We all want our kids to be active, imaginative and outgoing. Sometimes though, we just need a little quiet. I work from home 4 days a week and I need quiet many hours a day. I don’t want to stifle my kids, especially my preschooler but I need to get my work done too! So what’s a mom to do? Well I’ve just had to come up with some go to activities that always settle my guy down and let Mama get some work done. Here are some of our favorite quiet time activities:
I know it seems so obvious and boring and like there is no way this will keep your child’s attention for very long but I’m telling you it works! There are a few things you can do to set this activity up for success. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You eat with your eyes first.” Well the same is basically true for everything you do with kids. Its all in the presentation. If you throw some paper and a few random pens on a desk your kid is likely to be bored pretty quick, or worse yet not even want to give it a try. However, if you have an art station set up things all of a sudden become more interesting. My preschooler is really into dressup right now so I start things off by putting a “smock” on him. Check out this great idea for an art smock out of an old t-shirt. I help to make coloring a bit of a sensory activity as well by setting out stickers, stamps and different types of writing utensils. If your child isn’t getting the creative juices flowing try reading a quick story first, then asking them to draw about the story. This normally works to get things started.
At first I was really hesitant to let my little guy go to town with scissors but as soon as we found some nice child safe scissors and we talked about the rules I felt better about it. Of course, he is never left alone with them and they are stored in a safe place. Cutting is such a great activity for so many reasons; it builds fine motor skills, it is a life skill they need, and it requires lots of concentration. At first I just gave my little man a piece of paper and let him cut it up however he chose. Now that he is more skilled at using scissors I will draw lines on the paper for him to trace. We also stumbled upon this really great book, The Super Scissors Book, that even comes with two pairs of fun scissors.
3. Dress Up
Before becoming the mom of two boys I always thought dress up was all about princesses and fairies. OH boy do I know better now! My oldest son, almost 4, loves nothing more than to get into character. Superheroes, Pirates, Cowboys, and fireman are just some of the costumes we have around here. I love this as a quiet time activity because it forces my child to use his imagination. It also helps him build fine motor skills by doing the buttons on his own, pulling up pants, etc. Another reason why I find it to be a great activity is because it sparks ideas for other quiet time activities. If he plays dress up in the morning, in the afternoon when its coloring time I can use who he was dressing up as for a prompt. For example, this morning you were dressing up as Captain Hook, can you draw Mommy a picture of Captain Hook? I will admit this activity is sometimes not as quiet as I would like it, a rousing sword fight can become very loud, but usually it works out pretty well.
4. Puzzles/Memory Games
This is one of the only quiet time activities that we sometimes use an electronic tool for. I try very hard to limit screen time and not let devices watch my kids. But I also know that we live in a technologically advanced world and that is not all bad. There are so many great puzzle and memory apps out there. We also have a TON of wooden puzzles and a few memory games. When it’s puzzle time I normally lay out 3-5 puzzles in varying difficulty. I tell my boys to come and find me once all the puzzles are completed. This is a great way to get siblings to work together. Let’s face it our kids pretty much want to be with us 24/7 so if we walk away and give them a task that the reward is coming to be with us they will work twice as hard and fast! Never is there an argument when I set this situation up with my boys.
Sorting is a favorite around here for everyone. I love it because I can set up a sorting game anywhere anytime. For example, when doing the laundry I can have the boys sort out different items of clothing (i.e. put the shirts in one pile, the pants in another, etc.) When cleaning the house I can ask the boys to sort all of their cars into piles of different colors. When at the grocery store I can ask the boys to sort all of the green items in our basket into one pile. The list seriously never ends and can be customized to whatever skill your child is working on at the time. My preschooler is beginning to read so we are currently sorting everything we can that involves letters.
I hope these tips are helpful and fun for you and your preschoolers! What are some of your favorite quiet time activities to do with your wee ones? What are their favorites to do on their own?