Gather a little baggie full of different types of noodles and dried beans. Ask your child to sort them. You can sort by type, color, size, texture, etc.
This sounds so simple, but it so great. For one thing, it kept my 4 year old occupied for about 20 minutes. She sorted everything into its own pile, then I had her count how many were in each pile and decide which one had the most and the least. I also asked her about what the different objects felt like.
Here are things kids learn from sorting:
1. Recognizing things that have similar qualities. This will help with pattern recognition and math skills later.
2. They have to use fine motor skills to pick up the objects and place them in piles. This will help with developing muscles for writing.
3. If you talk to your kid while doing this activity, you will be able to review concepts like more/less, counting, and vocabulary (discussing the textures).
Best of all, if your kid gets excited about sorting, maybe they can take on the job of pairing up all the socks in your laundry!