On the subject of toys, my boys have a set of flash cards that I love. That is saying something, since I'm not much of a flash card kind of mom. They are called Early Learning Fun Flash Cards. T picked them out on a trip to the Tattered Cover one day. They are great for families with several kids, since they cover several levels. They start with simple alphabet and color cards, and work up to phonics and sight words. My 5 year old uses the front half, my 7 year old uses the last half.
Oh yeah...If you run of of paint, mix evaporated milk and food coloring. You can add flour if you want it thicker. It makes really pretty non-toxic paint. The best part is that it dries super shiny. The kids love that.
One more thing I was asked to blog about and keep forgetting to....If your kids are afraid of monsters in their room, the only thing I've thought of that actually works is Monster Juice. Buy an empty squirt bottle, fill it with water and add a strong scented essential oil. (The best ones I've found are Sage and Hecate. Sage has a really strong scent that won't bother most people, and is used for spiritual cleansing. Hecate works a little better, though harder to find. You have to go to an apothecary store, or a Wiccan store. It works better because it's red, has a distinct smell, and is specifically used for protecting children and the elderly. For some reason the kids respond to the smell.)
Print a label on your computer that says Monster Juice, so it looks official, and give it to you kid at bedtime. Explain to him that monsters hate this stuff, or it kills them, or whatever you want (because we all know you can tell them monster don't exist 'til you're blue in the face and they'll never believe it) and let your kid squirt it wherever they think the monsters are. Then let them take the bottle into bed with them in case they need it in the middle of the night. My sons soaked the closet and the ceiling every single night. I think it works because they are doing it, they are managing their fear. It's empowering. The strong scent really helps, too. They smell it working while they go to sleep.