My Newest Mothering Help: Quiet Time Boxes

About a week before my son turned three, the naps stopped.  And they stopped just like that ~ cold turkey.  This mama really had no warning, he just wouldn’t nap anymore.  Now he naps when he feels like it, and I am sad to say that those times are few and far between.  Even though I love being home with my son, it has been hard getting into a routine when mom doesn’t have any time just to herself anymore.

I honestly have had a very difficult time figuring out when to write, when to do the laundry, when to clean the bathrooms, and when to do anything else in my life.  I used to do all that when the kids napped.   When my kids are awake they are extroverts; they like to be around me or out and about with other people.  I’ve tried and tried to facilitate some self-play, but times when they actually entertain themselves are rare.  Typically at our house, my children want me to get down and dirty with them, or if I’m at my desk they are in the room pulling stuff out of the drawers no matter what I give them to keep them busy before I sit down to work.

In order to get a little bit of time to myself and maybe something done around the house if I have an extra spare moment or two, I put together these wonderful quiet time boxes.  My little guy is loving them.  And I am too! They are a great addition to our daily routine. Ah, a bit of sanity at last!

As you can see I have five plastic boxes marked clearly for each day during the week.  We are more relaxed on the weekends (and dad is typically home to help give mom a little time to herself) so we don’t worry about focused quiet time on those days.  I purchased each of these boxes from Walmart for $1 a piece.  Then I went hunting around the house for fun toys and activities that aren’t usually played with so that they can easily hold his attention during quiet time.  I plan to replace the activities in each box when I am able so that they will continue to hold his attention.  I did purchase a few inexpensive items after scouring the toy department at Walmart.  And, I have great plans to give the kids gifts for birthdays and Christmas that are meant for quiet time only.

When building your quiet time boxes it is important to:

  • Have age and gender appropriate items.  If you have more than one child with different interests, ages, or sexes that don’t nap you will  need more than one set of boxes.
  • Make sure you have items that fit in the box.  This will help to keep your home tidy, clean, and organized.  {I call that sanity!}
  • Make sure your child does not play with those items on a regular basis.  These boxes are for a “special” time and not regular play.  If my son wants items in the box and it isn’t quiet time I tell him that he has to find other things to play with.  This helps hold their attention when you do need them to self play.

My son is 3 and there are a few items that I have my eye on to keep him busy during quiet times.  Here are some ideas to help you put together fabulous quiet time boxes that will keep your little one busy for hours and hours or at least until you can take a nice long shower in peace and quiet:


Totally Tape

Mini Etch-A-Sketch

Kid’s Coloring Books

Lace and Trace Shapes

Felt Food – Sandwich Set


Invisible Ink Disney Cars

Pin Art – We found one of these at Walmart for $5 and it is one of my son’s favorite boxes!  He can’t get enough of it!

Those are just a few ideas to get your juices flowing.  Don’t feel like you have to go out and buy all new things, but always  keep your eyes out for great deals on little items that your small one might enjoy to keep their little hands happy while you get some time to yourself.


  1. Steve says

    Thanks Becky for the brilliant idea! I would also buy these boxes and keep some quiet time boxes to help my kids enjoy during free time!

  2. says

    I love this idea! This would really simplify things for our li’l girl’s “quiet play time.” I feel like we spend 10 minutes with her just choosing what she wants to take into her room. I love that certain toys will be “special” for that time, too.

  3. Christy says

    My sister just told me about finding this idea online, which got me on here looking for ideas. But anyways, we use them, to be able to cook, with crafts and others things in them, and the kids LOVE them. Thanks so much for a great idea.

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