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7 Easy Activities for When You Need Some Peace and Quiet

Nov 30, 2017

Cold and flu season hit our house, and it hit it hard.

For an entire month this fall, some combination of our family of four was sick. To say that it threw us off our routine is a huge understatement. There were days off work, days off school, trips to the doctor and a lot of spontaneous afternoon naps.

Rest was an essential part of recovery, so I was determined to keep things as low-key and quiet as possible.


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While my youngest napped, his brother worked on easy activities that were fun and engaging, without being too noisy or stimulating. While my four-year-old napped, I found similar activities to keep my toddler entertained. 

And when I could barely make it off the couch, finding quiet activities that they could enjoy together was a lifesaver. Even when we were all (finally!) healthy again, the activities remained. Whether you’re under the weather or simply craving a little peace and quiet, these seven easy activities are just what the doctor ordered:

1. A Sticky Letter Hunt

What you need: 

  • cardboard paper tubes (check your recycling bin for a powder towel tube!)
  • a marker (dark enough to see the letters and numbers!)
  • blank sticker paper

This activity for building letter recognition skills couldn’t be easier to put together. Raid your recycling bin for a few cardboard tubes and draw letters (upper and lowercase) at random. Then, take your sheet of blank stickers and write the same letters down so your little one can match a sticker to the appropriate letter. Works well for number recognition, too!


2. DIY Lacing Cards

What you need:

  • pieces of cardboard (this is another great opportunity to raid the recycling bin!)
  • a marker
  • a single hole punch
  • shoelaces or long pieces of yarn

Lacing cards are great for building fine motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination. If you don’t have a set already, it’s easy to make one yourself! All you need are a few pieces of cardboard, a single hole punch and a marker. Begin by using your marker to hand-draw a design of your choice (It could be a number, a dinosaur or a butterfly, or Gary the Unicorn if you're feeling ambitious). You can even use an old valentine, like Dyan Robson did.

If you're going for a DIY approach, once you've drawn out your design, cut around it following its shape. Now you have your lacing card, but it's not quite ready. Next, punch out a series of holes along the peripherary (so, the lacing frames the overall shape) or following the design itself (so the lacing creates the shape, like a number or a letter).

You can draw these designs onto the cardboard freehand, or do a quick search for free printables on Pinterest. Then all you have to do its set your wee one up with a stack of cardboard shapes and a pile of shoelaces or long pieces of yarn, and let those busy fingers get to work.


3. Clothespin Colour Matching

What you need:

  • clothespins
  • paint chips
  • tape
  • coloured blocks

Another activity for strengthening fine motor skills, this clothespin activity also helps your little one to recognize their colours. Simply tape pieces of paint chips to a handful of clothespins and have your little one match them to the appropriate coloured squares.

Want to work on counting and colours at the same time? You can do that, too, with some popsicle sticks, clothespins, coloured dots and letters. Find Megan McChesney's tutorial (example below) here.  


4. Pom-pom Drop

What you need:

  • container of pom-poms
  • cardboard tubes 
  • tape

Move over, marble run! Tape a few cardboard tubes to the wall and let your kiddo loose with a basket of pom-poms. Older kids can design and tape the path of tubes by themselves, while little ones will get a great lesson in cause and effect.


5. Quiet Time Building Blocks

What you need:

  • kitchen sponges
  • egg cartons
  • cardboard tubes

Skip the sound of wooden towers crashing down and use building materials made from sponges, cardboard tubes and cut-up egg cartons instead.

You’ll find more great sponge activities here.


6. Building Literacy Skills

What you need:

  • dry-erase marker
  • plastic building blocks
  • paper and marker for flash cards

Those chunky building blocks aren’t just for making tall towers! Reinforce the sight words that your child has learned using a basket of plastic bricks and a dry-erase marker.

 No dry-erase marker? Grab some table salt and a tray and try out this sensory version from Jen Kossowan


7. The Sock-Matching Game

What you need:

  • clean laundry

You may be sick, but laundry doesn’t take a day off (unfortunately). Turn chores into a team effort and put your kiddo to work with a little game called “match the socks.” They get to work on visual skills, and you get a break from sorting all those clothes. It’s a win-win!

Article Author Alicia McAuley
Alicia McAuley

Read more from Alicia here.

Alicia McAuley is a freelance writer, editor and all-around web nerd who never met a pop culture reference she didn't like. The former editor of a parenting website, these days she shares a home office in the suburbs with her husband, two adorable boys, and two lazy cats. You can find her cracking jokes on Twitter @aliciamcauley and pinning projects for her to-do list on Pinterest.

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