Being on the go with a baby-in-tow was always something I was able to handle easily, thankfully. (I mean all this gossip about baby Aleph crying in a restaurant? He's a baby; you're a Mama. It happens!) With a newborn - you simply put them to the breast. With a baby - you break out a little squeaky toy, or a cookie and all tears have left the building. But a 3 and half year old? This takes some more-than-simple tactics, skillfully executed to specifically meet the needs of the child-in-tantrum.
For now, and I'm certain this will constantly need to be on rotation, we've found Tegu blocks - and they work their magic! We use them in doctor office waiting rooms, restaurants, Shul, dining at friends homes, long car rides, even! Her pout melts away and she happily sits and plays, building everything from dinosaurs to rainbows, and proudly showing her creations to anyone who will look her way. :)
I think the trick to toys-on-the-go that actually succeed in taking your child from meltdown to manageable is to never, ever let them play with these toys any other time, and especially not at home!
When I was growing up, my parents had some built-in storage installed in our basement playroom and had majority of our toys stashed inside them. We only got to play with toys on rotation - us kids would pick out new toys each month and the previous ones would go back into storage. It was like having a toy store in my basement!! I always felt like I was getting new toys, and it kept us busy since we never got tired out and "bored" of the same toys.
(Freida built a "bed". Not bad, little lady. Not bad at all. :)
I also discovered that bringing along tiny little versions of her favorite books seemed to be helpful as well. Firstly, she thought they were super cute little "baby books", and just loved looking through the itty-bitty familiar illustrations. But mostly, since I picked books she has heard thousands of times, she is able to "read" them aloud to her little sister - freeing up even more time for me to enjoy my fish & chips in peace! :)
What about you? What kind of tricks and tips do you have up your sleeve when it comes to dealing with preschoolers in public? Please share, as I'm sure mine will get old soon!!