How to a Make Quiet Time Kit for Your Toddler

By Crystal Ladwig, Ph. D.
Toddler making craft

Ask any toddler mom how she feels about quiet time, and you’ll likely get similar reactions: a mix of sighs, “I wish,” and “Wouldn’t that be nice.” Toddlers are naturally curious and active, often leaving parents tired and wishing for more quiet time. Yes, naps are great, and we love the break, but quiet times aren’t just good for weary parents. They’re great for children’s development, too!

Why does my toddler need quiet time?

Quiet time play can occur anywhere, any time and with any age- appropriate materials. But it helps if you’re prepared. If possible, prepare three to five boxed kits to use at home. Switch them out every two to three days to keep them interested. Prepare two to three more (in zippered pencil pouches) to keep in the car. These are great to use in restaurants, doctor’s offices and other times when you need your child to wait quietly. Always stay close to supervise. If they’re playing quietly, just do what you need to do. If they want you to play, too, then follow their lead.

What’s In a Quiet Time Kit?

Short answer…anything age-appropriate that your toddler can play with quietly, independently and without harm (watch for choking hazards). You’ll find many supplies around your house already or with a quick trip to a dollar store. Include items that your child is interested in or that develop specific skills.

Here are a few favorite activities/materials:

  • A picture book or a small photo album
  • Coloring pages and crayons
  • Craft supplies: large buttons (some are specifically made large enough for young children), pipe cleaners, colored popsicle sticks, clothes pins, ribbons and empty water bottles
  • Stringing: toilet paper tubes, pool (or edible) noodles, yarn or rope; crazy straws and felt shapes with holes in the center
  • Sensory: sealed water bottle containing water, glitter and vegetable oil; play dough, silly putty or slime in a bag
  • Pinching (helps with writing later) – tongs and egg carton/ cupcake pan and items to put in it; plastic colander to put pipe cleaners in for a silly hat
  • Sorting/Matching – cups and popsicle sticks with colors, numbers or letters of their name on them; could use tongs for this; paint samples (at least two of each color)
  • Building – Cut pool noodles (or similar material); plastic cups of different sizes; blocks
  • Puzzles – paint samples or old photos cut into two to three pieces
  • Toys – stuffed animals, toy cars, etc.

Get Creative!

Toddlers are great at creating their own play, too. Give them a sheet of contact paper and let them stick on as much as they want to create collages. Laminate photos of family members and give children yarn or play dough to add hair. Use the box, too. Knot different kinds of ribbon, string or pipe cleaners through holes for children to pull. Most of all, encourage your child to have fun while they learn during quiet time!

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