I think, if you want to get all pedagogical, this is a Montessori thing. But no matter what your flavor of children's educational philosophy is, it is most definitely a "good thing".
Take a basket. Fill with random household objects that are not choking hazards. Hours of free baby fun!
For example, right now the Kiddo's basket contains two handkerchiefs (one for play, one cause mama thinks it's funny to put him in a doo-rag and say "arrrrr!" like a pirate); a medal from Sweet Husband's half-marathon; a wooden spoon (the hands down favorite); an old sock; a box that some jewelry came in; a bottle coozie; a paper carton from some cherry tomatoes; some beads; a finger puppet; a small teddy bear; a pull toy that used to be mine; a tightly wound ball of yarn; and a discovery bottle (the Kid made his at daycare, but it doesn't have water in it like the one at the link--that just seems like a spill waiting to happen, yes?).
Seriously, best toy we've found yet. And did I mention it was free, made entirely from junk around the house?
Eventually, the internets say we need to rotate objects in and out to maintain his interest, but it hasn't really even been a problem yet. Yay for curiosity baskets!