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.|