They are two simple items, each I am going to guess you too had growing up; a coloring book and a box of crayons. I don't know why, but when we came home Christmas day, I packed them away. Not really thinking it through, I put them up in her closet and thought when she is a little older we will take them out. It wasn't until a couple weekends ago, when she was tugging at my pant leg for attention that a light bulb went off and I thought "the crayons!". I sat her up in her highchair, opened the Hello Kitty coloring book and handed her a few crayons. I was astounded when she started coloring!! I have no idea why I stashed in her closet for the last two months?? Why didn't I think that my 20 month old would be interested in scribbling all over the faces of Hello Kitties. (sorry if that is not the proper terminology of Hello Kitty, but we are still stuck on The Wonder Pets, I am sure in just a few months, I will be you local subject matter expert on the Hello Kitty.)
Come to find out, she loves to color. She is mostly interested in getting more crayons, I only give her a few at a time, she will scribble with one then motion for me with her little hand for another. It is so fun to watch her experiment with the colors, watch her flip through the pages, with each one evaluating its artistic relevance before leaving her signature mark. Once she finds a worthy page she will scribble, color, grab at the paper, laugh, color, and then flip to another page.
I remember when my niece was little, my sister-in-law would mail me and my husband pictures that she had colored, I loved getting them in the mail and would hang them on my refrigerator for all to see. So after E was done with this session of coloring, I extracted a few of the most colorful pictures and mailed them to my parents.
So if you have a little one running around and you don't know what else to do to entertain them, grab some crayons and a coloring book, they will love it. I will warn you though, they will try, who am I kidding, they will EAT the crayons, throw the crayons, try to feed them to their dog, they will crumple the pages, rip out the pages and try, again with the kidding, they will EAT the paper.
But perhaps the best part of this whole experience has been for me. A learning experience that in her life, I should never underestimate her abilities, because she will, most likely, prove me wrong.