This little man loves his tractors, and backhoes, and bulldozers and whatever big machinery you can think of. He is always looking for things to load into his play trucks. I grabbed some beans that I keep just for play (cost about $2 dollars at the grocery store) and poured them into a pan for him. He has played with this for days on end. Loading, dumping, pushing. using his fine motor skills, problem solving, learning cause and effect, involving all his senses. Who knew a bag of beans and some toy tractors could be educational. It may look like he is only "playing" but he is learning, with every push, dump and scoop. By the way, this little man is almost 2, in case you were wondering. My almost 6 year old had almost as fun as the 2 year old.
I store my "play" beans in recycled Gatorade bottles. This is how I store my other items such as colored rice and pasta, aquarium rocks and whatever else we use in our sensory tubs. It is easy to see what is in them and they line up nicely on the shelf. You can also just let the kids play with the full bottles, with the lids tightly on.