To a Mama, Dad, or Caregiver with little ones at home there is no sweeter word then … NAPTIME — at least in our home. A time to recharge, relax, and get (a little bit of) work done while my little ones rest is a very important part of my day. But as my Sammy turned into a 3 year old, his naptimes started to fade. He no longer seemed tired enough to settle into a full sleep, but certainly still needed a bit of quiet time to recharge to make it through the rest of his busy day. So what do we do? Quiet time activities.
We love them so much that I have written an entire book on them! If you are looking to transform your days be sure to check out: A Year of Educational Quiet Bins: The secret to peaceful days at home with kids.
There are so many wonderful ideas for quiet time activities. But for my little 3 year old I had one other requirement. They needed to keep my little one quiet and independent – of course – but they also needed to be mess free. My little guy tends to get very “into” activities and will explore them in ways not always as I intended. Which can lead to rather large messes. So for unsupervised quiet time activities – we need them to be rather clean.
And so, I bring to you, 54 Mess Free Quiet Time Activities for 3 Year Olds!
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5. Magnet Play from Stickers by The Creative Homemaker
6. Create a Quiet Book by And Next Comes L – if you are crafty, even just a little bit crafty, this guide to making a quiet book by Dyan is fantastic! And complete with SO many ideas for pages!
7 – 14. Quiet Time Boxes by Wildflower Ramblings – I love the idea of putting a few different quiet activities into one box for rest time. Choices are a very good thing for my little guy!
16. Yarn, Sandpaper, and a Cereal Box Quiet time activities by Modern Parents, Messy Kids. This one is so neat! We have done quite a bit of weaving, so I think my little one would be okay with this independently. And the sandpaper and yarn idea is perfect for little ones who can’t yet weave.
17. Quiet Time Paper City by Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails. As soon as I saw this activity, I wanted to make it with my little guy for his rest time. It is perfect for him (and super simple – so perfect for me too!)
19. Portable Road – No sew! By And Next Comes L. I love the open ended nature to this quiet time activity for preschoolers!
42. Photo Lacing Cards by Skunkboy. This idea could be done in so many different ways. I like the idea of tracing the outside of a shape – and using photos would make this very meaningful to 3 year olds!
44 – 48. 4 Quiet time activities for 2 and 3 year olds by My Nearest and Dearest. These ideas are fantastic! Painting the doll house with water is a great activity – and I know the laundry one would be a hit with my little guy too!
49. ABC Match with stickers and a roll by Happy Kids Ideas. This activity could be done with so many concepts – or even just as an open ended quiet time activity to decorate a roll with stickers!
50. Tracing Shapes with Pipecleaners by Sugar Aunts. This is a great way to make a tracing activity mess free! And a link to FREE printables thanks to Teach Beside Me!
51. Duplo Building Inspiration by Money Saving Mom. I love the idea of this quiet time activity using Duplo, though it would take a bit of practice for my little guy to actually use this activity independently. I know he would be calling for some support and help – which is a great opportunity to help him learn about perseverance and trying his best, and moving on to come back to the ones that are a bigger challenge.
53. Felt Ring Chain by Becoming Mummy. My little guy loves making paper chains (and nature chains too!) He would go crazy for this quiet time activity using felt – and it seems nice and simple to create.
54. Fine Motor Weaving by Coffee Cups and Crayons. My little ones would have a lot of fun with this – and it’s a wonderful way to strengthen little fingers too.
These quiet time activities are practically mess free, almost cost free, and hopefully will free up about an hour or so of a Mama’s time! I always find it helpful to use a visual timer so my little guy know exactly how long he is expected to quietly explore independently. If you have an Ipad there are a few neat apps with visual timers for free to download.
I have been happily surprised with how well my little guy has gotten into the routine of quiet time. I offer an activity, but more often then not he finds his own way to quietly explore the materials, or anything else he has in his room. Extending that all so important naptime age, one quiet time activity at a time!
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