Use beads to practice patterns.
This one should have been more obvious to me, but it wasn't until Norah pointed to one of the patterns her bead kit provided and said, "I want to do this one!" that I realized we could use her beads to practice making patterns, counting, etc.
She loves to play with these, but she always seems to bring them out at the wrong times. I am not sure what these little things are called or where we got them, exactly, but they are available in craft sections and stores everywhere, so I am sure most moms have seen them.
You put the little plastic pieces on the tray in whatever design you choose, cover them with wax paper and melt them with a hot iron. I've hated these for a while now and I've regretted the purchase, because the little pieces tend of fall off very easily and go all over the place and it is tedious to have to pull the iron and ironing board out and heat it up to finish the projects for Norah. But, I have a new-found love for these beads.
Norah wants to try to copy even more of the patterns and since they are teaching her to count, repeat patterns and concentrate, they're growing on me.