Here are examples of an Activity Jar that I made. Yours will be different. I have included photos of a few sorting activities based on the contents of my jar.
The Activity Jar Leave your container about 75% full to make clean-up easier. Do not include items that may be broken easily during use. Be creative in the types of objects you include.
The contents of my jar, poured into a large cookie sheet. You can see some buttons sorted out on the table behind the pan. There are more buttons still in the pan. Buttons by themselves can offer many sorting opportunities–linear shapes (square, round, etc.), 3-D shapes (cube, sphere, etc.), colors, shanks v. sew-throughs, number of holes in sew-throughs, materials (glass, plastic, wood, metal, etc.), patterns on the top, single v. multiple colors or materials or patterns, etc.
Game Tokens made up a large segment of the disk-shaped items. These tokens have ridges. This group of items could be used to teach many math concepts: addition (How many of each color? How many total?), subtraction (How many will be left if you remove one color?), fractions & percents (This color is what part of the total?)
Now make your own Activity Jar. Any type of container can be used, but a secure lid is essential, and see-through sides are a bonus. Fill it with items from everywhere in your home, basement, and garage–not just toys. Use only larger items if toddlers will be in danger of swallowing objects.