I will start this post out by saying I have 5-year-old who still takes naps. I know this is so uncommon. I love that he learned at a really early age how to listen to his body and understand that sleep was what he needed to feel recharged and content again. His little sister is a totally different story. At 3.5-years-old she was fighting naps and then dragging out bedtime for hours. We were all miserable until I introduced the quiet time boxes.
I received a variety of samples to facilitate this post. All ideas are my own. May contain affiliate links.
A quiet time box is a box filled with quiet independent activities that my children can use. We replaced nap time with quiet time and we have never looked back. That being said, it took some time and patience to really get the routine in place. Here are our quiet time rules:
- You have to stay in your room quietly until your timer goes off. (bathroom breaks are allowed.)
- You can choose to do any activity from your box, read a book, or take a nap.
- Your box must look the same at the end of quiet time as the beginning. Everything put away nice a neatly, all crayons in the bag, etc.
That’s It! My kids share a room, but I separate them for quiet time. One in my room, one in theirs. They do quiet time each day for 90 minutes. They each have a timer that lights up and counts down the last 30 minutes of their time, that way they know when they are getting close to being done. The most important thing about these timers is that they don’t make noise when their time is up, if they are asleep I don’t want their timer to wake them up. There are a few different options out there, these are the two that we use, we already had both of them: Zazu Kids Sleep Trainer Alarm Clock and Phillips Wake Up Light.
(snuck a picture from the hallway)
I have 5 quiet time boxes. I rotate their contents every 2 weeks. That means each child gets the same box twice during the rotation. You don’t have to go out and spend a ton of money to start this routine. Look around your house, you will be amazed at how many of these things you already have laying around. Check the dollar spot. I try to invest in one or two high quality products, once a month until you have enough to keep them rotating. Some of my favorite places to shop are Lakeshore Learning, Amazon, Zuliliy, the dollar spot at Target, and the local bookstore. Keep in mind that these activities have to be things that your kids can do independently, or you will constantly have them calling you for help and defeating the purpose of quiet time. Here are what my boxes look like this week with details on all of the included items:
- Smithsonian Magnetic Adventure: Jungle- This fun set includes a 64-page book about the rainforest. Then it has a whole bunch of foam magnets with jungle animals on them. One side of the tin allows you to make a jungle scene, the other side lets you sort the animals into the correct layer of the rainforest. Includes: 1 book, 30 foam magnets, 20 reusable clings.
- Pocket Etch A Sketch
- Pattern Blocks & Cards- This fun set allows you to introduce your kids to early math concepts of patterning, sorting, classifying, and counting. They can use the mats to create complex patterns, or create their own designs without a mat.
- Hear Myself Sound Phone- Let your kids talk, listen and build alphabet skills—with a fun-to-use phone center made for independent practice! Using the book, kids can listen to themselves sounding out words and using their letter knowledge, preparatory to becoming a fluent reader. Includes 28-page book and lightweight plastic phone.
- Magic Board Printing Practice Cards- These handy cards for perfectly onto Lakeshore Learning’s Magic Boards. Just slip the card on top and let your child trace and practice writing letters and words that reinforce letter sounds. Includes: 30 cards- one for each letter and 4 with the whole alphabet. Magic Boards sold separately.
- Slinky Jr.
- Spiral Art Design Center- You remember these from when we were kids, right? Slide in the paper and get to work creating amazing spiral patterns. I love that the carrying case keeps all the parts neat and tidy. Includes: 14 designs tools, 4 color pen, and 20 sheets of paper.
- Safari LTD Toob: Sharks- My kids adore these tubes of hand painted plastic animals and figures. They come in dozens of different themes and the plastic tube they come in is reusable for storage. The Shark Toob includes: a Gray Shark, Leopard Shark, Great White Shark, Whale Shark, Thresher Shark, Spotted Eagle Ray, Blue Shark, Mako Shark, Tiger Shark, and Hammerhead Shark
- GeoStix Activity Set- Let your kids get some hands-on geometry practice with this fun set of GeoStix. They can easily snap these versatile pieces together to practice making and partitioning 2-D shapes. This set includes 200 plastic sticks in 8 different colors and sizes, an activity guide and a divided tray for easy organization.
- Usborne First Dot-To-Dot: Dinosaurs- Your kids can find out which dinosaur is missing from each scene by joining up the numbers 1 to 10, then add the matching name sticker to complete the picture. My kids love these, we have a couple different themes.
- Car Mat and Cars (link to similar)
- Pete The Cat’s Big Doodle & Draw Book- Do your kids love Pete the Cat like mine do? Pete the Cat fans get to play alongside their favorite groovy guy with 128 pages of cool pictures and activities to complete.
- My Busy Books: My Little Pony- These sets are so fun, we have a couple of them. They are great for plane rides too! I love that they close like a book and can easily be stored on a shelf when not in use. Each one comes with a story, 12 figurines, and a play mat.
- Early Math Activity Center Set- This math set gives children fun, hands-on practice with sorting, patterning and counting! Plus, it is so cute! Each mat provides a different activity to focus on using the adorable manipulative elephants. Includes 4 illustrated activity mats, plus 36 easy-grip elephants in 3 sizes and 4 colors.
- Usborne Big Book of Things To Spot- Crammed with thousands of things to find, count and talk about, this bright and busy picture book provides hours of puzzle-solving fun, and also helps develop pre-reading and number skills. I love that your kids do not need to be able to read to use this book. Great for toddlers to do independently.
- Usborne Wipe Clean First Drawing- Great way to let your child practice pen control. Plus they love learning how to draw by putting shapes together. Tip: Hot glue a pom pom to the end of the marker for a built in eraser.
- Smithsonian Sticker Creations: Wildlife- After exploring this amazing book, kids can use the dimensional stickers to create their own wildlife scene and place stickers through the book. Great for any animal lover. Includes a 64-page activity book, five oversized dimensional stickers, and more than 175 reusable stickers.
- Alpha-bots- These never get rotated out of our boxes. My kids ADORE these robots. Ordinary letters one moment…extraordinary robots the next! With a few twists & turns, these cute letters transform into super-cool robots that my kids can’t stop playing with. Includes all 26 letters.
- Smithsonian Early Adventure Level 1- These are the coolest books. Think non-fiction leveled readers. These high interest subjects like animals, vehicles, dinosaurs etc. have been presented in easy to read and comprehend text. My new reader can spend hours pouring over the contents of these books. They have them for every reading level, so for older kids too!
- GeoBoard Design Center- More geometry practice at younger level. These bring back some of my favorite math memories from when I was a child. Kids simply place an illustrated activity mat on a 9″ pegboard…then use rubber bands to build the shapes on the mat! This set includes 4 pegboards, 20 mats, and over 90 rubber bands.
- Lakeshore Magnetic Designer- A fun and colorful way to build hand/eye coordination, kids use the attached wand to move colorful magnetic disks around the board. When they want to start over they simply give the board a shake. Fun with no clean up! Very sturdy and durable.
- Usborne Wipe-Clean: Alphabet- The same as the drawing one featured earlier, this wipe clean book features alphabet writing prompts. Don’t forget to glue on that pom pom to use as an eraser!
- My Busy Books: The Good Dinosaur- Also the same as the one featured above, this cute set features your favorite from The Good Dinosaur. Includes a story book, 12 figurines, and a play mat.
- Mellissa and Doug Lacing Cards- Identify shapes and animals while practicing your lacing skills. Great Fine motor skills! Set includes 5 double-sided, wooden shapes with color-coordinated laces.
- Guinness Book of World Records: Biggest and Smallest- My kids can;t get enough of looking at the pictures in Guinness Book of World Records books. It is so funny to hear them talk about the crazy things that they find in there. (I look through these books before hand to make sure they are appropriate for my kids ages.)
At the end of quiet time my boxes are easily stored on the floor of the closet at the end of the hall. My kids cannot use these contents of these boxes outside of quiet time. It keeps them new and exciting.
Have you ever tried quiet time? Which one of these activities would keep your kids busy for hours?