Use a few simple materials (contact paper, construction paper, and pom poms!) to have some sticky learning time! Adding the element of a vertical surface can completely transform skills such as patterning and sorting!
Building blocks can be used for sorting by shapes and colors, toddlers can also build during pretend play. According to the monthly theme base curriculum blocks can be enhanced by using copied pictures and contact paper of items that tie into the them.
~Remembering that fine motor skills in infants is very rudimentary at first, when I think fine I think coloring and painting, but first she has to be able to hold the crayons etc - Fine Motor Developmental Activities for Infants
Activities to Enhance Cognitive Development: 18-24 Months
These simple activities suggested by Jamie Loehr and Jen Meyers, authors of "Raising Your Child" are easy to play in the car, or while doing everyday chores, and will help your child develop her cognitive abilities.