Fine motor practice is essential for toddlers - it helps lead to better pencil grip and pre-writing skills later in life. My boys are Montessori educated, both at school and at home, which devotes numerous activities to the sharpening of fine motor skills. This activity has been a favorite of all three of my boys, it costs next to nothing to make, and will keep them entertained for hours!
I started with an empty yogurt spread tub and a dozen wooden disks (also called wooden nickels). I stamped the wooden disks in pairs so that we can also use them to play memory match (I used StazOn permanent solvent ink). Cut a small opening in the lid of the tub, and let your child practice picking them up and putting them in the tub over and over and over again!
Always a hit! (Love those mismatched socks? He picked 'em out himself haha!) A quick coat of plastic-bonding spray paint will make your tub look prettier, but is not necessary. I painted mine simply because this guy kept thinking we were going to make toast and butter every time I took it out for him!
I love knowing that my kids are gaining necessary skills through play, especially when those play things are Mommy-made!