When my son was about 2, I could see that he was starting to lose his nap. He would still get tired but would fight his state and just keep going. He also hated the phrase “nap time” and would make his hatred abundantly clear! Mammas, you know what I am talking about?
Dinosaurs are all the rage with this guy!
I scoured the internet and Pinterest and found an activity called quiet time. Yes, first-time mom and I am still learning every day! With quiet time many mammas recommended also setting up quiet bins. By this time it was summer and my growing terrible-two toddler was home every day and I was pregnant with our second and mamma needed her nap time even if toddler didn’t want to nap. So I started putting together quiet bins based on themes and would give him a different quiet bin every day. He was already fairly used to going to his room for nap time (although he protested and communicated his hatred of it) so transitioning to quiet time was fairly easy and he was excited to see his new toys every day. I would go in for a few minutes to show him his quiet bin guide him in anything that he might need help with and then tell him I would get him in a little bit. Early on he would usually fall asleep playing (play till you drop right?!) and when he woke up we would transition to more playing or another activity.
With a new baby on the way, I was very eager to get him used to this idea so that when the baby was here he would still have some quiet time and let me have some time with the newborn. He is now 3 months away from being 3 and quiet time is still working fairly well.
Each bin includes books, puzzles, maybe stickers or something more crafty and toys like plastic dinosaurs or little people animals.
So what are in these magical bins? As I said they are theme-based and I picked things that he is currently are his favorite type of toys. My bins included animals, tools, vehicles, and dinosaurs to start with and two more educational bins for colors and shapes, and alphabet and numbers. The bins soon expanded he suddenly really loved animals so I beefed up those bins and moved the animals to farm animals and zoo animals. We also added holiday bins such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Each of the bins has several things based on the theme. This included books, puzzles, maybe stickers or something more crafty and toys like plastic dinosaurs or little people animals. I also downloaded many printables that went along with the themes. For example, in my shape box, there is a shape matching activity that I printed laminated and added velcro to. Also, my vehicle box has tracks that made different shapes. These were activities that he could do on his own but brought a little learning into the mix and since I am a firm believer in learning through playing the whole bin was educational.
I like the 18 Quart bins they seem to fit a good amount of items and puzzles but are still not too big that they don’t stack well. So far I have only had one puzzle that didn’t fit inside the bin. Here are some available on Amazon in a multi-pack so you have enough for all your themes.
I like the 18 Quart bins they seem to fit a good amount of items and puzzles but are still not too big that they don’t stack well.
- Sterilite 19849806 18 Quart/17 Liter Ultra Latch Box, Clear with a White Lid and Black Latches, 6-Pack
- IRIS USA, Inc. TB-17 Stack & Pull Storage Box, 19 Quart, Black
- IRIS USA, Inc. TB-17 Stack & Pull Storage Box, 19 Quart, Clear
Toys for Quiet Bins
I get the toys for the quiet bins all over the place. I scrounge the dollar store and the dollar area at Target and also have found lots of toys on Amazon and even some on Facebook Marketplace where other mammas sell the old toys of their littles. Here are some toys on Amazon that I have found as winners.
There are many sites that have great printables, some free and some paid. Here are some of my favorite:
- Child Care Land
- Totschooling – Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten Educational Printables
- Teaching Resources & Lesson Plans | Teachers Pay Teachers
- Free Printables for Kids and Moms – iMOM
- Free Printables | Skip To My Lou
This free printable will get you labels for all your new Quiet Bins! There are 12 labels to get you started! If you buy the Avery Name Badge Inserts, Print or Write, 3″ x 4″ make the project even easier as this is formatted to fit just perfectly.