Is your toddler having tantrums after long stretches of play? Is your 10-year-old getting snippy right after school pick up? It may be time to implement quiet time for kids. This can be an extremely beneficial activity to add to your daily routine. Here's why quiet time is so important - and 13 quiet activities to make it happen!
What Is Quiet Time for Kids?
Quiet time is a period when children engage is silent, independent play. This can serve as a great precursor to bedtimes or parents can implement these quiet activities as a replacement undertaking when naps disappear from their kid's schedules.
Why Is Quiet Time for Kids Important?
Quiet time is an important ritual for children and adults alike. Research shows that these mini periods of silence can serve as a great way to reset the mind. Some of the biggest benefits include:
- Spikes in creativity
- Improvements in focus
- Better self-regulation techniques
- Increases in the understanding of concepts
- Calming effects and relaxation
In other words, it's a fantastic activity for prioritizing a person's mental health! So the question remains, how do you actually get your kids to engage in quiet times?
Quiet Activities for Kids of All Ages
One of the easiest ways to silence your kids is to keep their hands busy! When we engage in tactile activities, it helps to quiet the mind and center our focus on the task at hand. That's why sensory play and fidget toys are so effective at keeping kids entertained. They make mindfulness a necessity. If you're looking for these types of quiet activities, here is a list of options to try.
While so simple, coloring is an absolutely amazing activity. The Mayo Clinic notes that "it calms the brain and helps your body relax. This can improve sleep and fatigue while decreasing body aches, heart rate, respiration, and feelings of depression and anxiety." Talk about the ultimate quiet time activity! The key is making this activity different each time so that it doesn't become boring. Parents can easily accomplish this by:
- Swapping Out Coloring Tools: Colored pencils, markers, crayons, bingo daubers, and chalk are all fantastic options for kids of any age. Older kids can also use water colors and fine paint brushes to color in images as well.
- Adding in Accessories: Stickers, Washi tape, and stamps can make the decorating process much more exciting. Older kids will also enjoy Elmer's glue and glitter.
- Upgrading Your Paper Products: We live in a three-dimensional world, so why not make the coloring products the same? Cardboard castles and stand-up decor are great options for kids to decorate and then use later.
Another wonderful way to keep hands busy and help kids' brains to slow down is by having quiet puzzle time! Grab peg-and-shape matching puzzles for toddlers and tangrams and jigsaws for older kids.
Oven-bake clays and Play-Doh are other useful tools for keeping little hands busy. Parents can buy Play-Doh kits that have all the supplies their kids need for a fun afternoon or they can invest in cookie cutters, mini rolling pins, and pastry edgers to let their kid's creative juices flow.
For the Bath and Body Works fans out there, the three-wick candles many times come with beautiful 3-D decorated lids. Save these! They are wonderful for stamping rolled out sections of these molding compounds! You can also buy stamps for the same purpose.
Building blocks are another excellent toy for independent, quiet play. Not only can your kids construct something unique every single time, but you can slowly add in more blocks to extend the play periods. If you have younger kids, you may want to invest in a building block stand. This can limit frustrations by providing a solid base for their creations.
Lacing games are fantastic for building fine motor skills in young kids, but as your little ones get a bit more mature, parents can switch over to jewelry-making activities! This is an excellent quiet activity that gives kids an outlet to be creative, and it has calming effects similar to coloring. Younger kids can do projects like simple bead bracelets, while older kids can try something more advanced, like making Starburst wrapper bracelets.
Origami has been around since the 17th century! This intricate paper art teaches kids to focus and follow directions, it improves their dexterity, and it is another amazing outlet for creativity. From simple origami paper pockets to origami flowers that are a little more intricate, there is something for all ages.
Origami Way is a great website that has step-by-step instructions to help kids complete these paper art projects!
Sensory Bin Fun
Sensory bins are the ultimate activity when you are looking for extended moments of quiet time for kids! These containers will keep them concentrating, reduce their stress levels, and they can even help with building dexterity in younger children. Best of all, if you find that your kids love engaging in this quiet activity, then you can also craft busy bags to keep them quiet and entertained on-the-go!
Discovery jars, also called sensory bottles and I Spy jars, are just like a sensory bin, but conveniently packaged in a sealed container, which helps to prevent messes. These are wonderful for kids who love to look for different things throughout daily life. Fill your jars with all kinds of objects and then make a list of what is inside. Then, see if they can quietly find all the items.
Calming Yoga Poses
Meditation and yoga are both quiet time activities that center our focus, promote mindfulness, and they require a quiet atmosphere. Headspace offers great meditation exercises for kids and parents can find yoga videos for kids online for various skill levels.
If you have older kids, other quiet activities that promote mindfulness include reading and writing in a journal.
Quiet Games for Kids
For the parents who have multiple children, quiet games for kids are an ideal option. These can keep multiple age ranges entertained and they can keep things quiet at the same time. The only caveat is that many of these activities include a parent's participation.
Challenge your kids to get creative with this silly game! The rules are simple. No talking is allowed, and once the timer goes off, they must stand perfectly still!
- Have them all draw an animal out of a hat.
- Each person is allowed two props, if they need them.
- Set a timer for five minutes and have everyone quietly gather what they need.
- Then, instruct everyone to return to a designated room before the timer goes off.
- When they return, they must pose as their assigned animal.
- After the alarm sounds, mom or dad will come in and try to decipher which animal each person is pretending to be!
Parents can play a handful of rounds of this game with their kids to continue the silent fun.
If you plan to do quiet times daily, then you may want to consider switching up the activities regularly so that your kids get the most out of the exercise.
Heads Up, Seven Up
This is a great game for big groups, especially in classroom settings and at family gatherings. It requires everyone to be silent until asked the final question to win the game.
- Have everyone put their heads down on their desks, or whatever surface is nearby, and then extend their thumbs upward.
- Next, an adult who is not playing the game (we will call them the referee) will randomly select a person to be "it".
- This person will then push six other people's thumbs down and sit back in their original spot with their head and thumb down.
- When everyone is seated once again, the referee will shout "head's up, seven up!".
- Everyone who was selected, including "it", will then move to the front of the room.
- Finally, everyone else must try to guess who "it" is by voting on each person. The people who guess right win the game!
Color Sorting Race
This is an easy game for parents to throw together! All you need is a bin or bucket for each child that you have participating in the color sorting game.
Before the Game Starts:
Walk around your house and gather a rainbow of colors worth of knick knacks, toys, foods, and whatever other items will fit in the container. We recommend getting an array of sizes so that they have a substantial number of things to sort. The only requirement is that each bucket has the same number of items.
- Give each child their container.
- Shout "ready, set, go!" and let the sorting commence.
- The first child to sort all the colors correctly wins!
For toddlers and preschool aged kids, it can help to have identifiers. Thus, grab colored gift bags or tape colored pieces of paper to the floor so that they can put the corresponding colored objects in their rightful place.
Busy Board Competition
Busy boards are spectacular fidget toys for toddlers and preschool aged kids that work their fine motor skills. However, they can also serve an additional purpose. They can test your older kids' dexterity and provide a source for competition. These feature puzzles, sorting and labeling tasks, and clipping, clamping, and buttoning of various items. Help channel kids' energy and see who can complete the tasks the fastest!
Your kids will be so busy trying to get through the boards that they will stay quiet for the entirety of the race. Parents can also make their own version of busy board races with items from around the house. Have your kids complete puzzles, label colors, and sort items by size or type. Get creative and they will stay busy, and quiet, for hours!
Quiet Time for Kids Is a Great Way to Fight Tantrums
The goal of quiet time is to allow the participants to recharge from the long and stressful moments of the day. This is exceptionally important for kids who get overstimulated easily. Parents can choose from any of the above activities to help their kids get re-energized and in a better headspace.