When you don't have a pen and paper, introduce your preschooler to technology. I normally carry a notebook and pencil in my purse so my daughter can doodle if we get stuck in a long line or dressing room, but the other day an impromptu trip to the mall turned into an hour of waiting while my husband got fitted for suits. Though my purse was loaded with items to entertain an almost-2-year-old, my son slept and my daughter wasn't all that interested in toying around his Hot Wheels.

She is, however, learning to write the alphabet, so I handed her my BlackBerry, opened the memo setting, and asked her to write her name and age. Then, we killed time and sharpened her letter recognition skills by identifying different letters and numbers from the keyboard. And, of course, I taught her how to make a happy face!