Before I was a mom, I was a developmental therapist for kids (0-3) with special needs. I also worked with a bunch of other therapists and we all had our "bag of tricks" of stuff we would use for therapy. This is one of them. Like the title says, it's not pretty but very functional. I took a plastic container I had and cut a slit on the lid. Then, I got some poker chips that I found in the dollar spot at Target a few months ago, on clearance no less, for about 70 cents! The object is to push the poker chips through the slit. This little activity is good for fine motor skills, problem solving skills, eye-hand coordination skills, and a good activity for increasing attention span. I would recommend this activity kids about 10 months-18months. This way, they're past the "everything straight to the mouth" stage but aren't at the "this is so easy, I'm bored" stage. This little can of coins has come in handy in restaurants, at church and for Blanket Time. For little guys, like mine, it may take you sitting with him to try and figure it out a few times before he takes to it himself. If he doesn't feel success, then he'll never like it. I also did the same thing with an old can of formula and marbles. Just cut an "X" on the lid instead of just one slit (you MUST ALWAYS supervise this one however).
How much did this one cost me? 70 cents!!!! You can't beat that. And if you did want to make it pretty, you could just mod podge some nice paper to it. But, the way I see it, Isaac didn't look up and say, "I'm only gonna play with this if it has nice paper around it."