The benefits of quiet time for kids has been proven countless times over. It increases attention and focus, helps little minds deal with information overload and overstimulation, promotes mindfulness and independence, inspires creativity and (sometimes most needed) allows for a few moments of peace and quiet for parents. Scroll to see 10 of our favorite quiet-time activities for kids.

Make Believe & Pretend Play

Remember the good old screen-time-free days of digging through a costume box to determine the plot of the elaborate superhero story that involved every kid in the neighborhood? Nothing fosters creativity like old-fashioned make believe and pretend play, and you can encourage your little creative minds to spend quiet time weaving their own storylines with a thoughtfully curated dress up trunk and a few easy pretend play ideas. Of course, expect to take on a role when it comes time for the big performance. Don’t worry though; dressing like a superhero is good for you.

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Arts & Crafts

Whether it’s a rainy day, a too-hot-to-play-outside day, or just the kind of day that warrants a little creative, quiet time inside, it’s always a good moment for bringing out the trusty arts-and-crafts box. Whenever you see an opportunity to restock the A&C box, go for it, including pom poms, popsicle sticks, empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls, finger paints, construction paper, markers … you get the idea. Even though no real road map is needed for kid creation, perfect paper crafts for kids and even 10 peaceful arts and crafts projects can get the inspiration flowing.

Outdoor Quiet Time

Fall brings cooler temperatures and more opportunities for outside play, both quiet and downright rambunctious. For the quieter moments spent with Mother Nature, easy-to-clean-up outdoor art projects are a nice way to spend an afternoon; you can even consider taking time with your little Picassos to create an inspiring outdoor art studio. If the whole gang is getting together, or you’re just looking for a relaxing, stress-free outdoor evening activity, host an outdoor movie night.

Getting Creative

Creativity comes in all forms, and during the quiet times, creativity can be inspired by items you can find around the house, including things to make with a toilet paper roll and fun toys made with household items. Even painting without brushes can encourage creative little minds to think outside the box, and for the most restless of young ones, here are even more ways to encourage your child’s imagination.

Reading

Mental stimulation, stress reduction, increased knowledge, vocabulary expansion, memory improvement … the list goes on and on when it comes to the benefits of reading for kids, and, of course, nothing provides a better opportunity for quiet time. The first step is setting up a comfortable, inspiring reading nook and then stocking it with great reading material, like our list of books kids need to read before they're 12. You can’t go wrong with classic children’s books either, and it’s always nice to take some time to read together as well.

Games

Depending on how competitive your little game-players are, game time might not be the most quiet activity, but playing games has been shown to teach social skills, help with the development of good sportsmanship, increase verbal and math skills, teach patience and up logic capacity. The good news is, some games are designed for quieter times, including games to play around bedtime to help wind down and classic games meant for sick days when leaving the bed just isn’t an option.

Science

Remember how cool it was the first time you saw a paper mâché volcano explode in science class? Or when you first realized that combining vinegar and baking soda could create a magical fizzing effect? Curious kids become successful adults later in life, so foster that scientific mindset and encourage some good old fashioned science for quiet time with pretend magic potions, a DIY pinhole camera and simple science experiments with five ingredients or less.

Forts & Tents

Quilts, blankets, and a few other household items and you’re all set for creating the ultimate quiet-time space. Whether building an epic outdoor fort, setting up a teepee for indoor play or just throwing blankets over two couches for a makeshift tent, creating a quiet-time play place is only limited by your child’s imagination. Now all you need is construction paper and a marker to make a good, solid "No parents allowed" sign.

Snuggle Up

Rainy days, cool fall and cold winter weather and sometimes just for no reason at all, it just feels good to spend time snuggled up together. There’s even a National Cuddle Up Day in November that’s definitely worth celebrating. Some other ways to snuggle up all year long? Pile up in the bed together, read aloud, tell some little jokester-approved jokes, and, when eyelids start to droop, ease into bedtime with some thoughtful stories with good life lessons and beloved lullabies.

Spread Some Kindness

In the fast-paced rat race of our days, spreading kindness can take a backseat, but quiet times offer special moments to talk about and find ways to spread a little kindness. Reading books that teach compassion and social change and working on projects (like making a hug card) that spread kindness can give a little perspective and inspire kindness in your whole family. You can even download a kindness calendar for 30 whole days of kindness inspiration.

—Laura Holloway

 

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