper towel tube (or a couple of toilet paper tubes)
  • One aluminum pie tin or similar (holes in it are fine)
  • Several plastic containers with lids from things such as yogurt, margarine, grated parmesan cheese, or cream cheese
    • (Watch out for lids that are too small, thus creating a choking hazard.)
  • Cardboard boxes, including one big one
  • One clean egg carton


Each Unit Includes:


Each month, all activities will be loosely based around an age-appropriate theme.



Try to find opportunities to incorporate the suggested vocabulary words throughout the month so that your child can learn to recognize them.


Let’s Wiggle

These activities involve full-body movements. Your child will strengthen their big muscles (gross motor muscles) and improve their coordination. Did you know that exercise and big movements are important for brain development too?


Let’s Explore

Here you will provide your child with an opportunity to investigate and manipulate intriguing materials. These activities often involve hand-eye coordination and smaller muscle strengthening (fine motor muscles).


Let’s Sing

Music is an important part of brain development and it’s fun! Each unit will include one suggested simple song. Sing this song often throughout the month so your child can learn it.

Want more songs or don’t like one of the suggested songs? Check out this list of songs including classics and originals:


Let’s Read

Being read to is an important pre-reading experience. Books also help expand your child’s vocabulary and general knowledge base. If you don’t have the book I recommend, you could check with your library or buy it. If you don’t want to buy the book, no problem. Try searching for something similar at your local library.

Here are some tips for finding good books.

Also, check out my board of recommended books for toddlers:


Let’s Sing A Christian Song

Each unit includes a bonus Christian song suggestion for those who are interested. Not your thing? That’s fine. Feel free to skip over this part. Want more Christian songs? Visit:


Tips For Success When Using Add A Little Curriculum

How do I get my child to participate in the activities?

  • Model Then Encourage

    • One year olds love to copy. If your child doesn’t immediately engage in an activity, sit down and do it yourself for a few minutes.
    • Once you’ve set an example of how to participate, encourage your child to join you. Try handing them one of the pieces. Cheer for them when they do join in.
    • If they still don’t want to join in, don’t sweat it. Put the activity aside and assess what their reason for not engaging might be (tired, hungry, feeling too wiggly, etc.). Try the activity again in a few days.
  • Adapt

    • Every child is different. That is perhaps never more true than when considering 1 year olds. Some one year olds can walk, others can’t yet. Some can talk, others just aren’t there yet. Some put everything in their mouth, others rarely put anything in their mouth. You know your circumstance and your child’s abilities and interests. Take a moment to consider the suggested activity, then adapt it to your own situation.
  • Repeat

    • 1 year olds thrive on repeated activities with slight tweaks to give them just a little more to explore each time. While the Add A Little curriculum only provides two activities in each unit, these activities could be repeated several times throughout the month, and during the following months as well.
  • Less Is More

    • Did you know that young children play better with less toys at a time? Try putting away most of their toys before attempting to engage them in a new activity. Putting most of their toys away also allows you to do toy rotation. If you haven’t tried toy rotation, read this article . You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to your child’s play.



All activities require adult supervision and discretion.

Every aspect of the Add A Little Curriculum is suggested with the expectation that it will be done under adult supervision. Some activities include potential hazards. You and your child(ren) participate at your own discretion.

Every child, family, setting, and circumstance is different. Recommended tips and/or activities in this curriculum may work well for some children but not for others. Adult discretion is required. In some cases, you will need to adapt the curriculum to fit you and your child(ren)’s specific needs.


Want More? 

Do you want to receive notification of each new unit of the Add A Little 1 Year Old Curriculum when it is released? Join S. J. Little’s preschool email list today.



Helpful Links

Smoother Transitions:

Choosing Excellent Books

Big List of Simple Preschool Songs

Toy Rotation

Preschool, Playschool; Daycare, Day Home, What’s the Difference?