We have started to learn how to scribble, so putting the colored pencils into a juice bottle was a fun way to clean up. This kept him busy for several minutes. He still bit a couple of the pencils, but at least he couldn't eat them like he can crayons. We talked about the colors of the pencils while he transferred them.
Buttons! I have a large button collection and he's been eyeing my jars for awhile. He dropped an old mason jar the other day and spilled out the buttons and he didn't eat them! After that I figured it was safe to pull them out to play with. He liked to pick them up and look at them then put them back into the jar.
Nope, this balloon weight doesn't fit!
He still brought a few buttons to his mouth, but he didn't put them in. I watched him like a hawk anyway. We talked about the colors, the appearance (sparkly, shiny, etc.) and I did some color sorting. He couldn't have cared less about the color sorting, but he seemed to love playing with the buttons. He's been bringing me a jar to open and explore every day now.
These activities worked on hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and colors.