Always keep a toy bag (surprise bag) handy for all ages!

For babies
I have a little bag done up for each of my children based on their age with appropriate toys, games and entertainment. The bags live in my office and I use them when I need to distract my children and get their attention away from other things (like during a trip to the shops or for an appointment).
For example when I need to prepare dinner and I need something "new", I grab the bag and place it down close by so I can keep an eye on them and they can play happily.

I started this when my first child was about 9 months old. She had begun walking and no longer was able to just hang out in a bouncer, so I made up a little bag that I could carry from room to room while I needed to do little jobs.

Great to take on car trips, shopping trips, doctors appointments, when you need a shower, or to get some house chores done or even just to give yourself 15 minutes time out to have a cuppa and some cake.

Because the toys in the bag aren't things the kids see all day everyday, its a great novelty when you grab out their "toy bag" or "surprise bag". Every couple of weeks I swap the toys around and when I'm at a discount store, I will pick up a couple of new things to add for a treat.

In my toddlers bag I have:
  • Puzzles
  • Matching cards (pairs games)
  • Mr. Potato Head
  • Notepad and a few crayons
  • A cuddly teddy bear
  • Toy cars
  • I keep it all in a cotton bag with draw string
In my babies bag I have:
  • Rattles
  • Mini cardboard books
  • Soft material books
  • Squeaky toys
  • Musical toy
  • A cuddly teddy bear
For pre-school age you can have:
  • Colouring books
  • Activity books
  • Textas (markers) and pencils
  • Kids card games
  • Puzzles
  • Toy cars