I found this wonderful idea from The Wonder Years. We used salt which works just as well as sand and was more readily available. Andy had such fun choosing a few things at our local craft store and finding things around the house to pop into his bottle. It is one of his favourite toys. He rolls it over and over seeing what he can spy next. Things we included were a bell, a feather, some pom-poms, some shaped buttons e.g. flower, a little Lego soldier, some eye's (the ones you put on toys with the eye ball that moves), beads, etc.
After we made it he came to me out of his own and said "Mommy, I love my toy so much, thank you!" He appreciates homemade toys so much more than bought ones. What a lovely result to a little love and effort.
Some things he is enjoying this afternoon... his I Spy Bottle, tonging large pom-poms and spooning pasta bows with a large mussel shell...
He built a church with his wooden blocks and was very proud of himself and so was I. :) He's at this very moment having very lengthy conversations between his wooden blocks pretending they are different family members.