One of my favorite years of teaching was when I worked in a Montessori School in Houston for a year. This was one of the BEST learning years EVER!
Montessori schools have an incredible method- the children learn at different paces as they are ready. It teaches incredible (but VERY soft, loving) discipline, sets high academic expectations, and allows the children to be taught at their own pace- not at the teacher's!
While I don't agree with every single Montessori practice (I don't usually agree with every single practice from ANYthing), there are a LOT of wonderful things about Montessori schools. I think so highly of them that our plan is to put Jay in one for preschool before he attends public school.
Anyway, one of the simplest "jobs" in a Montessori classroom is Take and Put. The child learns to take something from one container and put it in another. As the child becomes more advanced, so does the job. Items get harder, you use tongs or other utensils to practice more fine motor, etc...
So we set up a little Take and Put workstation for Jay at my parents' house on their kitchen floor with containers and cheerios. He seriously sat and did this for FIFTEEN minutes! My child has NEVER sat and done ANYTHING for fifteen minutes. This is an on the go kid. I was shocked at how long he was able to focus on this task. And how much he loved it!
Here is a minute long video showing how SIMPLE this is- and for you stay at home mommies that need an activity with your baby- here you go!