Have I told you I am totally addicted to Pinterest? Well I am, and I am not afraid to admit it. I have found some great ideas on there and this one is no different. I saw this pin about quite time bins over on the blog The View From 5’5”.
Immediately my mind started working and I couldn’t believe that we did not have this in our house. My kids still take naps most days but in the evening about 30 minutes before bed we have quite time where they get a chance to wind down from the day and mom and dad also get a chance to just sit in quietness to recover from the day (mainly mom). The problem had become that my youngest would just sit and whine, call for you, or ask for things. My daughter would sit in her door way and torment her brother. All of this led to loud time instead of quite time.
So out I went and built my own quite boxes.
I went to the local dollar store on the hunt for boxes and things to fill them with. I was lucky and found these small boxes that open at the top. What I love about them is that they don’t have a lid that is removable and both my kids can open and close them on their own. Which means we are always able to close them at the end of the night without a hunt for the lid.
Then I found the cutest days of the week labels over at Lesson Plan SOS. I printed these off, cut them out, ran them through my sticker machine, and placed then on each box. I made a set for my 2 year old and my 4 year old, since they are both developmental in different places. I then tried to pick out not just toys but things that they could do that would work on some of their fine motor skills, reading, writing, and other skills that I would like them to work on.
I also tried to only include 2-3 things per box so that they were not overwhelmed by the possibilities. They only play with them for 20-30 minutes and then all the things go back in the box till next week. These are not things that they play with every day because I don’t want them to lose interest in them quickly. I plan on changing the items in the boxes as they grow or if the items are not holding their interest any more. These can also be great for kids that don’t take naps but need the down time in their day.
Here is an example of one of the boxes for my son. It has a small board book that I got in a 2 pack at the dollar store and a bunch of foam blocks. The foam blocks I found on the craft aisle. He enjoyed stacking them and sorting them by color.
This box is also for my son and it had another small board book, a set of cards that have different objects on them, and some interlocking shapes. Both of my kids love cards. They could play with them for hours so these are a big hit as well.
The interlocking shapes I found on the party aisle and are a ton of fun to link into chains. I got a set for both of my kids because I knew they would be a huge hit for both of them.
Both of my kids got beads and pipe cleaners in a bin. These are great for my son because it is working on his fine motor skills. My daughter loves to make patters right now and so these are also great for her. What I love about the pipe cleaners is that the beads don’t slide off of the other side like string does.
I found this great dry erase board book for my daughter. It is working on numbers. There is room to trace and write all the numbers up to 30. It also has pages in which you count the item and write the number. There is also a page for basic addition and subtraction which she is not to yet but will be good practice in the future. I included a dry erase marker and a rag for her to wipe the book clean when she is done. Old socks or socks that are missing a partner also work great.
I also gave my 4 year old daughter a 100 piece puzzle, an activity book and crayons, as well as a set of stencils and a pad of paper in some of her other boxes.
A couple of great tips for these bins:
~ Things that make a lot of noise might not be a good choice. I tried to stay away from electronics and other toys that make a lot of noise.
~ Make sure you place things that your child can do with out assistance.
~ Try not to include toys they play with every day. You want this to be a special treat so that it holds their interest longer.
~ Look for items you already have in your house to get your bins started. You can add to them as you find things.
~ Remember to keep it fun! Don’t force your child to play with them, you want this to be a fun thing for them.
Here are some great ideas for your quite time bins:
~ Magnetic Dolls
~ Lacing Boards
~ Lincoln Logs
~ Mini Etch-A-Sketch
~ crayons and coloring or activity book
~ small puzzles
~ counting items
~ Clothespins or clips for them to clip on the edge of the box or to playing cards
The possibilities are endless so be creative, we all know that sometimes the things kids have the most fun with are the most unconventional!