Quiet time bins and busy bags are all the craze right now. If you look on blogs or Pinterest, you are sure to see a wide variety of them. In the past when I've seen pictures of them, I've thought they were a great idea but they also seemed like a lot of effort on my part. So I stored the idea for a later time.
Recently, these quiet time boxes have been on my mind more and more. My boys no longer take naps...for that matter they don't even have "quiet time" in their rooms. With our electronics becoming overused and the weather too hot for much outside time, I began to see the value of a ready made activity box that they could use independently. So I jumped on this idea and within one day was able to put together 6 quiet time boxes for Old Crow and 6 for Crazy Horse.
Step 1: I went to Walmart and bought plastic containers. I wanted them to be large enough to hold bulky items like puzzles, but not too big to cause a storage problem. Walmart had these containers in packages of 2 so I bought 6 blue ones for Old Crow and 6 clear ones for Crazy Horse. While different colors aren't necessary, they help to quickly identify whose boxes belong to who. It also makes it easier when loading them with activities.
Step 2: I began to look through all of the fun activities and learning games we have in the house. Some I had previously bought to use with homeschooling and we just never had time to get to them regularly. I didn't have to purchase anything new to fill the boxes. I put 3-4 activities in each box and they were all things we had around the house. Loved it! I was so happy at the thought of the learning games we already had being put to use.
Here's a look at what I packed in the boxes (and what I have ready to switch out in 1-2 weeks):
File folder games already made...shapes, colors, numbers, phonics, etc.
Assortment of small toy animals
Legos or blocks with a task card...build a bridge, make this pattern, etc.
Felt picnic: each food bagged separately
Travel size Aqua Doodle
Crayons and coloring book
Deck of cards
Fabric world map
Find It games (or make your own)
Peek-a-boo bags (or make your own)
Colored paper clips to match with colored paint strips
And tons of activities/games from our unit studies last year.
Step 3: I printed number cards to attach to each box. Some pictures of quiet time boxes show Monday, Tuesday, etc. on each box. Most likely, these will not be used everyday of the week so I chose numbers instead. Then I found a permanent location to keep the boxes. This closet between the boys' bedrooms is a perfect place.
Step 4: Let the fun begin. :) The first day we brought our boxes down to the living room and worked through them together.
I explained the rules:
1. everything that comes out of a bag goes back in the bag
2. play with whatever you want as long as you want
3. if you want to climb into bed that is fine. ;)
Ideally, these will be used in their own bedrooms while Memphis Belle is napping. It will give them time alone to rest their bodies. If they want to play with something in their room that is fine. This isn't a requirement. :) Although, they are excited about the "surprises" in their box.
It will also be a perfect solution to rainy day boredom. They can bring them downstairs, and we can all play them together. The beauty is that they can be used in many ways and places.