These quiet time boxes are great for exactly that-quiet time!
A lot of these activities were played with by my daughter when she was about 20 months old but to be honest she may have got more out of it at a younger age. Some of the activities could be used for real wee ones. You know your child, you’ll judge it. If they’re not interested just wait a month or two.
The idea is that you fill the box with fun exploratory items to entertain in a calm and quiet way. These were great on ‘no nap’ days [and there have been plenty of those] or for when you have to ring the car insurance people, wash up, have a coffee break…
These quiet time boxes are easy to make as a lot of the activities can be made from items from your cupboards.
Fill up an old jam jar with rice or pulses then hunt around your house for fun objects to hide in the rice. [Note. Do not put in a favourite toy. My minou was a little distraught to find one of her Sylvanian babies trapped behind glass].
You can make this look much cuter by dying the rice different colours. I made another that had layered rainbow colours. Just plop the rice into some food colouring and then leave to dry.
The other one is an old vitamin tub filled with rice for a soft rain sound.
The glass bottles were coffee syrups in their former life. Originally there were 3 but they have been loved and played with so I can only locate 2 after much rummaging.
1 → food colouring water with oil, from your food cupboards. When shaken it forms bubbles and globules.
2 → food colouring water with glitter and a little glycerine so that the glitter slowly tumbles down, snow globe style.
3 → food colouring water with washing up liquid. When shaken it gives a little foamy top.
These are great for learning cause and effect. Without a doubt these were worth the effort. They are still regularly played with over a year on as medicine, food and many other things I can’t decipher whilst watching her imaginative play.
Remember to superglue the lids down! Otherwise disaster and mess will ensue.
Raid your nearest DIY shop for paint sample cards and over a glass of wine, cut and stick onto pegs. Great for fine motor skills. As you can see these have been used quite a bit and as our quiet time boxes have evolved into general play only a few pegs remain.
Again go on a rummage and find any old make up bags etc that you have no use for. I bought one at a £ shop and the other came with a magazine with a nail set. These are great as they can proudly master zips, buttons and poppers all in their own time. Plus they get to stuff them full with favourite collections and bits of fluff [?!, yes, vacuuming is low on my list of priorities].
Pasta and Shoelaces
Buy penne pasta and a pair of shoe laces. Minou spent ages threading pasta onto laces [make sure you tie a big knot or button on the end so it won’t fall straight off]. She would be SO proud of herself. She really delighted in it. fantastic for hand eye coordination and fine motor skills. The Early Learning Centre sell pots of big buttons and thread.
I added a selection of wooden people. Some with different facial expressions and others plain so she could decide and change their feelings as she played.
Paint Pots & Pompoms/Tubs & Pipe Cleaners
Can you tell we love pompoms here!
These are great as there is a little hole for pushing all the pompoms into the pot. Another variation we had was a Pringles tub with holes in the lid [made with a hole punch] with a selection of pipe cleaners. Bliss. She loved this too. She found it so satisfying to pop each pipe cleaner into the hole. I even colour coded the hole with permanent pen around the edge with corresponding pipe cleaners.
→ the Minou went through a phase of loving a pocket sized A-Z of London. She would pour over the pages and become a little sat nav. Turning to the back, finding a street name and confidently turning to any map page to locate said road. She would read out all sorts of facts and fiction from those pages. Darling to watch and listen to.
→ A magnifying glass. Endless fun. [Except when your face is being inspected at such close proximity]. Again I think I picked up a ready good one at the £ shop.
→ A mirror. A little pocket sized one. Great for exploring their own little face and discovering its reflective capabilities.
→ Story pebbles.
→Matching cards. Tiger always seem to have a selection. Great for foundation English and maths skills.
→ Stacking solider. Our was a little solider made up of wooden blocks that had to be stacked onto a pole. She loved this. There is the plastic ring alternative.
→ A selection of wooden blocks to build cities and homes.
→ zoo animals.
→ small pad and crayon.
→ Every box had a book.
Some of the boxes had a theme such as animals.
Note. Mirrors, story pebbles and small parts should be monitored as you don’t want trips to A&E during ‘quiet time’!
She loved these boxes and sometimes would ask if it was ‘quiet time, box time’. My tip is to only get them out for quiet time that way they get a little play and stay exciting and interesting. In addition I had several boxes so that I could alternate them each day ensuring novelty.
Have you made any? What are in your quiet time boxes?