As parents, we all know how important a child’s naptime is (for everyone’s sanity)! It’s the time of day when I drop my to-do list and dedicate the time to myself. Did that mean sometimes I just sat quietly staring out the window with a bowl of guacamole? Sure does. But as the kids spent more and more time at home without a nap, we needed to start incorporating quiet time. Here are the best quiet-time activities and toys for kids.
RELATED: Wait! How do I set up a quiet time for kids? Here is the ultimate guide on how to set up quiet time for kids.
Some notes on quiet time
I hear repeatedly that parents feel doomed once kids drop their naps. That sacred time we once had comes to a screeching halt once our child protests or no longer goes to be at night. But it doesn’t have to be terrible, and you don’t have to lose your favorite part of the day. (this is where you trust this lady on the internet after a Google search)
Incorporating quiet time activities is important to offer toddlers and preschoolers the downtime they need to reset for the rest of the day. And truthfully, quiet time for kids gives you the much-needed mid-day coffee break you deserve!
If this is your first time setting up downtime, start with this guide how to start with this ultimate guide to quiet time.
Craving a calmer morning?
Breakfast Invitations are simple learning games to begin the day with play.
Introducing quiet time can feel overwhelming at first. But it doesn’t need to be. A successful quiet time comprises SIMPLE and OPEN-ENDED toys. Quiet time activities should offer the freedom to play and create independently while giving your child the space to rest and refuel.
Feeling lost on how to set up a successful quiet time for your child? In this article, I will share the best quiet time activities and toys for kids.
RELATED: I wrote this startup guide to create more joy at home with toddlers and preschoolers.
Quiet time is important!
Scheduling downtime for your child is essential. Quiet time for toddlers, preschoolers, and beyond is an important way to offer your child a dedicated space in their daily routine to reset their mind, body, and energy for the rest of the day.
All humans need to reset to be the best version of themselves. Especially us parents who are overworked, exhausted, and dealing with parent burnout.
Wait! How do I start quiet time?
I am here to share the ultimate guide for quiet time for kids to help set everyone up for success. Yep. That downtime you almost lost will meet you soon on the couch.
Cleveland Clinic researchers suggest that taking mindful breaks from playing, working, and doing all things can offer so many benefits:
- Boosts performance
- Enhances concentration
- Improves mood
- Increases focus and attention
Most importantly, quiet time makes our brains work more efficiently!
TAKEAWAY: Quiet time for your kids is just as good for you as it is for them.
What can kids do during quiet time?
We know the idea of quiet time is good for all of us. But, actually, setting up quiet time can feel overwhelming and leave you with many questions, most notably: what quiet time activities are good for my child?
There are many different types of quiet time activities and ideas for kids. And sometimes, it can feel confusing where to start.
Lost on ideas?
Try some of these favorite no-fail, simple, and independent quiet-time activity ideas:
- A Parent’s Guide to Busy Bags
- Breakfast invitations
- Coloring books
- Fine motor skills activities
- Imagination/pretend play
- Open-ended toys
- Sticker activities
Quiet time activities, toys, & ideas
Setting your toddler up with simple, accessible, safe toys for positive, quiet time is easy! And don’t worry. No stuffed animals were harmed in the quiet time activity shown above. Here, he tested how he could slide them across the floor without falling off.
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Preschooler toys for quiet time
Keeping your preschooler engaged and stimulated while getting some downtime may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s simpler than you think! Offer your preschooler a few easy-to-grab toys for quiet time to keep them engaged and calm.
RELATED: Where do the toys go? Here are our solutions for toy storage.
You’ve heard me say it a million times. I love Plus Plus BIG size. We purchased a pack five years ago and I watch my boys play with them daily. They come in pastel or bold color packs.
What is it about a dry-erase marker that still has my heart? I am not sure, but I know that kids feel the same. Save these boards and a few colorful markers for special occasion quiet time.
These large screws and bolts are terrific for small hands to practice hand-eye coordination and spend some time alone. Place the separated pieces in a quiet time basket.
My younger boys LOVE these easy mazes to unwind. This Highlights maze book is a good choice for toddlers and preschoolers.
We LOVE colored tape over here. The boys create forts in their rooms, make art on cardboard, and find ways to use this tape that would never have crossed my mind. This is a simple gift that will go a long way!
This sticker pad is also a blast! Play seek and find for your next Breakfast Invitation or take on the go to a restaurant. We love seeing the images and matching them with stickers.
This ice cream set takes the lead. Scoop the flavors or explore toppings for independent playtime. My four-year-old enjoys playing with this set.
Mega Bloks are a lot like Duplos. The best part? Toss these Mega Bloks in the bath and have an afternoon activity. Mega Bloks are simple toys that your toddler will play with for open-ended play.
Which alphabet toy is my favorite? This one. Here, children learn how letters are made up of lines and curves. This is a winner!
BIG Kids quiet time activities
I find the best time for my big kids to have quiet time is before bedtime. We take showers, read books, and say goodnight around the same time as when they were younger. The difference is that instead of turning off the lights, they can stay up and unwind independently. This independent routine is part of our bedtime routine.
Here are the toys my children play with most often for their quiet time.
Who knew you could play Tetris without a screen?! This game checks almost every box – it’s creative, has many problems to be solved, can be played together or solo, and as a parent of a certain age, the nostalgia factor makes me smile. You can combine these with additional sets or blocks for a new experience.
You will have to trust me when I say your child needs a click counter. It sparks all sorts of child lead play, and this six-pack is perfect for your home and birthday gifts.
Remember Tetris? This is a great quiet time activity or time together. This collection has 72 pieces and puzzles perfect for teaching problem-solving and patterning activities. This is also an excellent math brain game for spatial awareness and is great for kids.
This map book prompted much discussion about where our family would like to travel and new places to learn more about. My boys love using their downtime to read (flip through) this book.
Get this book of mazes. Too blunt? It is a huge hit here and is well-loved.
One of my favorite quiet time memories is walking into my oldest room, where he shared the videos he made on his camera. This is a terrific first video camera to explore videography.
Scratch and sketch is a good book for your young artist. Use the wooden pen to scrap away the black and discover the color underneath.
The boys got their hands on a label maker, and it has been a trip! An entertaining way to spend time at home.
Warning: if you are anything like me, your kid is about to know much more about electricity than you ever wanted. As easy to use as LEGOs, this is a new world of experiments that range from simple to complex and encourage critical thinking at every turn.
Simplify Quiet Time
Quiet time is so important for your child. Don’t feel stressed or guilty about quiet time for your child. It’s quite the opposite.
If you are confused or overwhelmed by how to get started, don’t be! Less is more. Simplify the process. Helping your child choose appropriate activities and toys to play with during their quiet time is a great way to set up a positive break in the day. Utilizing ideas, activities and toys that you already have on hand is a simple and efficient way to set up a successful downtime for your child.
More quiet time activities and ideas
Looking for more activities, toys & ideas to enhance your toddler’s independent play? Here are the best toys for kids we’ve played with for years.
Looking for more activities, toys & ideas to enhance your preschooler’s independent play?
- 101+ Preschool Activities
- 50 Math Activities for Preschoolers
- 30+ Preschool Scavenger Hunts
- 25+ Cutting Activities for Preschoolers
- Alphabet Toys for Kids
Once your child is familiar and comfortable with what quiet time is, their imagination will run free. Quiet time activities can help to build their confidence and their ability to play independently and feel rested for the second half of the day.
Best of all: you get the break you deserve. Quiet time is a total win-win!
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Quiet time is a time set aside, typically mid-day, that replaces naptime. Your child can use their quiet time to play, create and rest their body. There are many ways your child can entertain themselves with appropriate quiet time activities and toys.
Set your toddler up with toys and activities that promote open-ended and imaginative play. Building, coloring, and stickers are all simple, accessible, and safe choices for your toddler during quiet time.
Preschoolers are like sponges. They are at the beginning stage of learning so their minds constantly want to think and explore. You can help your preschooler focus and relax during their quiet time with toys and activities that involve ABC and 123 engagement, sorting, building, and imaginative play.