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Short & Fun Activities to Keep Your Small Children Quiet

by Victoria Georgoff

Young children are full of energy and tend to gravitate toward loud, rambunctious activities. While high-energy activities are important for your child's development, there are times when parents need some peace and quiet. Whether you are trying to wind your child down for nap time or you need him to play quietly at a doctor’s office, the right activity can engage your child and give you a few minutes of tranquility.

Busy Bag Activities

A "busy bag" is a prepared activity bag that has an assortment of quiet, self-play toys and games for your child to entertain himself with. Change the contents of the bag often so that old or forgotten toys seem new again. Fill with wooden puzzles, short books, silly putty, and other small toys. Add building blocks made from cut-up kitchen sponges -- all the fun of blocks with none of the noise. Make an "I spy tube" that always stays in the bag; simply fill a plastic bottle or jar with various small items such as beads, small toys, pieces of crayon, a penny, charms or craft items. Add dried rice to fill the reminder of the tube; your child can then twist and turn the tube around to see what items he can find.

Activity Books

Coloring books and crayons can be easily transported and can engage your child for a long period of time. Sticker books, along with several sheets of stickers, are another quiet way to entertain your child. Small children can be fascinated with the sticky texture and may enjoy placing the stickers on their skin and peeling them back off. Activity books designed for older kids have word puzzles, search-a-word and mazes. Your child may even enjoy a learning activity book that features math problems or worksheets.

Button Activities

The simple act of threading buttons onto yarn is a quiet activity that requires concentration and works to improve eye-hand coordination and dexterity in your child. Use buttons or beads with large holes and yarn for preschool children, or a blunt, plastic needle and string for older children. Make button bracelets by tying off the string of buttons. Create button pictures with construction paper, glue and an assortment of buttons. A large quantity of buttons can be sorted into egg cartons by size, color or shape -- this activity helps teach children how to categorize items by like characteristics. Alternatively, your child may simply enjoy scooping buttons out of a large bin using measuring cups, bowls or even plastic tongs.

Felt Activities

Inexpensive and easy to work with, felt games are the ultimate quiet time activity. Create a gingerbread man-making kit out of felt and other scraps of material. Cut the body out of brown felt, then cut out various items to “frost” the gingerbread man with such as buttons and a mouth; white ric-rack nicely simulates frosting. Do the same thing to create a set of felt Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head dolls; include different styles of eyes, mouths, noses and accessories. Make a felt pizza crust and cut out different toppings; your child will enjoy making and pretending to eat her pizza. Store each felt activity in its own plastic bag for easy transport and to keep pieces together.

About the Author

Victoria Georgoff has been writing professionally since 2007. Her articles have appeared in "The Journal of Sexual Medicine" and "The Encyclopedia of Sex & Society." A dually-licensed mental health counselor, with additional EMDR certification, Georgoff specializes in writing about parenting, education, sexual health and psychology, but also writes prolifically on many other topics. Georgoff holds an Master of Arts in counseling from Valparaiso University.

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