I'll take this as a good opportunity to share with you the Little Man's bag of toy goodies with explanation:
- cloth embroidered bag -it is distinctively for baby, doesn't make noise like plastic, can be washed when too dirty and has a draw string to keep it all in. I've left this bag on a plane before (by accident because we were trying to get to a connecting flight) and when we arrived in our new plane we realized we forgot and begged the crew to call and see if they could find it. The desk agent said, "People loose toys all the time -we really can't tell what stuff is yours." When I described the bag they found it straight away and drove it to our new flight -this is why it pays to have this bag (or any other distinctive bag)! Purchased at Fragonard in Paris.
- Toy plane -comes with lights and sound for when they need to be distracted. Can be purchased on almost any flight (trust me it is worth the money)
- Matryoshka dolls (aka nesting dolls) -any cheap set will do. If you're in Moscow they will cost you about 10 US Dollars or less on the street. They are good for playing where is the paper wad or for making a rattle. Take only 2 dolls so that you can keep track of the pieces.
- Soft small ugly ball -once you get to your destination or any open space you can watch them run around
- Magna Doodle -or any magnetic board for quiet and no mess fun. Show them how to draw or play tic tac toe
- Small board books -if all else fails have them pick out stuff and invent their own story
- Giotto Bebe crayons - these little wooden crayons beat the pants off of traditional crayons because they don't melt (good for when you go to the Middle East or anywhere else with strong sun). The color is better and it comes with a sharpener that really works. Can be purchased in Italy. If you can't get them then take only 3 crayons -red, blue and yellow so that you can avoid too much of a mess and to keep track of them.
- Clay (or play dough) -when all else fails make a little worms and then use these cheap fake scissors to cut them up with.
- A bus or car -anything with wheels because children like to push things around (hey, better this than you right?)
- A cheap pencil case (with zipper) to keep cheap pads of paper from your hotel and the crayons. This is also a good distraction to see a toddler try and open the zipper.
I've shown you mine now tell me what would you pack?