I agree that rhythm is the #1 thing you can do to get started. A solid rhythm will make mothering so much easier.
I like all the ideas above from the pp. Singing is great, even for gentle transitions if you can familiarize them with a special song--there are songs for putting mittens on, taking walks, nap/bedtime etc. then you don't have to over talk to the child.
There are so many beautiful and expensive W. toys, but you don't need to buy any of them. Especially for a child under three. A great book to find is Toymaking with Children by Freya Jaffke. The gives examples of which toys are good for which ages, and then there are directions on how to make them. It is great for the children to see you doing handwork (actually any sort of work of the day) The most favorite of all my children's toys are the ones that are handmade.
Examples for toys for the first year are: soft cloth (cotton or silks), cradle doll (simple knotted doll), felt ball, wooden spoon, blocks of wood with rounded corners, strong basket, empty box with lid.
I would focus on getting outside every day. It's the being in nature that is so powerful. Once the child is a little older it is the physical movement in nature that they need so much of--walking, skipping, hopping, climbing, digging, etc.