I have a 5 yo, a 3 yo and a 1 yo.. My mothering has definitely changed a lot from my first to my third, I allow my third a LOT more freedom than my first. I was always scared with my first she was going to get hurt but now I realized that kids are smarter than we give them credit for
Things my kids do/did from 1-2:
help with dishes/kitchen chores.. Im totally comfortable with them standing next to me while I wash dishes or helping me unload a dishwasher. The only time one of them has come close to falling I was right there to catch them. To me its safer than letting them crawl around/walk around while I did the dishes.
Anything that required dumping or stiring they helped with
If I was kneeding dough on the counter they can sit next to the dough and "help" me kneed.
By 18 months they could all use a dull knife to cut veggies/fruits.. Now at 3 and 5 my older two can use sharp knifes under my supervision.
Playing outside in the rain (properly dressed, of course, and only if there was no thunderstorms)
Playing in the mud puddles
bird "watching" (or in their case bird chasing )
Reading a TON of books
My middle LOVED story time at the library at that age, my oldest not so much
They all loved/love building towers, especially if they could knock them down afterwards
A lot of song singing.. a lot of finger play
playdough and cookie cutters
fingerpaint, easel painting, "drawing" (I use the term loosely ), anything else involving creating things
Alot of free play, they still get a TON of free play.. Hey! You are only a kid once!
I keep a low shelf full of cans for them to stack and unstack
Dress up, my oldest thought it was great fun to dress up in my clothing and her daddy's uniforms.
A bowl with rice, a measuring cup and a couple of empty bowls.. This kept them occupied for a while
Anything that I was doing around the house they were allowed to do along side me.. Laundry, picking up, taking care of pets, cleaning out the car etc.
Im sure there is more but I have kids jumping on me trying to get my attention.