Our most precious gift to give to parents and teachers (besides, of course learning)– QUIET TIME.
Here’s 15 of our favorite quiet time activities that also focus on building fine motor skills and use only materials you already have in your household.
1. Don’t just read a book…
Ok, so this one may seem obvious. And perhaps you’ll say of course you’ve already tried handing over a book to your child. Didn’t work? What you haven’t tried is creating your children’s own special reading spot, a book nook. Having the right setting can make all the difference when it comes to getting kids calm and enjoying reading. Here’s 10 of our favorite easy, DIY fort recipes.
2. App it up
Yes, we may be a bit biased when it comes to educational apps. But study after study shows monitored, controlled time using educational technology boosts kids confidence and problem solving skills. Lucky for you, we’ve got a ton of free, award-winning apps to offer you right here!
3. Button boxes
You’d be surprised at how much fun can be had with a box full of buttons. Place different cups in front of your child and have them sort the buttons according to color, shape, size, etc. Or throw a few pipe cleaners in the mix and make your own button tree (pictured below). Add some string and you can create endless amounts of jewelry.
We love spotlighting easy projects that end in beautiful results because it really gives a chance for kids to feel proud and have something special to remind them of their talent. Plus, these weavings are simply gorgeous. All you need is some yarn, string, a large plastic needle (option, you can definitely fashion your own out of cardboard or grab a button from the box above!), and some cardboard!
5. Scavenger Hunt
Keeping some print out scavenger hunts on hand is always a good idea. There’s unlimited themed scavenger hunt printable on the web, or grab a piece of paper and create your own. Make the list long and try and use vocabulary your child may not know or may a visual guide as an opportunity to learn new words.
6. Puzzle plus
Puzzles are an incredible resource for fine motor skills, shape learning, problem solving, and spacial recognition. Plus, most children will want to do the same puzzle over and over again. You can ramp up the puzzle fun by adding extra challenges like using a timer (also a favorite kid tool!) or buying a blank puzzle for them to decorate themselves.
7. Sponge Tower
A fun sensory alternative to regular blocks. Cut up a household sponge into strips and other shapes and start building your sponge tower. For a bit a little extra sensory and STEM play, have them build in a plastic container and then add water and watch the tower twist, change shape, and fall!
8. Sandpaper and Yarn
A favorite over here, so easy, so simple, so entertaining… why hadn’t we thought of this before! Create fine motor activity for little ones who aren’t quiet at the skill level to start weaving but can still play with the color and texture of yarns mixed together.
9. Mr Potato Head
Are we the only ones who still swear by the magic that is the mystical head of potato? It’s a classic for a reason. Try extending this activity by creating a deck of cards with different emotions and challenging your little one to create those emotions with their potato head.
10. Make anything a dry-erase board
Make any worksheet automatically reusable by simply slipping it inside a thin plastic paper protector. Use dry erase markers or even regular washable markers. Your kids can do and redo their favorite printables as many times as they’d like and cleaning up is half the fun!
11. Bag painting
Favorite type of painting? The no-mess kind, of course. Throw some paint in a plastic bag and use various objects as a paintbrush… try using your finger, a q-tip, a regular paintbrush, and any other non-shape object.
12. Toothpick beading
Take a sturdy piece of cardboard or styrofoam and stick toothpicks facing upward into it in a single row. Kids can then stack beads on top of the toothpicks and create different patterns, or sort the beads into a different color per toothpick.
13. Lego letters
Invite your little one to go through each letter of the alphabet and create each shape using legos. Create spatial thinking and fine motor practice.
14. Spot the alphabet
Along the same lines as the previous game, grab any waterproof letters you may have laying around the home (think scrabble, magnetic letters, etc) and throw them into an old jar with any other little plastic objects. Kids need to go through the whole alphabet and find each letter in the jar. Not as easy as one might expect, but definitely lots of fun!
15. Velcro and foam chains
Ok, so perhaps everyone doesn’t have a constant supply of velcro and foam in the home… but we do. And if not, they’re super easy and inexpensive to purchase. To assemble this activity all you need to do is cut the foam into strips and place the velcro on the ends of each (use self adhering velcro or a hot glue gun). The possibilities are endless… building chains coming off of chains from chains, then go wild with pulling them apart.