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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quiet Boxes

By Rachel H

This is an idea that my mom uses in her preschool classroom. She helped me set this up in my son’s room and it has been wonderful. Thought I’d share!

Find a bookshelf or organizer similar to the one pictured. This one was from a school supply store. Kaplan Catalog Showroom in Lewisville may have something like this. Then use canvas boxes, baskets, Tupperware, shoe boxes, or any type of container that fits snug on your shelves. Get your child’s help in filling each box with a certain type of toy. My son’s quiet boxes are filled with the following: Lincoln Logs, bouncy balls, art supplies, Magnetix, cameras & view finders, army men, action figures, animal figures, dinosaurs, matchbox cars, rock collection, building blocks, miscellaneous, Bakugans, Pokemon figures, etc. You will be amazed at how many “little things” these kids keep in their rooms!

After we filled the boxes with toys, we labeled each box with a label maker and even added a sticker that showed something similar to what was in inside the box. My husband was making fun of how I was labeling everything and then laughed even harder when my son said, “Mom we really don’t have to put labels and stickers because I can see right through the box to know what is inside of it." (OK, one point for Dad.) But I still thought it was a good idea and made them look cute!

Once the shelf and boxes are all put together, you can go over the rules: You can only take out one box at a time when you are ready to play. When you have finished playing with that one, all the pieces must be back in the box and on the shelf before you can take out another box.

Of course now and then we have a few boxes out at the same time when my son has wanted to make a village with cars, people, and animals. But overall, the idea of only taking out one box at a time really helps them to keep their room (or playroom) picked up and looking neat. We have used this for about 2 years now. Toys have come and gone and we just refill the boxes with new things.

You are probably wondering why they are called Quiet Boxes. In my mom’s classroom, they use these when it is quiet time and each child needs to find something to do on their own. Here at home, we still call them quiet boxes because they are great for some down time when my son needs to go in his room and just play alone quietly. When he used to wake up really early in the mornings, we told him he could play in his room with his Quiet Boxes until the clock said 7:00am and then it would be time to come get mom. It worked great! Now we still use these for quiet times, but he also uses these toys when friends come over to play.

My next goal is to tackle my daughter’s room. Between the dolls, tea cups, erasers, dollhouse furniture, mini books, hair accessories, Dora figurines, chapsticks, and Barbie shoes I am sure we will fill up the Quiet Boxes in no time.

Please share any Smarty organizational tips you have for keeping your childrens’ rooms clean!


Summer said...

This is such a great idea. We use "quiet time" at our house too, but they only get to use drawing and writing materials, books, or their leapster. I hadn't thought about letting them choose from some pre-organized materials, that I would keep together in bins. So smarty!!

Anonymous said...

Cute idea! And I really like the idea of playing in you room until 7am. This mom takes a while to get moving in the mornings!

Anna said...

You are not kidding about "little things" all over the kids' rooms. I do not know where my kids collect all their stuff! This is a good idea. I am going to try to make this work with the bookshelf I already have and maybe just get some containers from Space Savers.

Anonymous said...

I love this idea! I can not wait to fill up quiet boxes.

Anonymous said...

Love this Rachel!!

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