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Routines help our days go smoothly, and help us get a lot done. Whenever we try to just “wing it”, we always end up wasting most of the day trying to figure out what to do.
Quiet time is one of our staple routines. On days when we have to skip it if we’re shopping or heading to doctors appointments, we all feel the difference.
Quiet time gives everyone time to pursue individual interests, enjoy some peace, and rest a bit. When you spend most of the day in a busy, full house, the down time is essential.
What Quiet Time Looks Like
Quiet time will look a bit different in every house. Here’s what it looks like in ours.
The younger kids will be napping. Right now this is Bryson who is 1, and Brynna, who is 3. She’s almost ready to give up her naps, but I really want her to keep taking them.
If any of the other kids throw a fit or whine a ton during the day, they also “earn” a nap. This has helped behavior tremendously. And it works, because often kids who are tired misbehave a whole lot more. Getting a bit of extra sleep helps.
The other kids each claim an area of the house. They alternate throughout the week. The current favorite places to be are:
- The Lego Shack (an outbuilding we converted and put all the Legos in)
- The Playroom
- The Girls’ room (has a cubby style closet with some fun toys)
- The Boys’ Room (not as many toys since Owen will eat them, but this is where he hangs out, watching a movie or playing on his iPad)
- The Living Room
- The Dining Room Table (perfect for puzzles and art projects
- The Floor in Front of the Fireplace
During Quiet Time, I spend the first little bit getting the napping kids situated. I typically nurse the baby and get him in his playpen and then do some quiet reading until the toddler falls asleep.
Then I get up and head to the computer to knock out some work. This work period is essential for me to get my client work done, so I work quickly and efficiently to get it done.
1/2 An Hour of Wii
I’ve assigned each of my kids a day. On their day, they get various privliges and responsibilities. They also get to help me make many of the smaller decisions.
One perk on their day is access to the Wii. They can play for 1/2 an hour at the beginning of quiet time. All the kids love this!
Once their timer beeps, they put their controllers away, shut it off, and go to their activity.
The Activity List
I used to have my kids just randomly pick what they wanted to do. Then, I noticed they were either not sticking with their activity, or they were wandering out of their area to watch someone else.
So, I started having them create a Quiet Time schedule. We typically do this three times a year. This way they aren’t stuck with the same activities forever, and we can switch in some seasonal activities as well.
I just create a table with everyone’s name, and the days Monday through Friday. Then they take turns picking areas and activities. Then when Quiet Time rolls around, we just glance at the chart and everyone knows what to do. It only takes a couple of minutes for them to gather what they need.
Here are 10 of their favorite quiet time activities. I hope it gives you some inspiration of ways to keep your kids engaged during quiet time!
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10. Building with Legos
From the time they’re three or four, my kids all love building with Legos. They create the coolest things!
So one of them often heads out to the Lego shack and creates during Quiet Time. If it’s too cold out there, I’ll let them bring in a bucket of Legos and use at the table. They just are responsible for returning them when they’re done so Owen doesn’t eat them.
My kids will build following directions the first time they get a set. But, it doesn’t take long for the set to be disassembled. Then they use the pieces to create things from their own imagination.
This is a favorite all purpose set of my kids. There’s a variety of pieces to use:
9. Making a Project
The kids all love crafting! They’ll drag out an empty box, construction paper, crayons, scissors, and glue and get to work.
Ellie’s made a pizza delivery car. Jeffrey made a Mario level to run his cutouts through. Sydney created a barn and cut out animals to play with.
It’s amazing what a few supplies, a little time, and their imagination can create.
The kids always want to do art during quiet time, but I limit them each to one day a week so we don’t have craft supplies all over the house! They’re also responsible for cleaning their mess. If they don’t do this, they forfeit their art time the following week.
8. The Car Rug
The kids enjoying setting up the rug with roads and buildings on it. They call it a car rug. Here’s a similar one to the one we have:
Once they have it set up, they spend quiet time building buildings with blocks, driving the cars around, and creating scenarios. It’s a lot of fun.
7. Reading or Listening to Books on Tape
Yes, I said books on tape. As in cassettes. When a local teacher retired, we inherited hundreds of children’s books on tape. We have a single cassette player that still works.
Ellie enjoys this activity the most. She usually colors while listening. The younger kids like it too, but they can’t quite use the player yet. So, they can’t do it during quiet time. Otherwise I’d spend the whole time switching out cassettes, which I don’t want to be doing.
6. Playing a Game
We’ve created solo rules for most of the games we own. That way a kid can pull out a board or card game and stay engaged during quiet time.
It’s one of my favorite quiet time activities!
These games work well:
Pictopia: Disney Edition
Mouse Trap (setting up the trap solo)
This is a favorite of my teen. She loves having an extended period of time to create games on Scratch, work on her computer drawings in Paint, use the Lego Builder, and add to her novel on her laptop.
As she’s gotten older, I’ve slowly increased the amount of times I let her use her computer during quiet time.
Occasionally I’ll let Jeff or Ellie play on PBS kids on a computer. They really like that site, and Nick Jr. as well. I’m sure they’ll get more time as they get older.
4. Train Tracks
The kids love getting out the train tracks and setting something up. We’ve lost the train that actually goes with our set, but they have fun driving a variety of cars or other toy trains over it.
This is Simon’s absolute favorite! He loves setting up the tracks in different ways, and building things around the tracks with wooden blocks. He’ll stay busy with this for the entire quiet time.
3. Creating Worlds
We have so many sets of toys. My Little Ponies. Rescue Bots. Paw Patrol. The kids enjoy bringing them all out, and creating a giant world where all of their favorites work together.
It’s a great way to get the toys a bit more loving while the kids use their imagination to their heart’s content! They’re also practicing their creative writing skills at the same time, they just don’t realize it…
Ellie got a sewing machine for Christmas, and a few simple sewing activities. She really likes setting it up during quiet time and spending some time sewing when the little guys aren’t pestering her.
I don’t let her use the machine until I’m nearby. That way if there’s a major problem, I can help. But, she can do some hand sewing while waiting on me. She has some felt cutouts she sews together and stuffs with batting to make cute little toys.
1. Bring Out the Homeschooling Manipulatives
The kids love bringing out the learning supplies Instead of having to “do school” with them, they get to have free play. It’s so much fun to watch them learn on their own!
What Quiet Time Activities Do Your Kids Enjoy?
What are your family’s favorite quiet time activities? I’d love to have you share in the comments!
This post was first published in April of 2016. It’s been updated and refreshed.