My little one was completely smitten with this small wooden vessel that I thrifted for $2. Right away he placed it on the table in front of him, out of the wrapped paper, and pulled off the lid. He looked inside, and actually pretended to pick something up out of it, then looked at me. I laughed inside because I knew what he was thinking, "uh mama shouldn't there be something inside? or no just imagine?" I asked him if he wanted to place something inside. He answered "uh huh, yes!" with a smile. So I cut a few stickers and handed them to him. He placed them inside and then proceeded to open and close and carry the vessel around, looking carefully inside at the stickers each time. He would sometimes remove all of them and place them on the table, then again one by one return them to their storage. This will be a fun item to add to the Montessori space I am putting together for him at home. It is a great way to exercise fine motor skills in grasping the small lid and placing it carefully onto the bowl. Inside it might house something to count.
This reminded me of how little ones tend to love the box that the toy comes in or the pots and pans that are in your kitchen versus the toy ones. My boys have always been fascinated with a small jewelry box that sits on my nightstand. It is often the unexpected item or the item that you use as an adult that becomes of interest to the child. Obviously not everything in our home is play worthy or safe for a toddler, but it might be a surprise what you could find. Something as simple as a wooden vessel could spark curiosity. I figure if his interest is fleeting, it only cost me $2 and can serve other purposes. We all know toys and educational supplies can top that in cost, even a box of washable crayons is double the price.
And look how perfectly the small vessel fits into those baby hands!