Everything You Need To Know About Quiet Time Boxes

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Everything You Need To Know About Quiet Time Boxes. Why to use them, how to make them, what to put in them, and more!

Quiet time is a BIG DEAL around here.  My girls are (barely) 3, and (almost) 5, and until several months ago they both napped almost every day.  Recently, though, bedtime had become more and more of a struggle.  They simply weren't tired enough to go to sleep at a reasonable time in the evening.  As much as I hated it, nap time got the boot.

Instead we've implemented daily quiet time which usually lasts around an hour.  The girls go to their rooms and stay (mostly) willingly.  For them, the choice is between a nap and quiet time, so they choose quiet time!  My oldest has the self control to stay in her room unless she legitimately needs something.  My youngest needs a child-proofing doorknob cover to motivate her to stay in her room the whole time.  Of course I have a baby monitor on in their rooms to be sure that they are safe & happy, and so that I can hear them calling if they need anything.

Our new quiet time boxes have been a huge hit, so I wanted to share them with you.

The Old Way


I used to let the girls pick their own toys and activities for quiet time.  That involved gathering things from all over the house and major squabbles between them over who got which toys.  Frankly, it just took WAY too much time to get them settled at a time of the day when I was starting to feel desperate for a break.

Their rooms were also a complete disaster after quiet time was over.  They'd choose toys with hundreds of tiny pieces and spend their time scattering them across their rooms.  Clean up from quiet time was taking longer than quiet time itself!

The whole situation was getting more and more out of hand.  It was time for a change.

Why I Decided On Quiet Time Boxes


I wanted to make quiet time peaceful, from beginning to end.  The issues over choosing toys and activities needed to stop.  With quiet time boxes, they get a box, and that's what they get to play with for the day.  They don't get to choose which box, and they don't get any extras.

I wanted to encourage them to focus their attention on a few things, instead of flitting from one thing to another.

I wanted clean-up to be easier.  No more massive room clean-ups in the middle of the day, every day.

I wanted to encourage them to actually play with some of the toys and activities on their shelves.  Most of the time, the girls play imagination games with each other, and not with toys.  They'd been choosing the same toys over and over again for their quiet time, but I wanted to see some other activities thrown in the mix.

So I got to work.

The Boxes


The boxes I chose are Sterlite 16qt. plastic tubs.  I was able to find them at Target for $3, or you can find in a 12-pack from Amazon (affiliate).  I wanted tubs big enough to fit in lots of stuff, and a standard shoebox size wouldn't be big enough.  Yes, it cost a bit of money to get 14 tubs, but we'll use them as quiet time boxes now and for something else later.  When have you ever had too many storage tubs?

I decided to make 14 boxes.  Yes, it's a lot.  I have 2 kids who do quiet time nearly every single day.  Even on the weekends.  Even if we've had a big outing for the day, they get some quiet time before dinner.  Since we'll be homeschooling, quiet time will still be happening the next several years.

With 14 boxes, each of my girls gets a brand new box every day for 2 weeks.  Then, I'll be able to reuse the same boxes, loaded with the same stuff, at least 3 more times.  Since they're only seeing the goodies inside once every couple of weeks, the contents will stay fresh and exciting.  I plan to refresh their boxes once every 2 or 3 months.  I didn't want to have to restock them every week or even every month.

The Stuff In The Boxes


My oldest daughter is almost 5, and my youngest is 3-- that's a lot of birthdays, Christmases, Valentine's Days, and Easters.  They've also been home with me since they were born, so we've accumulated toys and learning tools.  I also have a wee bit of a puzzle problem, so you'll see lots of those.  And I'm a bargain ninja-- most everything you see was purchased at a deep discount.

I also took a trip to the Dollar Tree and through the dollar sections at Joann and Target.  I grabbed a few extra new things so that a some of the boxes had fresh goodies.

One added benefit of this project was that it got lots of stuff off of the girls' shelves to make a little wiggle room.  Lately we've had a bit of a book overload so I was glad to have some extra shelf space.

Putting Them Together


I spread the boxes out on the floor.  I gathered all the stuff I knew I wanted to include in them then divvied it all up.  Simple enough!

Enough Already.  Here's What's In The Boxes


In addition to what you'll see and is listed below, each box has a small baggie of crayons (assembled from a huge box of broken, unwrapped, or otherwise non-favorite crayons) or a new box of crayons (25 cents during back to school season).

After I took these pictures, I added to each of the boxes:
  • several coloring pages from inexpensive coloring books
  • blank paper for drawing
  • 3 books 
The girls also both have CD players in their rooms and usually like to listen to audio books from library during their quiet time.  It helps to pass the time!

I've included Amazon affiliate links for your convenience where applicable and indicated other stores where I found many of the things in our boxes.

Let's get to it!

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
funny faces sticker book (Joann)
Precious Moments puzzle (Dollar Tree)

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
dinosaur figurines (Target dollar section)
2 toy cars
mini-erasers (Target dollar section) & Gator Grabber Tweezers
Doc McStuffins Activity Book (Dollar Tree)
foam stickers

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
2 toy cars
Dr. Seuss mini-erasers (Target dollar section)
Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
tangram puzzle (Target dollar section)
paddleball (Dollar Tree) 
funny faces sticker book (Joann)
princess puzzle

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
roll of tickets (party supply store)
funny faces sticker book (Joann)

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
popcorn, fall trinkets (Target dollar section), & Gator Grabber Tweezers
Candy Land puzzle (Dollar Tree)
crazy rainbow pencil
Silly Putty (Target dollar section)
Sesame Street puzzle (Dollar Tree)

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
 Doc McStuffins activity book (Dollar Tree)
plastic jewelery links (Dollar Tree)
apple mini-erasers (Dollar Tree)
wooden tangram puzzle (Target dollar section)
Winnie the Pooh puzzle (Dollar Tree)

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
Candy Land puzzle (Dollar Tree)
popcorn, fall trinkets (Target dollar section), & Gator Grabber Tweezers
dinosaur figurines (Target dollar section)

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
2 toy cars
mailbox (Joann) & toy mail (like this from Lu Bird Baby)
Precious Moments puzzle (Dollar Tree)
princess puzzle (Dollar Tree)

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
ABC spoons (like these)
2 toy cars
geoboard & rubber bands

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
funny faces sticker book (Joann)

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
ABC milk caps and Sesame Street cards (from Confessions of a Homeschooler)
Olliblocks (from Ollibird)
Doc McStuffins Activity book (Dollar Tree)

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
mini-erasers & Gator Grabber Tweezers
Hello Kitty coloring roll (Target dollar section)

Quiet Time Box contents and ideas
foam blocks (Target dollar section)
toy airplane
foam stickers
Fisher Price Learning 2-piece puzzles

Box Labels

 
Each box is labeled with an index card listing its contents.  This way, if we need anything that is one of the boxes, I can simply scan the labels instead of rummaging through all of them.

I'm also making a note of who played with which box on which day on the label.  That way I can rotate them fairly and evenly.

Box Storage


The boxes live in 2 places.  Some of them are in a coat closet right off our foyer.  I recently cleaned it out so there was lots of open floor space.


The rest of the boxes live under a my desk in the girls' play/school room.  I never sit at my desk, so I stashed some boxes under there.

How Are They Working Out?


So far, so good!  The girls are thrilled to see what's in their box each day.  It has really eliminated a major source of their squabbles.  In addition, clean-up after quiet time has been awesome.  Put everything back in the box.  Put the box away.  Done.

How do you do quiet time at your house?  Tell me in the comments below!

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Cutting Tiny Bites: Everything You Need To Know About Quiet Time Boxes
Everything You Need To Know About Quiet Time Boxes
Everything You Need To Know About Quiet Time Boxes. Why to use them, how to make them, what to put in them, and more!
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