Monday, March 28, 2011

The Quiet Box

Somewhere along the line, my Eli stopped napping.  A sad day, indeed.  Then again, somewhere along the line, he and I got out of the habit of him spending any time alone in his room while his sister napped.  Now, I love my kids, but I love them a lot more after I have not seen their sweet little faces for at least 45 minutes.  This mom needed a break during the day.

I had tried various things with Eli to have him spend some quiet time in his room.  It was always a battle, though.  Then, as the though the heavens opened up and the Hallelujah Chorus played in the background, I remembered...


When I was doing my student teaching internship, one of my fellow interns was teaching in a kindergarten classroom.  She was having great difficulty keeping her students occupied during any down times, so she did a giant research project on the topic of "Quiet Boxes."  Essentially, she had various boxes filled with different quiet type activities.  Students would then pull out one of these boxes during a down time to keep themselves occupied.  This was the concept that popped into my head and I dived into putting together some materials for Eli.

To get started on Eli's Quiet Box I hit up the Dollar Store and the Target $1 Bins.  I also looked through our stuff here at home for things we didn't use regularly, but would still be fun for him to see.  As I was gathering items I kept in mind that these things would be ONLY for his Quiet Box.  They were not to be played with at any other time of the day.  Here are some things we collected:

Cool beads, yarn, and a kid needle.  String the beads, unstring them, make patterns...

Various activity books of numbers and letters, kid magazines, coloring books, some special books JUST for the Quiet Box

Dry erase letter board, word-search to look for certain letters, flashcards

Tangrams (left over math manipulatives from my teaching days) with a board I made by tracing the tangrams.  Here is PDF file of printable tangrams.  You could back them on cardboard, if you want.  Also at this link are puzzles, things that can be built from the tangrams.

And some toys...JUST for the Quiet Box.  (Eli just peeked over my shoulder while I am trying and said, "There is my Quiet Box")

Everyday, when Abby went down for nap, Eli and I would pick a few items from the Quiet Box stuff and he would head to his room.  We then play a CD in his room and when the music is done, he packs up his stuff and can come find me.  When we first started "Quiet Boxing" about six weeks ago, Eli would run for his room at rest time and even ask me during the day if he could have a Quiet Box.  For the first few weeks, the Quiet Box went off without a hitch and we were all happier because of it.  I had enough time to clean a bathroom, read, or even take a little nap.  Eli had time to play independently, which I do believe increased his ability to play independently throughout the rest of our day.     If I had written this post about six weeks ago, I would end with some incredibly witty comment right now.

Alas, the novelty of Quiet Boxing has worn off, as I should have predicted it would.  These last few days Eli has been playing with Play-Doh during his Quiet Box time which has been going really well.  It is on my mind to be re-vamping our Quiet Box a bit...stay tuned.

Now, this could be as elaborate or simple as you want to make it.  We went through a time not long ago when sweet, little Abby was waking up around 5 am every morning.  After much lamenting, I could not figure out what to do with her.  Then, as the though the heavens opened up and the Hallelujah Chorus played in the background, I remembered...


I can be a little slow on the uptake sometimes.  Keep in mind, I was doing a Quiet Box everyday with Eli while trying to figure out what to do with Abby.   So, Abby got one new Princess coloring book and a new princess book.  I would stumble into her room at 5 am with said items and a cup of milk and she was happy.  A very simple Quiet Box.  

 Some Ways Quiet Boxes Could Be Used: 
  • Rest times 
  • For kids who wake up too early or take a while to fall asleep at night.
  • Do you need a block of time to do some task (e-mails, cleaning, work)?  Have a Quiet Box specifically for those time.  (Kids Quiet Box next to the computer while you send e-mails.)
  • For homeschooling families, have a Quiet Box for younger children to use while focusing on older kids.
  • Kids could Quiet Box while you spend time in personal devotions.
Ok...time to wrap up this ridiculously long post.  Thank you to those of you who persevered to the end!  How do you keep your kids occupied when you need them to be?

1 comment:

  1. Quiet boxes are an awesome idea!!!

    O does a nap once or twice a week but I am determined to keep up the quiet time routine every day. If she gets sick of playing quietly in her bed with her toys I'm doing this box thing. Thanks so much for sharing it. :)