- Tape - clear, for repairing books; packing, for repairing puzzle box bottoms. You will certainly encounter many more items that need taping - these are just the things on my "frequently repaired with tape" list. Notice I left off duct tape - it's only needed by men for on-the-fly repairs and boys of scouting age who are using it for the duct tape wallet craft.
- Batteries - lots of them, in all different sizes. More AAAs than anything, but also AAAs, Ds, Cs, and the occasional 9 volt. NOTE: If your toys don't sing, dance, read aloud, flash, or need a remote to perform, skip this one - but I bet you think this should be at the top of the list.
- Screwdrivers - assorted sizes. You will need them to replace all of the batteries, since every battery cover screws on. It's a great safety feature - especially since kids think batteries are a delicacy. I use a Phillips head (the "not flat" one) and a mini Phillips most often. Of course, you probably need a flat head, too - toy companies are always throwing you a curve ball - it's entertainment for their R&D departments. Note: You can get a great set of mini screwdrivers (3 flat and 3 Phillips head) from Walgreens for about 2 bucks right now. Another note: DO NOT get a cordless screwdriver. Although it's convenient, you'll just have more batteries to change.
- Pliers - needle nose and regular. Toys need some interesting repairs.
- Valium - For after you fix all of the toys, install all-new batteries, and listen to the singing, flashing, buzzing, dancing toys, and your child's gleeful giggles and squeals.
So, what's most important? Screwdrivers, batteries, a sense of humor - and perhaps some earplugs.