Toddlers love to empty and fill containers, so to keep my little one busy, I made a toy from an old formula can. (Any container with a plastic lid will do.)
I washed and dried the container, and then cut a smallish hole in the lid. Then I looked for something small, but not too small that could be easily dropped inside. Obviously, you don't don't want your toddler playing with a choking hazard. Use your judgement here, please! Clothespins fit the bill at my house, but you could also use pom poms, balled up paper, or large dried noodles.
I set the container in front of my daughter with the pile of clothespins next to her, and demonstrated a few times that I could drop them inside. The clothespins make a nice ting sound which is pretty fun too. My little one LOVED dropping each clothespin in. This activity proved to be just right - not too easy, not too hard. When full, the container turns into an awesome shaker or drum.
Once I realized that this toy would be sticking around for a bit at my house, I decided to cover the can with some paper and packing tape. It looks a bit nicer than a can of formula sitting on my shelf.
There you have it! An easy and simple way to entertain a toddler.