Quiet time boxes have become an essential part of maintaining my sanity as a mother. Read on to see how, and what we use for our boxes!
Nap time is definitely a part of the day that parents rely on. You either get a break, or you get to catch up on some of the household chores that have been staring you in the face all day. Either way, those couple of hours are so needed!
I also find that its invaluable to me to have some time to myself every day. Even if I’m washing dishes during it. I know a lot of you mamas get up early for some alone time, and I envy you! Alas, I cannot make myself get up earlier than my 7am toddler body slam wake up call.
This contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission for any purchases made through them.
But what do you do when your toddler doesn’t want to nap anymore? Enter: quiet time! Except, if your kids are anything like mine, they don’t want to do quiet time. So where does that leave us?
Option 1- a screaming toddler, nobody is happy. Option 2- toddler is quiet, but is also destroying their bedroom. Mom is very unhappy. Option 3- stick ’em in front of the TV, everyone seems happy, BUT….
What if there was a better option? Being that there are recommended screen time restrictions, I try to come up with other ways to entertain the kids if possible. That way, if I’m feeling exhausted or overwhelmed at the end of the day, I haven’t used up my TV time already.
So, what to do instead? Quiet time activity boxes.
I have a box of toys set aside that Lulu is only allowed to play with during quiet time. She can choose a few items each day. She usually wants some books, a stuffed animal, and one other activity. I’ve seen others that had a box for each day of the week. Whatever works!
This helps to keep her entertained because the toys feel more special. It also allows for a much more productive time if you give them purposeful toys to play with, rather than leaving them to their own devices which will undoubtedly result in MASS DESTRUCTION.
Lulu turned 3 in January, so she’s not entirely done with napping yet, but getting there. Another reason I am so in favor of the quiet time is because it puts her in her room, playing calmly, where she can choose to take a nap if needed that day. That way there isn’t a struggle of, “OK you’re extra crabby right now, I think you need a nap.” “Nooooo I dont want to nap!!!” *crying ensues* *the neighbors dog starts barking* *in the distance, sirens*
I think I can speak for all of us when I say it’s just best to avoid that situation. If it’s still routine to have a quiet time, then you won’t have to guess as to whether they need a nap that day, and they won’t feel like they’re being punished on the days they do need one.
Here’s a list of some items we have in our quiet time boxes and others that I would love to add to our collection someday. I purposely didn’t include a bunch of homemade toys, because we just want them to be quiet dang it! Not trying to win any Pinterest Mom awards over here lol. Let the quiet time commence!!
This is by far our favorite quiet time activity. Lulu never does quiet time without at least one book! We mainly borrow books from the library or buy them from book sales, but eventually I hope to get a beautiful collection of a classic like this one!
2. Journal/coloring book
If they can be trusted with crayons or colored pencils, this can be a great way to quietly stimulate their imagination. Look for posts to come on journaling with your preschooler!
3. Toy figurines
We have these little toy horses that are only allowed during quiet time, partly because some are too small to have out when Baby Bear is around. Great time to bust out the non-baby friendly toys! We found the little horses at a garage sale, but a huge selection of animal figurines and many others can be found pretty easily!
4. Chunky Wooden Puzzles
5. Lacing Cards
Great way to work on those fine motor skills. The kiddos got these from grandma at Christmas last year and they love them!
My daughter loves to draw, and this way she can draw as much as she wants with no concern of a mess. This is the one we have and love, an updated version of the classic!
7. Busy Books
These are awesome and have a variety of activities to keep them entertained. There are SO many variations, and tons of tutorials to make your own!
This one highlights different career ideas and has a wide variety of activities in it. Lulu plays with it a lot!
8. Sticker or Stamp Book
Seriously, why do kids love stickers so much?? Melissa and Doug have sweet sticker books that have huge selections.
9. Beads and Pipe Cleaners
Not my first choice because of the potential for beads to get everywhere. But if her room is otherwise clean (and therefore easy to spot rogue beads) then I’ll let her play with these from time to time. The pipe cleaners are fun alone, too!
10. Shape Sorters
lf your child can build without getting too rowdy and knocking them over loudly, blocks can be a great creativity builder! (Pun intended haha)
12. Skills Puzzle Boards
These are awesome for kiddos working on buckles, snaps, zippers etc. Lulu loved learning the skills included on this cute bear board.
My kids have SO much fun driving little cars all around. We have special ones Lulu can only use for quiet time to make it seem more fun. She loves to run the cars along the side of her bed. When my son gets to this age I imagine cars will be a main attraction for him since he is obsessed with all vehicles!
14. Learning mats/books
They can practice numbers, spelling, and drawing over and over again with these dry erase mats! We use this one to work on writing letters and numbers.
15. Mr. Potato Head
We recently got one of these classics and my kids are obsessed with making different faces!
16. Stuffed Animals
Lulu doesn’t really have any lovies that she needs for sleep, but she does cycle through stuffed animals that she takes everywhere with her. More days than not I hear her in bed pretending to be her stuffed animal’s mom, and doing her other quiet time activities with her beloved stuffed animal. This week it has been her monkey!
17. Family Photo Album or Scrapbook
This definitely depends on how reliable your child is to NOT tear things apart. If you can trust them to look through nicely, or maybe even get a more durable album like this one to put pics in just for them, this is such a wonderful pastime.
My daughter loves looking at pictures of our family, and boy does she LOVE looking at pictures of herself haha! But really, it’s so sweet how much kids enjoy seeing pictures from when they were younger, or even pictures of you and your spouse from before they were born!
There are so many other ideas you can put in their quiet time boxes. I personally don’t use many learning activities for quiet time because I prefer to do that together. But if there’s something your child understands but could work on some more, definitely encourage them to try it while on their own during this time!
This is also a great time for them to work on their fine motor skills, especially since we aren’t right there to step in when they don’t get it right away. (Guilty!)
Pin for later!
For more ideas on keeping your kids entertained, check out this post on ways to use household items for play! Do you have daily quiet time boxes for your kids?