On the days that weren't filled with meetings we tried to stick to a loose schedule centered around mealtimes. In the mornings, before breakfast, we would simply be making beds, straightening up, getting dressed - that kind of thing. After breakfast we would brush our teeth, and because it was still chilly where we were we would plan something to do inside. After lunch we tried to get outside to play if it was nice. We ALL had naps or quiet time. After naps we would go outside again, watch a movie or do something inside. After dinner we watched a movie, did something quiet inside or bathed the kids.
Basically, I tried to categorize our time. We had movie time, outdoor time, nap time, play dough time, book time, meal time, craft time, and so on. It helped me and our kids to have a rudimentary schedule. Don't feel bad about having movie time every single day with multiple movies! I think it helps the kids to have that down time and I KNOW that we needed it - maybe more then them.
Here is a list of some of the things we brought that I am glad we did!
Play dough. Personally, it drives me batty cleaning up dried play dough on the floor and table, but it certainly occupies a lot of time, and the children really enjoy it! When the play dough decreased enough to combine it into fewer containers the kids did all sorts of things with the empty ones - stacked them, filled them, played in the dirt with them.
Crayons/coloring books. For the older kids we did bring some washable markers.
Crafts. We ordered from Oriental Trading Co. The kids really liked doing all the crafts. I didn't do one each day, but every few days when I was at my wits end and needed things to calm down some. Good ones to do include ones where you can put their names on them or make a handprint. We hung them everywhere - in the kitchen, in the living room, by their beds. They had beaded necklaces with a cross or an airplane that they enjoyed wearing. Don't forget to bring the right glue, tape and scissors (kid scissors!)
Paper. Plain old blank paper. We colored on it. Folded it. Cut it.
Blow up toy/ball. Easy to pack. Easy to throw away.
Movies - Bring a nice variety - Leap Frog videos are fun and educational.
A few small matchbox cars
A few very easy children's books - I translated these into Spanish and wrote how to pronounce the words right on each page. The kids LOVED me struggling to read these to them in their language. I think I did a pretty good job of it! I would have enjoyed doing this for our Chinese adoption also, but I hadn't thought of it then.
We gave each of the children a backpack when we met them. They had a box of animal crackers, a small toy like a car, and a stuffed animal to call their own. They only came to us with the clothes on their backs and later we were given a small photo album of each of them.
Back at the place where we were staying they had all the clothing we had brought for them. They were beyond excited about them. I felt really bad when the footy pajamas we brought did not fit our oldest, but they did all the others - or the tennis shoes! We told him we had footy pj's back home for him, but he was still moody and upset about it any time the other boys wore theirs (we did have non-footy pj's also) - so a word of advice from me is save the footy pj's for home! As for the shoes, he just had to wear the ones he came to us in until we got home. They were pretty nice ones thankfully.
Our Colombians did NOT know how to share. The five of them had been in 3 separate foster homes. They only saw one another occasionally. It was easiest all around if we kept "community toys" instead of individually owned toys. Back home, they had another stuffed animal on their beds waiting for them, their beds with all the wonderful bedding and another small toy for each of them to call their own. (Now, of course they have more things to call their own, but it is still very limited, and our focus is still on group play). They had other toys, but they were everyone's toys. The toy kitchen, the puzzles, the cars, the legos... all designed for imaginative play and group play.
I hope some of this helps if you are in the process of adopting!