When my kids quit napping (which was, like, forever ago since they both quit before they turned three…poor 2010 Carrie was ALWAYS TIRED), I had them do “quiet time” for an hour each day. It took awhile for them to understand the concept (stay in your room for an hour…no, ACTUALLY stay in your ACTUAL ROOM until the timer beeps…go back to your room, please…etc., etc.), but once they got it, it gave me a relatively peaceful hour in the middle of my day.
What really helped was prepping a few busy boxes. These busy boxes were boxes of goodies they only got to use during quiet time. They had a few to pick from, and they could choose which one they wanted to use for the day. Then, when the timer beeped and quiet time was up, they had to clean it up and put it back with the other busy boxes.
Now they are six and nine, and guess what? They still do the occasional quiet time. Mostly, on the days when we’re home all day and things get a little intense and everyone just needs to take a break.
These busy box ideas will work for boys and girls of all ages (just modify to fit the needs of your child).
Busy Box Ideas
I bought everything you see here from the Dollar Tree. Including the actual box, these cost less than $10 each to make. You can also buy a pre-made busy box from Amazon.
- Art Box (crayons, paper, glue stick, pom poms, kid-safe scissors, stickers)
- Reading Box (books, notebook to take notes, pencil)
- Math Box (flash cards, counting cubes, dominos, math workbook – these Disney character ones make them feel like fun, not work)
- Writing Box (cursive workbook, journal, pretty pens, stickers)
- Car Box (Hot Wheels, car track mat – I love this one, it folds into a box with room for the cars)
- Horse Box (horse toys, mini horse barn, horse books, stuffed horse toy, how to draw horses book)
- Toy Soldiers Box (this one is easy – fill it with toy soldiers!)
- Chef Box (pretend food and groceries)
- Star Wars Box (action figures, comic book)
- LEGO Box (LEGOS! – this set comes in a cute box, too)
- Fashion & Beauty Box (fashion design book, play makeup, brush and hair accessories, mirror)
- Game Box (puzzles, playing cards, dominoes)
- Anything Goes Box (throw together random things you find around the house…and put it in a big brown cardboard box!)
Do you use a busy box for your child? What are some of your favorite things to include in them?