Quiet Time Basket Ideas (and ROUTINE)

Do you have quiet time in your house? Quiet time is a must over here for EVERYONE because we all need time in the day to just reset.

My oldest daughter started dropping naps completely at age 4, yes I know we are lucky! And my youngest, well she’ll be 3 in a few weeks and has pretty much-dropped naps already (CRY!) although EVERY SINGLE DAY I still put her down in hopes that she will fall asleep.

Anyway… each day, NO MATTER WHAT, at about NOON, my oldest has quiet time while littlest is supposed to be napping. HA!

Quiet time lasts for 1 FULL HOUR in her room. We dim the lights, turn on soft music, and the rule is you must stay in your room until the 1-hour is up (my girls have separate rooms). At that time I will come check-in and get her.

We started doing this about ten months ago and 1-hour is the sweet spot!  The first month took a little adjusting, practicing, and tweaking, but ever since it has just been part of our routine. BE CONSISTENT.

Quiet time rules are…you can play with anything in your room, read books, REST/SLEEP (of course – PLEASE!), or pull out your QUIET ACTIVITIES BASKET.

I created the quiet activities basket about a month in because I wanted my oldest to have a few options of activities that she doesn’t pull out just anytime. This basket is just for quiet time and items in it get rotated/switched out about every 3 weeks or so! (*I actually started by keeping it out of her room, so she was upstairs for about a 1/2 hour then came down to this BUT for us, it works better IN HER ROOM for the FULL HOUR so she can choose to use it or not).

EVERYTHING in this basket can be done independently and that is KEY!

At the end of 1-hour I’ll come up and check-in, if she is done playing she can clean up, and once done come down for free play downstairs, and then when sis wakes we all have a snack and about a half-hour of T.V. time before getting on with the afternoon.

So now that you’ve got the basic run down let’s chat quiet basket ideas! THESE ARE JUST IDEAS! Things that can be done independently and BEFORE YOU GO AND BUY ANYTHING PLEASE take a look around your home because you likely have things you can use right now that will work.

BUT, I wanted to share our favorites to just help give you some ideas of things that work great in a quiet time bin.

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This for us is a MUST ALWAYS! My girls love picking out pages from and just get so excited to add these to their baskets. And sure, we could totally just pick our coloring books from the store (THAT WORKS) but we love Mel’s work and it gives us something to do every few weeks when we change up our baskets. Check out the coloring club with my link here.

Do you have one of these? These drawing Aqua Magic Mats are AMAZING. They are large, mess-free, and so FUN! I love leaving one of these in her quiet basket because they are like giant coloring mats! I just make sure to fill up the pens every few days and we are good to go.

Any books are great to add into a quiet basket BUT MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE are books that littles can browse on their own. Again, we don’t want them running down the hall constantly asking, “Can you….?” Search and find books, giant first-word picture books, and mix and match books are a few great options! My girls will look at these books over and over again! Here are a few of our FAVS:

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
My First Search and Find by Kidsbooks Publishing
Muddle and Match Jungle Animals by Stephanie Hinton

Simple puzzles, self-correcting learning activities, matching games, BLOCKS, a peg board and pegs, are ALL AMAZING options for quiet baskets. They don’t take up a ton of room, kiddos are able to explore on their own, and they offer variety in how they use the materials. A few favorites in our house are…

Match It! Activities by The Learning Journey
Blocks: This small set here works perfect and was found in the Target Bullseye Section
I love adding small items to encourage pretend play! A pretend play cake set, bowls and spoons, finger puppets, felt dramatic play sets from Target, toy dinosaurs, etc.! Seriously, next time you have a chance to browse the Target Bullseye section. They always have so many things that would work perfectly in quiet activity bins. The finger puppets pictured here are super fun and can be found here. The cake set is from Wal-Mart here and that felt set was a Target Bullseye find months back.

Lastly, as Riley has gotten older I’ve loved adding in a few simple dry-erase activities. These again are things she can do all on her own. So ten frame counting mats, letter tracing strips, pre-writing lines, etc. Originally I did include a few other academic print-outs BUT scaled back because they weren’t entirely independent. The items pictured above she definitely can do on her own. 🙂

Quiet time works for us, it is part of our routine, and the house just flows better with it. I don’t feel guilty about quiet time and neither should you.

As with ANYTHING, quiet time takes practice and a little tweaking to get it just right for YOUR FAMILY. Set a plan, keep consistent with your rules and expectations, then practice every day. YOU’VE GOT THIS!


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