One GoTo activity that we have in our apartment is the sensory box! Actually we have a few different ones. Some we combine, some we make off a whim. And what's nice is that they are in easy to store boxes. Not only do they keep everything from being scattered all over the place but they store on the shelves nicely so we forget about them and then months later when we come across them again, it's like a whole new toy!! YEAY for short term memories!!
My all time favorite GoTo sensory bin that we have is our nature one. It includes:
Tree stubs I got from the people who sell us our Xmas tree, Popsicle sticks, scraps of free wool fabric, a while doily, pieces of birch tree bark, a wooden unfinished reindeer ornament, pinecones, a fake flower, sandpaper, and twigs.
Another one that is a big hit is our "beach box!" This pretty much only has sand and oyster shells in it. Sometimes a dinosaur or truck joins in on the fun. (Or some feathers like in this picture)
They are very easy to make. What is great is if your child already has a bunch of small toys, knick knacks, etc. you can make a few different ones, and store them. This helps with clutter too!
Some of our boxes are themed, others just have one or two different types of items. One of V's current favorite has just the tree stumps and Popsicle sticks. Literally that's all that is in the box. Seriously. And he will sit there for 30 minutes fully entertained!
Along with the sensory boxes, we also have "busy bags." They have different things a like a coloring book and crayons, colored pasta and string, and cut shapes to make pictures.
Having these types of activities around the house can help with last minute time savers. I also store all the boxes and bags at Vedder's level so he can easy access them on his own time too.
He likes having options. That's his new thing. "What are my options, mumma?" So storing them on low shelves and drawers makes it easier for him to use them more independently.