the domestic tales of four sisters

Busy Boxes: Round Two

In life, we master things through trial and error.  We see what doesn’t work and, using that knowledge, move forward to find what does.  Parenting, and childcare in general, being no exception.

A few months ago when I enthusiastically created our Quiet Time Busy Boxes, I was hoping expecting them to be a cure all for our naptime woes.  Naptime woes you ask? Well, we have four children (of various ages) who do not nap.  We also have a two year old who does.  And, because this is a state regulated childcare facility, all children need to be monitored at all times meaning, the napping child has to be in the same room as the four non-napping children.  Problem. Big problem.

You can imagine my delight when I discovered Quiet Time Bins, Busy Boxes, All by myself boxes… all different names, same concept.  Quiet, non TV, activities that would keep the older children engaged but quiet while younger children sleep. So I spent a few hours one evening putting them all together and presented them to the kids the following day.  Initially, they worked like a charm.  The kids enjoyed the activities and played them quietly for a good hour or so buying us just enough time to ensure a decent nap for the little guys.  And then…

There were immediate favorites and while they were good at taking turns with those favorites, they weren’t very good about trying new things to fill the time waiting for their turn.  This led to kids just sitting around and bored children are usually loud children.  Now, if you’re creating your boxes for only one child, this wouldn’t be a problem but if you have a small group of kidos sharing, my new spin may be a better idea.

Looks pretty much the same, I know.  I promise this one is different.  To try it out I just used the activities I had on hand because they hadn’t seen them in a while due to summer.  How are they different? Well, as you can see, each child has their OWN box.  Rather than 10-12 different boxes each with one activity, I gave each child a box containing several different activities.  Each day they are given their box and play with the things in that box only.  No trading or waiting necessary.

Each evening I am taking a few minutes to trade out some of the activities in each box so the kids have at least a few different things each day, leaving a few favorites for a couple days to a week.  Again, if you’re making these for only one or two children you could very easily make one box for each day of the week and only change things out every couple weeks.  Because we have four children, it’s easier (and more cost effective) to trade activities out every day or so.  Thus far it’s working beautifully, we’re hoping it continues. *fingers crossed*

One of the little boys boxes looks like this…

This box includes a puzzle, lacing, letter matching cards, a building set, a color matching game, and a shape puzzle.
This box includes a puzzle, lacing, letter matching cards, a building set, a color matching game, and a shape puzzle.


And one of the little girls boxes…
This box includes a puzzle, lacing cards, a color matching game, letter matching cards, and a magnetic doll.


Like I said, so far so good.  They seem to really enjoy this setup and can move from one activity to another at will, making for a peaceful quiet time. Finally.  As I mentioned before, I used the activities I already had on hand from my previous attempt.  I’ll be heading to the store get supplies to restock the boxes in the next few days and I’ll be sure to give an update of new activities I add to the boxes.  I’m thinking some seasonal activities would be really fun for the fall/Christmas time!

Have you tried either version of busy boxes? How did it work for you? Any huge hits as far as activities go? I’d love to hear about them! Leave me a comment below!!!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!!


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