I don’t know about you, but my sanity break (and my blogging time) comes about 2:00 every afternoon…when my children nap. Both boys have thankfully been regular nappers their entire lives.
Until now, that is…
Big Brother will be four in January and he has dropped his nap. He’s down to napping once every 4 or 5 days now. I know I should be thankful that he’s kept it this long…and I am. But I’m also mourning the loss of some time to get things done. So I’ve implemented “room time” with Big Brother. He must stay in his room for an hour and a half each afternoon.
As much as I would love to admit that I’m doing this because it’s good for him to have some “down time” (which, of course, it is)…I’ll be honest and tell you that I’m mostly doing it for myself. I need a little bit of time to get things done…to have a few moments of peace and quiet to get my wits about me before part 2 of the day begins.
Hence, the idea for quiet boxes…
I first saw the idea for these over on Money Saving Mom. And I quickly raided the treasure trove of independent activities (most of them geared towards first graders) currently residing in my basement. We also made an impromptu stop at Dollar General for some plastic tubs and the dominoes…the only two things that I had to purchase to create these tubs.
The boys have very few toys in their rooms. I tend to think that rooms are for sleeping and if you have lots of “stuff” to play with, very little sleeping goes on! So, I’m keeping these tubs in a closet close to Big Brother’s room and will take one out each day at naptime.
I decided to do five tubs, one for each weekday. At the recommendation from a friend, Big Brother will get to choose his favorite on Saturday and Sunday.
I wanted to include something in each box that would fit each of the following categoies:
- Something to help him LEARN
- Something to LISTEN to
- Something that he would LOVE
Want to know what’s inside each box??? I thought you’d never ask!
-Crayola Color Wonder Drawing Paper and Markers
-Dino Clip Cards/Counters from Confessions of a Homeschooler
-Do Your ABC’s, Little Brown Bear Book & Audio CD (purchased from my Scholastic Book Orders while I was teaching)
-Heart Breaker Number Game
-My First Picture Dictionary Write-on Book
-Adventures in Odyssey: At Home and Abroad Tapes (these are the actual tapes that I had when I was little)
-This is the House that Jack Built book and Audio CD
“Opposites” Matching Game
Dinosaur Lacing & Tracing
Tile Math (Marcy Cook Math…Big Brother LOVES this)
24-Piece Dinosaur Puzzle (puzzles are NOT Big Brother’s thing…so I’m sure this will be more frustrating than anything)
-I Like Myself book and Audio CD
Melissa & Doug Magnetic Pattern Block Kit
Clothespin Capital and Lowercase Matching Activity
A Clipboard, crayons, and some tracing cards
Adventures in Odyssey Tapes (not pictured)
Melissa and Doug Basic Skills Board (not pictured)
Although not pictured in the boxes, the Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition (with the audio CD’s) is also readily available in his room at all times.
The key to making this work is to include things that the child doesn’t already play with everyday. As I said earlier, I did not go out and purchase a bunch of things…I used what I had. Some of the “toys” that Big Brother had received in the past (like the magnetic pattern block kit, for example) had been put away because he wasn’t quite old enough to use them properly. So this seemed new to him!
I tried to introduce each of the “new” activities to Big Brother in the morning prior to naptime so he felt comfortable with using them independently. This is important, especially if it will be challenging to a child on his/her own.
I’ll probably change out some of the activities every month or so, just so that it stays fun and exciting. I’ve also talked with a friend about trading boxes once a month to give our kids something completely new!
Another trick that seems to work wonders with keeping him in his room is telling him every time he comes out of his room, I’ll take something from his box away. Seriously…why didn’t I think of this sooner???
Have you ever used quiet boxes? If so, what activities do you include???