Make an indoor sandbox using beans! I bought an assortment of dried beans and an under-the-bed container. I gathered and saved all sorts of scoops, containers, and funnels (soda bottles cut off) from around the house. I placed a big tablecloth on the floor and I have two simple rules: 1) No throwing beans and 2) Try to keep the beans on the tablecloth.
Use them for sorting by color for 2- to 4-year-olds.
Use them for counting to 100 and beyond for 5- to 6-year-olds.
Use them for learning about fractions. For example: If you use 1/4 cup and scoop beans into a 1 cup measure, how many 1/4 cups does it take to make 1 cup?