My oldest gave up her nap right before she turned 3, and it was a dark day in our home. Like many other moms before me, I mourned the loss of that blessed time of peace and quiet. But in the interest of my sanity and goodwill, I quickly rallied and instituted an alternative: daily quiet time.
Whether she falls asleep or not, my daughter has to stay in her room (usually for about an hour) while her younger brother takes his afternoon nap. Some days this goes quite well and she plays by herself. Other days, she is a master of creating excuses to leave her room no fewer than 50 times to tell me she’s bored/needs a snack/wants to watch TV. To prevent this, I’ve become a connoisseur of quiet time activities, always looking for things to help encourage her to rest or play on her own.
Here are my top 25 quiet time activities:
- Books. We make a weekly trip to the library, so we always have new picture books to peruse.
- Podcasts for kids or Audible. My kids use their Echo Dots to listen to these. Some of our family favorites include the Circle Round podcast and the Stories podcast. Story Party on Audible is also a huge hit. Books on CD are a great alternative.
- “Special” quiet time toys. These are toys that are only brought out for quiet time such as Calico Critters for the dollhouse, a tiny tea set, train set, etc.
- Blocks. This can include all sorts of things like bristle blocks, Magnatiles, Duplos/Legos, and Block Buddies.
- Coloring. We love Grab and Go Play Packs and Crayola’s Mess-Free markers and coloring pages.
- Melissa and Doug mess-free glitter.
- Paint with water and Water Wow! pads.
- Cheap craft kits from Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Target, or Michael’s. I’m always keeping an eye out for age-appropriate crafts that I can save for later.
- Lacing cards.
- Me Readers.
- Play-Doh, Playfoam, or slime. I supervise these, but they never fail to provide a good hour of entertainment.
- Kinetic sand with trucks or animals (another supervised activity).
- Lite Brite.
- Magnetic doodle board or Etch-a-Sketch.
- Magnetic or wooden dress-up dolls.
- Finger puppets.
- Dry erase activity books. Usborne has some great ones.
- Stickers or sticker mosaic books. Both of my kids are perfectly happy with putting 8 billion stickers on a sheet of paper.
- Magnetic play sets.
- TOOB creatures.
- Gears, pegs, and other STEM toys.
- Wikki Stix.
- Do A Dot Art! markers and activity books or printables (check Pinterest for tons of free ones).